I didn’t get on with Yann Martel’s novel so I shouldn’t be surprised that I didn’t ‘get’ Ang Lee’s take on it. Harry Cohn, mogul at Columbia during Hollywood’s ‘Golden Age’, stated that if his ass started itching the movie was no good. My ass started itching 90 minutes into Pi which probably says more about my attention span than the movie.
CGI films tend to leave me cold, my concentration is is deflected by the glossy sheen of digital images and this film is ‘special effect’ heavy. However, they are at the service of the narrative, which apparently is intended to convince us of the existence of God. It was setting itself an impossible task. The CGI tiger (it is real only 14% of the time) is, however, utterly convincingly; visual-effects supervisor, Bill Westenhofer, has done a stunning job. The sea, however, as usual, is much less than real; though much of it was shot in a tank in Taiwan.
Some of the imagery was stunning, particularly the utterly still sea, and the lead, newcomer Suraj Sharma, is as good as the tiger. The film’s an interesting example of the internationalisation of cinema: Canadian source material; Taiwanese director; Gerard Depardieu cameos; American scriptwriter (David Magee); Chilean cinematographer (Claudio Miranda); in addition to the five countries cited above as producers. The $120m production budget requires a worldwide audience; currently it’s taken $214m in total.
The group I was with enjoyed the film; I was thinking of the curry we were eating afterwards.
Filed under: international |