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Oz The Great and Powerful

12 Mar

 

I’m a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz (1939). As a child, I read most of the Oz books, and over the years, have watched Judy Garlands’ Dorothy time and time again. 

From the technicolour  trailers, I thought and assumed this is one production I must watch. After the complete hash job of ‘Return To Oz’ in 1985, the “unofficial sequel” to the 1939 production, I thought they could not or would not attempt to make another attempt to return to Oz, so to speak.

However, this version was touted as a “prequel”. Naturally, being an avid fan, I expected great and powerful things. We arrived at the cinema and handed our tickets to the attendant. “Just follow the yellow brick road” he said. I thought he was being sarcastic until I looked down and saw a vinyl yellow road taped down onto the hardwearing industrial carpet. It led us to the IMAX screen. We’d never been in there before. We had to have a different type of 3D glasses to the ones I had brought in especially for the occasion. We settled down and watched the large images in front of us.

Sam Raimi, who brought us ‘Drag Me to Hell’ and the ‘Spiderman‘ trilogy , created his version of how a mere mortal, Oscar Diggs, played by James Franco, a small time Kansas con-man/magician with an eye for the ladies, came to be the wonderful wizard of Oz.

Taking inspiration from the original classic, this version also starts in black and white. The scene is set and we catch a glimpse into the world of late 19th century entertainment with a menagerie of circus acts which includes contortionists, strong men, hoopla and clowns. I couldn’t help but feel that it was “too staged” for my likings. In comparison to The Artist, which was shot completely in monochrome and silence which added to the feeling that one was watching a silent movie from that era or transported back in time , the use of black and white here was too clinical. It appeared to lack depth and had a touch of a modern day soap opera. A little bit hammy and lacking in chemistry between the character actors.

As Oscar is a bit of a “player”, he toys with the emotions of a naïve, attractive woman and as a token or gesture of their relationship, he hands her a wooden music box with a sad tale of how it belonged to his grandmother. The young woman is infatuated with him but her real boyfriend or husband finds out and threatens to kill Oscar, who in turn, attempts to escape in a hot air balloon.  He does this with glee, but once again, with reference to the original, is soon trapped in a tornado and is hurtled into the middle of the storm. He prays to be kept alive and promises that if he does survive, he will be a changed man.

Like Dorothy, who moved from the bleak black and white room and through the doors into the wonderful technicolour world of Oz, Oscar is also transported in similar fashion. He is shifted from a crouching position in the basket of the balloon and only when he puts his head above the parapet, does the colour glow into his cheeks and we are seduced by the colourful offerings in this new land of Oz.

Oscar, or Oz, as he refers to himself, is befriended by a young witch named Theodora. She initially believes him to be the saviour of Oz, but he informs her otherwise. They develop a close friendship and he seduces her with his charm. However, any romantic notions Theodora has towards Oscar are short lived when her sister Evanora, informs her that Oscar also attempted to seduce her and brings out a wooden music box.

Theodora becomes upset and cries.  As I watched this scene I thought “Tears that arise from a breaking heart burn and sear the pain”. The tears literally burn her face. As Theodora feels humiliated by the taunts and words of her sister, she becomes more enraged and embittered. Her sister then encourages her to eat an apple in order to seek revenge. This scene appeared to be a rehash of the scene in Disneys’ Snow White, when the evil witch, disguised as an old beggar woman beguiles and preys on the vulnerable and gullible young heroine. Once bitten, Theodora realises  the identity of the true evil witch and the one who wants to rule Oz. She begins to change and turns green with envy. The term “hell hath no fury…” came to mind and it was good to see the morphing of a “good girl gone bad”. Thanks, Rihanna!

It is then that the mood of the film begins to change from a fairly light story into a more darker and sinister tale which again is typical of Disney.

