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LIFE OF PI (Blu-ray review)

By B.S. Walker

Life of Pi
Fox / Released March 12, 2013

Though Life of Pi sets out to tell a story that will make us believe in God, it never quite gets there.  But what this fantastical tale of survival for a 16-year-old boy — who is stranded in a life-boat with limited supplies and a Tiger for companionship — does manage to convince us of is that Ang Lee is a director operating at the top of his game.  (All is forgiven for Taking Woodstock.  Okay, maybe not all.)  Allowing the stunning visual effects to serve the story, and not the other way around.

A story that rests squarely on the shoulders of newcomer Suraj Sharma.  And he delivers, pitch perfect as Pi Patel, a boy so undecided about faith that he embraces all the major religions, taking his favorite bits from each one.  A faith that’s put to the test after a horrific act of nature kills his family and leaves him fighting for his life against the elements and Mr. Parker, a Bengal tiger.  But in order to survive, Pi must come to understand and embrace Mr. Parker as a partner in this perilous journey.

For without each other, neither will live.

Exras include A Remarkable Vision, A Filmmaker’s Epic Journey, Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright, Art Gallery and Storyboards

Life of Pi always feels like it’s a few beats away from being an instant classic, but just misses the mark.  Instead leaving us simply entranced by its beauty and emotionally invested in both Pi and Mr. Parker’s survival.  A rare feat amongst today’s effects-first blockbusters.  Highly recommended.

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