It wont be a shock to the regular readers that I'm not really a book person so please forgive me in advance if I miss the point of this movie - but here goes anyway!
All I have heard (from almost everyone) is that this book is amazing, the movie is epic, the 3D is stunningly beautiful and when we sat down on Christmas Eve as a family to watch this I was ready for an eagerly anticipated movie - however it sadly fell a little flat as far as we were all concerned and although this may be met with gasps from the crowd - let me explain.
Life of Pi is the story of a young boy who's the only human survivor of a Shipwreck that happens whilst his family were transporting their Zoo and all their animals away from India. Pi (the boy) ends up having to share a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger, Orangutan and Zebra of which the latter animals very quickly meet their demise to the Tiger and this is the story of how Pi manages to survive, sharing only a 12 foot boat with a starving feline carnivore.
For me - this seemed to closely mirror Castaway where Tom Hanks spends weeks alone with only a Volleyball called Wilson for company and to its credit, the Tiger is a far more worthy companion that a ball - the scenes on the boat with the Tiger were well put together with some stunning effects but that for me was really all that was good about this film.
The story seemed to take forever and a day to get going, being narrated by Pi himself (as a Man) to a writer who's interested in telling the story, these flashback moments kept interrupting the pace of the movie and also for younger kids (mine was 9) felt a little lost as to what was going on. Also - the 3D for me didn't really add any value to the experience - Yes - there is a single moment that will make you jump clear out of your seat but other than that - it all seemed very one dimensional.
Don't get me wrong though - the CGI and detail on the events between Pi and the Tiger are sometimes mind blowing and there is an odd section when Pi finds himself landing on a very strange island - inhabited by thousands or Meerkats and they are super sweet however the meaning of this is as confusing as can be and I still don't really get it. (Sorry!)
For me - the only endearing part of this movie is the Tiger - Pi's interaction with him / her / it is sometimes as scary as it was comical and luckily this takes up a large chunk of the movie which stars an almost unrecognisable cast except a brief appearance from Gerard Depardieu.
I am convinced that most of the people who actually go to see this would have already read the book, know what to expect and hopefully for them, Ang Lee will deliver a masterpiece that matches their expectations and answers all the visual questions left by their own imaginations after being captivated by the novel - for me though it was a bit drawn out & dull. Not very articulate I know but if you like Tigers (which I do) then there may be a redeeming spark that will keep you entertained.
Maybe I missed the whole point of this movie (for which I cant really apologise) so as normal - don't let me put you off seeing this if you really fancy it but if you are like me and my words ring true for you in other reviews - take my word for it, I'm only being honest!
Update - So, after writing all of the above I had a conversation with some friends today where this movie was the hot topic - it appears I completely missed the plot! (as expected).
For mere mortals like myself I saw this as a movie about a boy stuck on a boat with a Tiger, really - it is much deeper than I ever comtemplated with metaphores all over the place, almost all of which managed to completely passed me by. For me, I like the idea of the boy and the Tiger being stranded together so I'm happy to stay with that memory but for those who actually got the point of this movie - I'm sure you'll love it!