Relying more heavily on being action driven rather than plotlines, Oz The Great and Powerful is a visual feast of delights, an Avatar for the younger children.  There were times when I thought this production was typical of Disney studios. There were scenes when Oscar would walk down the yellow brick road and I almost imagined or expected him to burst into song like “Zip a dee doo dah” . Then, when Oscar is enraptured by the beauty of the land, there were scenes which reminded me of the talking flowers in Alice in Wonderland. Introducing new characters like China Girl and Finley the monkey, voiced by Joey King and Zach Braff respectively,  allowed the film to develop themes of family, friendship, companionship and a bit of humour.  Like the monkey in Aladdin and the Gingerbread Man in Shrek, they added the “Aaah!” factor.

James Franco shows what a versatile actor he is with the simultaneous release of this film and with the release of Spring Breakers in which he plays an off the wall drugs dealing character. Michelle Williams as Glinda the Good Witch was too mature and didn’t really bounce with goodness or charm. Rachel Weisz  looked as if she relished the role of playing the evil witch  Evanora and Mila Kunis as her sister Theodora made the role her own.  I could believe in her portrayal of the Wicked Witch as she demonstrated consistency and, I assume in her research, added cackles and mannerisms to her character which are definitely in line with the Wicked Witch in Oz that we know and love/hate over the decades.

The inclusion of black actors, especially a character named Knuck, played by Tony Cox, made this production and the dialogue feel “too modern”. It was good to see that it was trying to appeal to a wider audience but at times, it felt it lacked the sentiment, whimsical charms of the original but was a more superior and value for money production better than “Return to Oz”.

The Learned Kat

Mama: A Review

3 Mar

Two young sisters, a short sighted Victoria aged 3 and Lilly, aged 1 are taken from their home by their dad who is clearly distraught, upset and angry. He bundles them into a car and over the radio news, we learn that the dad, Jeffrey. has murdered his wife  and is trying to get away. We follow them as they drive through snow and icy roads. The car crashes in the woods and they find their way to what appears to be a a secluded cabin. However, there seems to be something evil lurking inside…

Five years later, the girls are discovered in a feral state, are medically assessed and with the aid of Dr Dreyfuss, who specialises in child psychology/psychiatry, are placed in the care of their painter/artist uncle Lucas and his rock chick girlfriend Annabel, much to the chagrin of the aunt, Jeanie, the sister of the childrens’ deceased mum. However, the prospect of looking after Lucas’ nieces proves to be challenging and brings its own sinister secrets and daunting experiences.

Victoria has progressed and can communicate quite well, whereas Lilly is still relatively insular, with an animalistic nature and is drawn to the as yet unseen character known as Mama. As time progresses, Victoria is quite happy to accept the blurred vision of Mama  but gradually begins to take comfort in the real love and affection which Annabel provides. One day,  Victoria decides to keep her spectacles on and face the being which has haunted their young lives. It is at that moment that we, as the audience also share the clarity of the vision and Mama is revealed in her true nature. It’s a screamer of a scene.

Haunted by nightmares, the two adult protagonists begin to unravel the story of Mama and it reveals a historical story of madness, mental asylums and death.

All the child actresses are absolutely adorable, endearing and carry the film effortlessly. As the story unfolds, one is drawn into their world as much as the adult one. Their dialogue is short, concise and conveys messages, feelings and emotions in a simplistic manner. An incredible achievement for such young talent. It remains to be seen if they transform into successful stars and establish themselves over the years, as we know from tabloid press and interviews, making that transition from child star to bona fide adult star is a struggle for many.

From the visionary director Guillermo del Toro who gave the world surreal fantasy/drama Pan’s Labryinth, comes another tale of love & death, courage, sacrifice, jealousy, motherhood,  the role of a mother, and touches of the age old nature/nurture debate.  ‘Mama’ is an engrossing piece of fiction that explores the duality of a parent’s role – to protect children from harm and the possible repercussions of what would be if a parent is to become so overtly protective that the parent becomes jealous, insecure and obsessive. Words that spring to mind are learning to let go; standing up for what you believe in, and what appears to be the ultimate sacrifice = to allow a loved one to go in order to survive.

