Monday, 15 July 2013

Life of Pi-ty

I watched the movie of Life of Pi the on Saturday night, and I wish I hadn't. I had avoided it for a long time because the story sounded so ludicrous, but we wanted to watch a movie, it was there on iTunes, and we hadn't seen it.

Now admittedly the story makes a bit more sense when you know it's an allegory on the nature of religion - which none of the people enthusing at me to read/watch it had bothered to mention, but that doesn't justify it. I can't see the point of having a long, laboured, silly story to put across the message 'religion might be fiction, but it is a better story than the alternative.' Just write down that sentence and move on. Don't make me waste over two hours to get that rather limp, cod psychology message. 

As for the film itself, I enjoyed the first bit about Pi's background a lot, but as soon as they got to the shipwreck I hated it. In part because it is just such a silly story, but also because the CGI, which everyone says is wonderful, really let it down by being far too obvious. Three examples: the sinking ship looked all wrong, the water surfaces were far too mirrored and/or oily and the tiger moved incorrectly and had irritating anthropomorphic facial expressions.

Now someone is bound to say that it actually should look not quite right to make it more dream-like. This is wanting to have your cake and eat it. If the CGI is great, it's good because it's great CGI, and if the CGI is bad it's good because it conveys the unreal nature of the storyline. Apart from being cheating logic, this is rubbish, because dreams don't look unreal. You might, in a dream think 'Ooh, that doesn't usually happen,' (though usually you accept the weird stuff til you wake), but you will never think 'Hmm, this world looks like bad, poorly textured CGI.' It's not dream-like, it is just poor special effects.

Overall, then, Pi might be a transcendental number, but this film was anything but transcendental, bringing me down to earth with a bump.

Image from Wikipedia

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