It is perhaps surprising that after the release of so many 3D films over the past handful years that so few have been put forward as top quality examples of the form. More often than not the 3D is used to augment special effects than to drive the narrative. It is a shame that many still point to Cameron’s Avatar as a high point in the use of the facility.
Ang Lee’s the Life of Pi may just be a film good enough to be spoken of with the same reverence as Avatar. Lee uses the 3D to drive the story forward, adding to the narrative as well as adding depth and tone to the special effects through the film. The clever use of 3D sees the more mundane scenes of family life and well-acted domesticity almost drawn back to traditional 2D. This allows for the magical and supernatural elements to take the viewers breath away. At times it is hard to believe that the excellent Suraj Sharma was not cast afloat on a lifeboat with an adult Bengal tiger. The life saving flying fish, the intrusive whale, frenetic merekats and animal ‘crew’ have more life than the human actors in many other films.
Life of Pi
Suraj Sharma, playing the eponymous Pi during the bulk of the movie, shines throughout the middle of the film with his top quality performance. It cannot have been an easy task, either, to perform mainly in front of a green screen, soaking wet, balancing on a boat and with no other human cast.
Like the excellent, award winning book, by Yann Martel there is more to the story of the precocious Pi than a fantastic travel adventure. The opening sequences, which explore faith, religion and God are deftly handled and avoid hitting the viewer over the head. Book ending these scenes are a subtle look at truth and the belief in the stories of others, which bring the story and film almost full circle.
Life of Pi is a charming, engaging film, beautifully acted, wonderfully cast with a more restrained use of special effects and 3D giving the film a whole lot more impact.

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