Years ago, I was at a writers conference and, one day, the people in my critique group starting discussing a book called Life of Pi. They were raving about its literary quality as well as its psychological intrigue.
I hadn’t read the book so I was out of the loop.
I hate being out of the loop.
Books are one of my favorite topics to discuss, but this time I had to just sit there like a doof and inject intelligent tidbits like, “That sounds interesting.”
During the next break, I ran to the campus bookstore and picked up Yan Martel’s bestseller.
I was engulfed by it.
It was everything my critique group said it was. It had adventure, tradition, culture, tragedy, triumph, coming-of-age, family conflict, religious conflict, animal conflict, survival, spirituality, originality, psychology, and on and on. And, on top off all that, a brilliant twist at the end that completely alters your perception of the story so you have to read the book all over again to connect the new concepts.
Yan Martel is a genius! To weave so many complexities into one cohesive story that is as entertaining as it is conceptual is masterful.
I’m green with writer’s envy.
I’ve recommended this book to so many people I should get a commission.
When I heard a movie version was coming out I was excited, and afraid.
What if they ruin it?
It would be all too easy for Hollywood to hack out the cultural, spiritual, and psychological concepts of Life of Pi and dumb it down to a simple survival tale of a boy and a tiger trapped on a lifeboat together.
The previews looked very promising for visual effect, but that made me worry they were compensating visually for what it might lack intellectually.
My fears made me put off seeing it.
Even though cinematic Pi came out the weekend of my birthday in December and would have been yet another activity to add to the jam-packed party weekend agenda, I avoided it.
I knew I’d see it eventually, but if it was a disappointment I wanted it to be a $3 bargain theater disappointment, or a $1.29 Red Box disappointment instead of a $10 disappointment in 3D.
I finally saw it last weekend and it was far from a disappointment.
Shame on me, I should have seen it weeks ago!
Life of Pi was beautifully portrayed visually and intellectually.
How they accomplished creating some of those nautical and animal scenes was pure cinemagic!
If I do have one criticism, it is how the twist at the end was handled. It didn’t really have the impact it could have. I remember when I read the book I was completely taken off guard by the twist and my mind immediately reeled back through the story to conceptualize the new meaning. For people who hadn’t read the book before seeing the movie, they may not have even gotten it.
My kids didn’t.
I had to explain it to them.
Granted they’re kids, but they are teenagers and I’ve since talked to adults who liked the movie but didn’t completely get the ending either.
It is a concept that’s more difficult to portray visually than literary, but I thought they could have used visual foreshadowing to tie at the end with explanatory visuals as Pi tells his alternate explanation.
But all-in-all, I was impressed with the interpretation.
Pi was truly a treat.
If only I hadn’t consumed a bucket of popcorn, a liter of pop, and a box of Red Vines, it would have been calorie free too.