Life of Pi (2012)

lifeofpi_PosterStarring Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall, Gautam Belur, Ayush Tandon, Tabu, Adil Hussain, Ayan Khan, Mohamed Abbas Khaleeli, Vibish Sivakumar, Gérard Depardieu, Wang Bo-Chieh, Shravanthi Sainath, Andrea Di Stefano, Elie Alouf

Directed by Ang Lee

Expectations: Moderate.

threestar


I’ve started and re-started this review a handful of times, struggling to find a good way to begin discussing Life of Pi. The central question in the film is one that’s challenging to talk about, especially when trying to remain free of spoilers. But would a philosophical question constitute spoilers? In this case, it probably would be, but the central question in Life of Pi isn’t necessarily a new concept so maybe not. Because of this philosophical basis, Life of Pi is a different type of movie than your average blockbuster. The TV spots may have called this “The next Avatar” (in order to get butts in seats), but while Life of Pi is a very visual film, the colorful, fantastical visuals are mostly window dressing to the central philosophical question.

A novelist lost for ideas has been guided to talk with an Indian man living in French Canada. He’s been told that this man has a fantastic story to tell. The Indian man is Pi, and he does indeed tell quite the tale. It begins with the story of how he received his unusual name and quickly moves along from there. The story beats aren’t all that important, though, it’s really about the questions that the story is built upon that provides the film its power and lasting appeal.

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Prometheus (2012)

Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Emun Elliott, Benedict Wong, Kate Dickie, Guy Pearce

Directed by Ridley Scott

Expectations: High. Despite not liking the trailer, I’m dying to see this.


I take everything negative I ever said about Prometheus back. This is the real deal. A true science fiction film full of grand questions of existence and humanity, Prometheus is incredible. It has its flaws if you come at it with the wrong expectations, but for me, a high-concept lovin’ sci-fi fiend, it doesn’t get much better than this. This is a space exploration movie of the highest order, complete with its own symphonic theme song that’s probably the best Star Trek theme song that’s not actually a Star Trek theme song. Ridley Scott can clearly still throw down a phenomenal film, and I think my faith in his proposed Blade Runner sequel just grew exponentially (even if it does seem needless).

Prometheus is yet another movie you should go into cold, but one thing you should definitely know beforehand is that it’s not an Alien movie. It’s related, but if you expect corridor horror and rampaging xenomorphs you’ll be sorely disappointed. It’s definitely in the franchise, so fans of the series will recognize many things that shed some light on Alien, but the events here are never directly connected to anything that happens in that film. Herein lies some of the problems with Prometheus, though, as Alien is a film that works perfectly as is, with its secrets firmly kept in the dark.

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