Mama seems to  draw on the edge-of-the-seat psychology of ‘The Shining’, the fixation and obsession of ‘The Hand That Rocks The Cradle’, the spine-chilling tingles of ‘The Exorcist’ and shades of ‘The Poltergeist’. Yes, we may have seen it all before – the doctor finding and going into cabin in the  woods and Jeanie investigating forms of abuse in the family home provide predictable endings for these two characters – but Mama has re-packaged the thrills and shock surprises for a modern generation of cinema-goers.

As clichés go, it’s a nail biting, edge of the seat horror/thriller with a fantastical ending which would have you crying and calling out for Mama!

 

The Learned Kat

Song for Marion: A Review

26 Feb

‘Song for Marion’ was a film that I was waiting to watch since I first saw it advertised. And, I must say, it was well worth it.
Devoted couple Arthur (Terence Stamp) and Marion (Vanessa Redgrave) live in a small bungalow, where Arthur cares for his ailing wife. Marion is a member of a choral group made up of elderly people and looks forward to her regular singing sessions at the local community social centre. Marion is optimistic, outgoing and well liked.
Arthur, however, is quite reticent or insular, grumpy, stubborn and refuses to be drawn into the same arena which Marion enjoys so much. They have one son, James (Christopher Ecclestone) who is close to his mother but there appears to be a void between father and son.

Like a number of films before it, and no doubt there will be many more to follow, the premise of this film is based upon the idea that Elizabeth, the choir leader, played amiably by the versatile Gemma Arterton, informs the group that she is going to enter ‘The OAPz’ (the ‘z’ is added to give it more street cred, and also a nod to a singing/dancing group of pensioners who entered Britain’s Got Talent a few years ago) into a choral singing competition. So the “oldies” throw themselves into rehearsing and performing for their one special night. It is only when Marion is informed she has a couple of months to live that we realise she is dying of cancer and things begin to change.

A scene where her fellow amateur singers gather together outside Marions’ bedroom window and sing in the rain leads to a minor disagreement between Arthur and Marion. Arthur shouts at the singing crowd and tells them to “bugger off!” and Marion asks him to apologise, which he refuses to do. So she refuses to speak to him until he does. The scene is both humourous and typically quirky of British eccentricities.
The two stars share scenes like a well worn old pair of shoes, and come across as a very familiar, doting and loving couple.

With Marion passing away, Elizabeth takes it upon herself to offer Arthur the opportunity to say what he feels and be true to himself. At first, he is reluctant to change but decides to open up and seeks solace or refuge at the social club, to continue the good work of Marion. At the same time, he tries to reach out to his son and make amends for being so distant. The son closes the door on him…

Vanessa Redgraves portrayal of a dedicated, loyal, dying wife anchoring the bonds between the strained relationship of father and son and singing Cyndi Laupers “True Colours” was sensitively handled. One of the grand dames of screen and theatre presented Marion without any schmaltz or the feeling that we’ve seen it all before. And Terence Stamp singing his ‘Song’ for Marion, hence the title of the film, at the end was a real heartbreaker. He sang it with aplomb and such powerful emotions came through. Not a dry eye in the house on screen as well as off, I would say.

“Song for Marion” is a well written, well directed tender, simple yet touching story which engages the audience and is likely to bring a tear to the eye for anyone who has loved and lost, experienced grief and bereavement or is a fan of sentiment and family humour. Some parts of the script were deliberately construed to set the viewers emotions in a certain direction, soft hearts with a slightly cynical edge. I certainly had my tissues handy and I’m sure others in the auditorium were feeling as if they’d gone through a bittersweet chapter too.

What sets this film apart from other films of similar ilk is the understated and sturdy performances of the stellar cast, although the supporting actors like Ann Reid and the extras were superficial to requirements. Setting it in a social club in one of the many towns in the UK community adds realism and attention to detail. I think the British audience would be able to relate to it more than our overseas friends but the core of the tale will strike a chord with many.

Yet another heart-warming, charming tale in how to deal with the elderly, dying and death. It’s about time we saw more films dealing with the elderly and real issues that we need to face up to and manage. Some people would say it was corny, but if this is corn, I like it sweet with a pinch of salt. More please!

