Ang Lee’s "Life of Pi" is more than just a rip-roaring boy’s adventure. Much more, unfortunately.
The movie is an adaptation of an award-winning 2001 novel by Canadian writer Yann Martel. The core of the story concerns a 17-year-old Indian boy named Pi (first-time actor Suraj Sharma, giving a precociously charismatic performance). Pi’s father (Adil Hussain) runs a zoo in Pondicherry. When hard times come, he decides to relocate the family to Canada, along with all of the zoo’s animals.
When the freighter transporting them on this journey goes down in a fierce storm, Pi alone survives, and finds himself stuck on a lifeboat with an orangutan, a zebra, a nasty hyena, and a very large Bengal tiger (whose zoo name, perhaps too eccentrically, is Richard Parker). The hyena makes short work of the zebra and the orangutan; the tiger makes even shorter work of the hyena, and then begins eyeing Pi, who fashions a raft out of the boat’s life preservers in order to maintain a prudent distance. Many spectacular CGI events ensue.
By itself, this material might have made a great movie for kids. However, it’s preceded by a good half hour’s worth of backstory that seems likely to smother the interest of any average action-hungry nipper.
Read the full review at Reason.com