Top 15 Films of the Year, No. 6 – Life of Pi

Life of Pi is a film directed by Ang Lee, with a screenplay by David Magee.  The film follows Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, a teenage boy whose family owns a zoo in India.  After Pi’s father decides to move the family and the animals to relocate in Canada, their ship becomes caught in a bad storm.  Pi’s family dies, and he ends up stranded on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with one of the Patel family’s Bengal tigers named Richard Parker.  Over the next 227 days, Pi and Richard Parker must continually fight for survival.  The movie is a magical tale of spirituality and extraordinary resilience.

A seasoned veteran in the filmmaking business, Ang Lee has created a visually appealing adventure film in Life of Pi, and it only adds to his already acclaimed directorial efforts.  Over the course of his career, Lee has shown great range as a director.  The diverse group of projects he has taken on, including Sense and Sensibility, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Brokeback Mountain, has demonstrated this range in a manner that has already earned him eight Academy Award wins.

To be honest, when I first watched the trailer for this film, it looked like the type of movie that I most definitely wanted to skip—it just looked too fantastical and too much like an over-the-top kid’s movie.  But when it was nominated for a vast number of Oscars, I finally decided to view the film.  I was instantly surprised at how much I really liked this movie.  Not only was it visually appealing with all of the high-tech special effects, it was also a well-made film with an amusingly humorous, but dramatic script.  Quickly, it became one of my favorite movies of the year.

I cannot help but appreciate the intricate detail Ang Lee uses when directing his movies, and Life of Pi will most definitely go down as one of his best of all time.  Ten nominations was previously Lee’s personal best for an Academy Awards ceremony (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2000), but this year, Life of Pi is up for a remarkable eleven Oscars.  Life of Pi is rated PG for emotional thematic content throughout, and some scary action sequences and peril.

Academy Award nominations for Life of Pi:

Best Picture (Gil Netter, Ang Lee, and David Womark, Producers)

Cinematography (Claudio Miranda)

Directing (Ang Lee)

Film Editing (Tim Squyres)

Best Original Score (Mychael Danna)

Best Original Song (“Pi’s Lullaby,” music by Mychael Danna and lyrics by Bombay Jayashri)

Production Design (David Gropman and Anna Pinnock)

Sound Editing (Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton)

Sound Mixing (Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill, and Drew Kunin)

Visual Effects (Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, and Donald R. Elliott)

Best Adapted Screenplay (David Magee)

Previous movies on the countdown of the Top 15 Films of the Year:

7. Amour

8. Les Misérables

9. Beasts of the Southern Wild

10. Looper

11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

12. The Dark Knight Rises

13. Flight

14. The Master

15. Argo