The Learned Kat

Emptying the ManCave

26 Feb

The loft in my home has become my personal space, my world, my domain. When we moved into our house, the loft was without light, boarded floors and pitch black. We agreed to convert it into my study and the only place I could keep my desktop computer, books, CD’s and DVDs and anything else that was work related.

Not only did I use the loftspace to use my computer on a regular basis, but it also became my haven to become more “messy” and personalise it as my other half has OCD and cannot bear the idea of seeing magazines, books, cds, and all other such paraphenalia on display. So, we agreed that the loft would be my area to “spread myself” without any such restraints, without limitations or making my other half feel more anxious at seeing items on display. Although, it does not stop him sometimes from re-arranging “my stuff” around as he deems it to be “too messy”!

Anyway, after living in the house for 5 and a half years, I decided to have a thorough clear out…I’ve already mentioned I started to download photos onto memory sticks on a previous post. The clean up campaign didn’t just stop there. In fact, it was just the start of my blitz. Whilst waiting for the images to be transferred, I started to sift through all my old boxes, my work related documents (hard copies) , old bills, payslips, diairies and other such items. I didn’t realise that I carried so much bumph. But alongside all that, I walked down memory lane as I read and shredded each document, copies of application forms, altered CV’s, pages and pages of cover letters with the slightest mistake, memos and Minutes of Meetings…

I was finding it hard to let go of my past. It seemed that the items in question, although they may seem boring and trivial to others, were to me,  mementoes of my life. I found particulars/details and bills fom my first house, a small two bedroom terraced house purchased in 1999.  I pulled out payslips from the days I worked at a Daycentre for people with learning disabilities/difficulties and established friendships with my peers that have lasted for 10 years now. I found minutes from meetings where the people I supervised were more than just workers, they were people with endearing flaws and personalities which created a diverse and dynamic team, which I admired and found appalling at the same time. I found rejection letters and acceptance letters, which reminded me of my struggles to find work whilst living in Devon, I found notes which made me feel angry or sad all over again as it brought back flashes or images of people who had wronged me, I picked up training notes which placed a smile on my face or thought a waste of time as I never had the opportunity to use the “skills taught” in any of my job roles. It was a strangely heartfelt experience…

But it didn’t stop there…I started to look around at my prized collection of over 400 DVDs and shelves boasting a proud collection of over 1,000 CDs. With the recession biting hard in our household, I took stock of my indecision and began to sift through my DVDs. We have bills to pay, and for the first time in my life, I have had to sell some of my items. With each DVD placed on the side, it was heartwrenching to place the barcode on the WebuyDVDs website to find that the majority of DVDs, although purchased between £5 – 15 are only worth 31p each. As my friends’ 25 year old son says, most people are streaming online now…

I remembered where I was and why I bought a certain DVD. I recalled the feeling it left inside me when I watched the film. I was looking at my favourite film, the saddest film, the happiest film, the most sentimental or weepy, romantic or action…each film brought a reaction or emotion and I was having to sell a part of me to be practical…So far, 134 DVDs, which my other half was worth several hundred pounds, have been sold  for a song.  I knew they weren’t going to fetch an awful amount of cash, I was just holding on to what they were worth to me. A collection of specific films purchased over a period of 10 years… to be disposed of within a few days.

My next step would be to download my music collection…I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet but I know it will happen soon. On the one side, I try not to think about it, but on the other, it’s like a relief or self cleansing therapy. Will it all be worth it? I ask myself?

My loft was my space. But soon I think it’ll become an empty shell. Even the computer that I’ve had for 10 years now is showing signs of giving up… I suppose I could’ve used a garden shed or used one of the bedrooms as a study but it’s not quite the same in this house…

I feel my act of disposal is a reflection on todays society and how we lead our lives today. Is that how easily things, whether objects or items, tangible or innate, emotional/physical or practical can be disposed of? Is that how much it’s worth? Like in life, at work and in play, we are easily picked up, used and disposed of, from the “Purchaser” e.g. hirer/employer or even in relationships (partners/spouses/friends etc),  to wait for the next big or best thing…to the item or person being deselected and made to feel redundant, useless or unwanted.

