‘Life Of Pi’: The Reviews Are In!

Critical praise for the Oscar contender is nearly unanimous heading into holiday weekend.

Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi,” the adaptation of Yann Martel’s best-selling novel and an early Oscar contender, received its first round of sterling reviews at the New York Film Festival, but with the latest wave of critiques, the praises just keep piling up.

Critics are lauding Lee’s direction and his use of 3-D, with some even calling it the best use of the technology to date.

We’ve read the reviews, so you don’t have to. Here is what the critics are saying about “Life of Pi.”

The Story
“Our playful, not-always-reliable narrator here is Pi Patel, played by newcomer Suraj Sharma as a teen and as a grown man reflecting back on his adventure by Irrfan Khan. As a youth, Pi, his parents and brother set out from India, where the family runs a zoo in a botanical garden, to Canada. Pi’s father brings along some of his menagerie on their voyage, including a tiger named Richard Parker with which Pi had a terrifying encounter as a boy. Their ship sinks in a storm, with Pi the only human survivor aboard a lifeboat with an orangutan, a hyena, a zebra with a broken leg and Richard Parker. Survival of the fittest thins their numbers into a life-and-death duel, and eventually an uneasy truce of companionship, between Richard Parker and Pi.” — David Germain, Associated Press

The 3-D
“Like ‘Hugo,’ from Martin Scorsese, ‘Life of Pi’ puts 3D in the hands of a world-class film artist. Lee uses 3D with the delicacy and lyricism of a poet. You don’t just watch this movie, you live it. Every sight and sound is astounding, especially when you consider that the tiger is a digital creation.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Ang Lee
“It turns out Lee has more affinity for Pi the yarn-spinner than for any of his other heroes. His movies (‘Lust, Caution’; ‘Crouching Tiger,’ ‘Hidden Dragon’; ‘Hulk’; ‘Brokeback Mountain’; ‘Taking Woodstock’) center on emotions that can’t be suppressed and finally burst forth — but the meticulousness of his framing and color-coordination (or that mythical cowboy iconography in ‘Brokeback Mountain’) make his work seem one step removed, as if in a terrarium. In ‘Life of Pi,’ he finally has a story in which that very distance is the source of the emotion.” — David Edelstein, New York Magazine

The Final Word
“The leap of faith required for Lee to believe this could be put up onscreen in a credible way was necessarily considerable. His fingerprints are at once invisible and yet all over the film in the tact, intelligence, curiosity and confidence that characterizes the undertaking. At all times, the film, shot by Claudio Miranda and with production design by David Gropman, is ravishing to look at, and the 3D work is discreetly powerful.” — Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

Check out everything we’ve got on “Life of Pi.”

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