Based on Canadian writer Yann Martel’s book of the same name, Life of Pi tells the dramatic and thrilling story of a young Indian man who finds himself a castaway after the sinking of the freighter he was traveling on with his family.  Accompanying the family on the Japanese freighter is a menagerie of exotic animals that were all apart of the family’s zoo before being sold in Canada.  Pi, the younger of two sons, finds himself on an adventure of a lifetime after being one of the only survivors of the sinking.  With only a lifeboat and minimal survival supplies at his disposal, Pi is set adrift on the seas surviving the sinking with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, a rat, and a tiger.  Set adrift on the vastness of the ocean “survival of the fittest” comes into play and Pi becomes trapped with the head of the food chain, a Bengal tiger curiously named Richard Parker.  For 227 days Pi and Richard Parker must learn how to survive the harshness of the conditions they find themselves in.  Not only must they learn to survive, but they also must learn to live together.  Obstacle after life threatening obstacle presents problems for the two castaways.  Pi wrestles not only with the physical and mental issues of the situation, but also with the spiritual issues as well.  A student of different religions, Pi’s beliefs are put to the test as he tries to keep not only himself alive, but his castaway companion Richard Parker.

Directed by Ang Lee, who is known for such amazing movies as Sense and Sensibility, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi is the crowning jewel of Lee’s repertoire.  A stunning movie full of visual eye candy embodies the beauty and harshness of the situation in which the castaways find themselves.  He is a magician when it comes to the portraying the juxtaposition of the gorgeous surroundings and the terrible survival decisions that Pi must make to keep not only himself, but also his companion alive.  He reaches near perfection in showing the yin and yang aspect of nature’s beauty that has an underlying dark side when it comes to survival.  Each scene is a piece of art brought to life through the 3D photography.  Life of Pi may just be the first movie shot in 3D that might win a Best Picture Oscar.  By the way this movie is best seen in the theater in the 3D format so try to take advantage of the replaying of Life of Pi in theaters before the actual Oscar awards.

Another outstanding characteristic of this film is the proper use of CGI.  Not since the Oscar winner for Best Picture Lord of the Rings: Return of the King has computer animation been put to such good use.  Combining live action acting by the central character Pi with that of his surroundings, including the Bengal tiger Richard Parker, memorializes a sweet symphony of pure raw human emotion and the complex digitally produced images.  Sometimes the lines between what is real and what is computer generated become so blurred that it is almost impossible to separate one from the other.  Lee uses CGI to enhance his film, not build it’s foundation upon which leads to a sound structure of story.  Life of Pi is a truly remarkable cinematic experience that should be shared by all movie lovers.