My loft was MY space. But the recession has taken hold, and I feel I am losing faith…

The Learned Kat

Les Miserables

28 Jan

According to IMDb website, the plotline is : “In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever”.

From the opening scene of Les Miserable, it seemed as if we were going to be in for an epic journey. Hugh Jackman played Jean Valjean, singing the opening words and is accompanied by the chain gang. The singing continued and even though I am familiar with a number of songs from the theatre production, I really wasn’t familiar with the whole storyine and did not realise that the whole script or dialogue is sung word for word, line by line. It was in my naivete that I expected some spoken words but alas, it was foolish of me to think otherwise. We know Hugh can sing and dance as he’s been nominated for and won many awards for his Broadway and musical productions. But it still seems at odds for such a masculine character actor to be heard singing, as to the majority of film fans, he is better known as Wolverine from the X Men movies.
Russell Crowe as Javert appeared comfortable in his role as the police officer. His attempt at singing reminded me of Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia! Not a bad thing but at least he made an effort in “doing a Rex Harrison”. That means we know he’s not a great singer like Pavarotti or a respectable tenor, but can hold his own and that is enough to carry the story forward.
Anne Hathaway steals the show with her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” and it looks as if her performance may be nominated for an award or two. I though she offered an emotional performance and you really feel for her character Fantine, especially when you know that in the scene where she has to cut off and sell her hair, Anne really sacrificed her own dark locks for her art and brought a tear to the eye.
Amanda Seyfried, played Cosette. Amanda really seems to be carving out a niche for herself in playing these lightweight love lorn young women with a touch of pain and anguish.
Helene Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen add light relief as Madame and her husband Thenardier, especially when they sing “Master of the House” I like Helena but it seems that she is playing the same cockney, boozy, floozy time and time again. Strange how years ago she complained that she was being typecast as a young English Rose and deliberately set out to play a cockney rebel/prostitute back then and has never quite stopped playing that role ever since…

Amongst the other young Brit actors, Eddie Redmayne and as Marius and Samantha Barks as Eponine brought understated, solid performances to their characters. Eddie singing “Empty chairs and empty tables” was pitched just at the right level of loss of friendship and remembrance and Samantha, who was the only cast member who had performed in a live theatre production of Les Mis, sang about unrequited love with compassion in the song “On My Own.”

The set, production and design really made an impact and I did feel as if I was transported back to the time of The French Revolution. Make up and costume added to the whole atmosphere of wretchedness, poverty, filth and squalor and the realms of what the poor had to do to survive.
My only gripe is that the young blone street urchin who played a minor yet pivotal role was a stereotypical EastEnd boy from modern day London rather than a French pauper from the 19th century.

Other notable songs such as “Do they hear the people sing?” and “At the end of the Day?” are rousing vocal collectives and Hugh singing “Bring Him Home” has real depth, empathy and quality of brotherhood. I remembered these more for the fact that I performed them as an ensemble at Birmingham Town Hall when I was s student in 1987! and I wanted to see how it transferred to the screen adaptation. Ah! it did bring back some memories and I found myself humming and singing along…

At times, it did seem that the production was really pushing the emotional boundaries, the vocal outpourings became a tad too indulgent or irritating and any attempts of falling into one emotion was soon scuppered by another jolt of negative vibes such as hate, anger or frustration. This musical really makes you feel as if you’ve gone through the wringer with the characters.

However, it is good to see that musicals in one form or another. are making a return.

The Learned Kat

Quartet: A Review

2 Jan

Dustin Hoffmans’ directorial debut delivers a delightful comedy-drama of old age and friendships.

Quartet is a film based on the same titled play by Ronald Harwood, who is also the screen writer of this production. It boasts a stellar cast which includes Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon and Andrew Sachs.

