Blu-ray Review: ‘Life of Pi’

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Blu-ray Review: ‘Life of Pi’

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LIfe of Pi, Ang Lee, Yann Martel, Indian, movies, poster, film poster, tiger, film, movie

"Life of Pi" arrives on a two-disc set consisting of a Blu-ray disc and a DVD. The package contains the film's Blu-ray, DVD, and iTunes digital copies, as well as a handful of supplements. This 2012 opus by Ang Lee is based on Yann Martel's 2001 best-selling novel that explores the life of Pi Patel, the precocious son of an Indian zookeeper who survives a shipwreck with a tiger companion. It stars newcomer Saraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Gerard Depardieu, Adil Hussain, Tabu, and Rafe Spall. It scored the Academy Awards for Best Directing, Cinematography, Original Score, and Visual Effects, along with seven other nominations.

After a childhood that centers on the obsession of finding God through various religions, this magical adventure story's young adult main character finds himself at ultimate odds with nature. With a curious and skeptical writer listening to his life story, the now middle-aged man reflects back on the events that made him capture the wonders of humanity and the interconnectivity of life. A mind-bending story of faith, this film brilliantly maneuvers through the unexpected affinity between man and beast and the existence of the divine.


The film works as a visually enchanting piece that owes much to the amazing CG effects coming to life as photorealistic renders of a make-believe world. What ultimately makes this virtuoso work shine is how its technical wizardry becomes invisible to the storytelling. Never looking superficial in any way, the eye-candy effects rightfully blend with the live-action parts to dramatically exhibit the gamut of emotions the story needs. The tiger Richard Parker is worth mentioning for its fierce performance as a primarily CG character.

Nearly as dimensional in 2D as it is in its 3D incarnation, this motion-picture spectacle is always tack sharp and filled with tremendous details. The shots can instantly carry its audience away toward the narrative's many facets. There is light noise in some of the darker scenes, but not to the point of annoyance. The transfer is also entirely free from source and compression issues.


The package houses a flawless seven-channel lossless track, along with alternative dubbed five-channel options in Spanish, French, German, Czech, Polish, and Turkish. The master soundtrack perfectly matches the film's poetic direction. Frequently awe-inspiring, the careful audio design serves as a celebration of the human spirit. The surround elements harmonize with every visual cue. The musical score effectively mixes Indian instrumentation with western orchestration.


The bonus-loaded package boasts a wealth of materials including the four-part making-of documentary entitled "A Filmmaker's Epic Journey," the production featurettes "A Remarkable Vision," "Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright," "Gallery," and "Storyboards. Subtitles are also available in a number of languages including English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Cantonese, Korean, Malay, Mandarin (Traditional), Vietnamese, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Polish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Romanian, Turkish, Serbian, and Slovenian.

Final Thoughts

"Life of Pi" is a cinematic masterpiece that deserves to be in anyone's Blu-ray collection. A type of picture with philosophical views that stir the soul, it can readily generate post-viewing discussions for the audience. At the same time, it makes them a firm believer of cinema magic.

This inspirational, thought-provoking adaptation of a book previously considered "unfilmable" possesses the power to move the people with its elegant lyricism and its genuine celebration of the human spirit. With its sense of space, motion, and composition, it serves as a testament to Lee's craftsmanship as a filmmaker. Every single aspect of production contributes to the visionary style and storytelling intended for the project.

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