Movie Review: Life of Pi

By  | 

Based on a novel written by Yann Martel and directed by Ang Lee, “Life of Pi” tells an unlikely, simple tale of an Indian boy stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a tiger.

As told by an older Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) to a writer (Rafe Spall), the parable begins with Pi’s lively childhood (Gautam Belur as a young child, Ayush Tandon as an early teen) in the French part of India, his relationship with his family who owns a zoo, and his growing interest in different kinds of religions.  One day Pi learns an honest lesson about the nature of animals in an encounter set by his father (Adil Hussain), which might just save his life later on.

Facing hard times, the family decides to sell the zoo, cross the Pacific ocean, and start a new life in Canada.  On one stormy night, raging seas sinks the ship, and as fate would have it, pushes teenage Pi (Suraj Sharma) into a lifeboat, along with several animals – zebra, orang utan, hynea, bengal tiger.  With a hungry tiger onboard, one could guess what would happen next. In order to survive, vegetarian Pi must find ways not only to feed himself, but also co-exist with a wild beast, and maintain his sanity.

Considering how the majority of the film is spent in the vast emptiness of the ocean, it’s remarkable to see how natural the scenes flow and time flies.  Sharma is the heart and soul of Pi, conveying the many facets of emotions, with no other human in sight.  “You don’t know the strength of your faith until it has been tested.”  And tested it has.  His survival depends on his faith, belief, hope, spirit to go on, endurance, and at some point, acceptance of what is and letting go.

The visuals and special effects are imaginatively exquisite.  Dreamlike imageries will linger in your mind.  The rough storms that wreck the ship and makeshift raft. A floating, stunned Pi underwater witnessing the capsized ship and all lives lost.  The glassy surface of the seas mirroring the sunset skies and clouds.  The crystal clear water giving glimpses of the rich marine life, aglow at nighttime against the backdrop of millions of shining stars. A glowing, jumping humpback whale and flying fishes.  The lush, mysterious meerkat-flooded islands.  A digitally rendered bengal tiger that is vividly real.

“Life of Pi,” filled by magical visuals, is an artistic achievement.  It’s a fantasy fable, at the same time, somehow the story feels real and plausible.  It’s a testament of its captivating storytelling and convincing acting.  When another story is revealed toward the end, the ending will let you choose which journey you’d like to believe.  Spiritual or realistic, or both – what you believe may possibly reveal more about yourself and your own belief. 

Watch as Pi’s life unfolds on the big screen at UltraStar Cinemas. UltraStar Cinemas is perfect for a family outing, offering food and movie tickets at great prices. If you have a little one with you then you’ll want to take advantage of their unique movie experiences. Parent movie morning is a great opportunity for new parents to get out and see a movie without having to leave their baby at home or worry about disturbing other guests.  Offering other kid friendly options UltraStar Cinemas is the place to be.

Another great feature is their DBox experience. You probably won’t want to strap up your baby to these seats, but you’ll want to experience them for yourself  With a motion generating system integrated into a single seat for each featured film you don’t want to miss out on this fun experience. With locations all over San Diego you can experience the true cinematic experience without breaking the bank at UltraStar Cinemas.

Copyright (c) 2012. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, lifestyle/travel writer and film columnist. She can be reached at Nathalia owns a movies blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter:


Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *