Magical realism and astonishing 3D make this a treat. It just looks absolutely superb.
Will you like it? That depends on a few factors. How are you with stories that give animals human qualities? Do you love going to the zoo? And how much do you enjoy spending a lot of time on a very small boat?
Basically, are you okay with magical realism as a central film device?
If you loved Yann Martel’s novel, this is a movie you must see. Scenes in India, at sea and in Pi’s later life have a beautiful glow. Even if you haven’t read the book, you know that Pi survives as he is being interviewed about his experiences in the first scene.
Even if you dislike the sound of all this, the 3D lifts this to an extraordinary level. That tiger! That zebra! You could actually hear people saying “wow” again and again at the Stratford Picturehouse.
Ang Lee keeps the direction on a epic level. It all feels very quick and tightly-managed, even though it’s 127 minutes long.
Of the performances here, young Suraj Sharma has the most screen time and he is a very engaging and physical actor. He keeps you attentive, in between the big visual joys.
I felt curiously detached from it all. Yet I recognise it’s an amazing achievement and a piece of art.