Thursday, October 15, 2009

Life of Pi the Movie?

imagine you're 16. you're ship-wrecked. everyone has died. you get on a boat. and there's a tiger with you. in the middle of nowhere. 227 days at sea. with a tiger. did i mention the man-eating tiger?

i've never heard of the author but i gave it a go. i really wanna know what happened to the boy! really, it is rare for me to read a book (by choice) by an author that i don't know of, writing about stuff i'm not interested in - unless it's for a class or work assignments - and most importantly unless it was suggested by a friend.

life of pi by canadian author yann martel came highly recommended by my friend haida. thanks girl! best decision i made about a book!

i read this book last year - and was reminded of its remarkable story when i came across a news bit about a planned movie version of 'life of pi' to be directed by academy award winner; ang lee who directed one of my fav movies of all time - 'sense and sensibility'. (bukan brokeback mountain ye hoho).

the story of the indian boy, pi is indeed a remarkable one. the son of a zookeeper, on a ship to canada, moving some of the animals there. the ship sinks, everyone dies except pi, who ends up in a lifeboat.

with him on the boat is an orang-utan, a zebra, a hyena - and a '450 pound royal bengal tiger'. eventually he is left alone with the tiger. yes. he is trapped in a boat, in the middle of the ocean; with a tiger - whose name is richard parker.

he was on the boat for approximately 227 days; surviving on food on the boat, and the must-work plan of providing for the tiger - like serving him fish, turtles and stuff, just so the tiger would not focus on him.

he needs to eat, he needs time to sleep. but these seemingly easy decisions in life are significantly different for this indian boy living on a boat with the most dangerous boatmate you can imagine! every choice he makes means life or death. one of the most important decisions and thoughts of all would be how not to get eaten by richard parker!

his thoughts and plans are put in simple short sentences, very easy to the eyes and mind. so lepak and macam takde ape-ape. it shows how trivial these plans should be - like when and what to eat for lunch - but to pi, these decisions come with the consideration of having a man-eating tiger with him!

you'd think it'd be boring - like the soundless adventure of tom hanks in 'cast away'. however the masterful storytelling of yann martel keeps the story of pi's long voyage moving at an interesting pace.

i can't really put a theme it - adventure? spiritual? come-off-age tale? animal story? great huge metaphor of life's simplest decisions that we take for granted? comedy, action too! it's got a little bit of everything...

* * *

'life of pi' could easily just be an action-adventure with a pinch of dark humor thrown in - but yann martel made it philosophical and spiritual with the plot at the beginning where a young pi grows older, thus more curious and inquisitive - about god.

brought up as a hindu, he slowly found interest in christianity, going to church aside from his usual temple time, praying like both a christian when in church and a hindu when at the temple. then he discovered islam, and then started to pray 5 times a day as well, while continuing his pious activity with his two previous religions.

when the monk, the priest and the imam discovered this 'atrocity', they confronted pi's parents, demanding that pi chooses only one of the religions. in the effort to convince pi, they ended up poking fun at each other's religion - showing weaknesses, rather than showing the young indian boy the beauty of each own's religion (which reminds me of malaysia political scene).

pi simply said, he just wants to love god. and this great, unfaltering 'faith' would prove a huge help as he bobbed alone in the boat with the tiger.

* * *

i'm really interested to see how ang lee is going to go about it - as 'life of pi' contains endless soliloquy - pi's conversation with himself, his solo narration of the daily happenings while alone and tryin to survive with a tiger on the same boat. i mean, in a book - the thoughts, the feelings - it's all there to be read. but in a movie, it's gotta be expressed differently.

'life of pi' the movie needs one helluva good acting.

also in the news bit is that m. night shyamalan (who directed the awesome sixth sense) was also approached to direct 'life of pi' but decided against it on the consideration that the viewers who have read the book would already anticipate the twist at the end. (kan shyamalan punya signature kan movie dia mesti ade twist at the end yang tak disangka-sangka. kalo org dah tau tak best lah)

what's the twist? memang gile. when i was reading it, i was like - woahhhhh. you should go grab 'life of pi' to find out!

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