Quartet starts with three elderly friends who are living in Beechams House – a luxurious retirement home for classical musicians. Billy, plays Wilf, a slightly over-the-top theatrical gent with an eye for the ladies, Tom plays Reggie, a quiet, proud or stubborn man and Pauline steals the show as Cissy, who appears slightly eccentric until you realise that she is experiencing the early onset of dementia. All three once performed Verdi’s quartet from Rigoletto as part of a celebrated Quartet and the harmony of their friendship is stirred with the expected arrival of Reggies ex-wife, Jean, who was the fourth member.

We see all the residents singing, performing and playing their musical instruments in rehearsals for a fund raising gala concert, which would prevent what appears to be the imminent closure of the Home. Cedric (Michael  Gambon), a luvvie director who has grand ambitions even in his dotage, decides that with the arrival of Jean, it would boost ticket sales and the Home would receive more publicity.  Wilf and Cissy are quite keen on the idea but Reggie who still appears wounded by the love he lost and is clearly not impressed with the idea. But it is left to Cissy to persuade him otherwise. The three then attempt to encourage Jean (an operatic Diva played magnificently by Maggie Smith like a well worn suit) to take part, who believes herself to beyond reproach for the break up of her marriage and the end of her singing career. Cissy remains as thoughtful, sensitive and playful as ever towards Jean, but a kind gesture is rebuked which leads to an accident and apologies from Jean. This leads to discord amongst the residents and staff towards Jean, who realises a number of things. This includes coming-to-terms with who she is today and acceptance of the fact she is getting old. She then finally accepts the invitation to reunite with her friends for one historic reunion.

This film deliberately appears to hold onto its theatrical origins, and to add authenticity to some of it scenes, Mr Hoffman used real life singers and musicians who had varied theatrical, musical and operatic backgrounds. Like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, this is a very genteel, thought-provoking film about loyalty, friendship, old ties and lost loves, betrayal and a bygone era. It also seems to raise the issue of old age and what it means to be an elderly person in a residential/nursing home. The playwright and the  directors’ observations on  issues such as dignity and respect, dementia, behaviour, languages used, relationships with staff appear spot on. Sheridan Smith as Dr Lucy Cogan gets a mention here as her underplayed  role carried the sensitivity, charm and charisma as required for the woman in charge of a large nursing home full of larger than life characters and her short speech just before the curtain went up on the concert appeared genuinely sincere and emotional.

The ending was similar to The Full Monty in that we see the main actors on stage facing the audience but never actually get to see them perform as a Quartet. We simply hear the operatics in the background as the camera pans  on an external shot of the Home.

This film is a timely reminder of what it means to grow old without being too schmaltzy and corny.. With all the stars being over 70, it seems that one of the subtexts is to encourage the older generation to remain active in their daily lives for as long as possible.

Warmth emanates from all the performers and you can almost  see how they enjoyed the camaraderie and laughs with some of the sharp, dry one-liners. Quartet is a homely and cosy, a warm cooked supper on a cold, winters night.

The Learned Kat

Life of Pi: 3D version

23 Dec

         

I read Life of Pi by Yann Martel after a friend recommended it to me  in 2006.  At the time, I thought it was an impressive read and wondered how it would transfer onto celluloid and if there was any producer out there who had the vision to bring it to the big screen.

My prayers were answered when I watched Ang Lee’s film adaptation today in 3D.

The Life of Pi starts at a slow pace with the introduction of a local writer (Rafe Spall) who visits Pi Patel (an older version of Pi played by Irrfan Khan), who has been referred to him by his “honorary uncle”,  believing that Pi’s life story would make a great book. Pi relates an extended tale:

Pi provides a brief history of his birth, his parents and brother in India and his upbringing in their own zoo, which is situated in the towns Botanical Gardens and the origins of his name. The boy is named Piscine Molitor (after a swiiming pool in France) and after being constantly ridiculed and embarrassed by his name, he decides to change his name to Pi after the mathematical symbol. These scenes are told in flashback and are slightly reminiscent of Slumdog Millionaire. We are introduced to various animals and the roles they play in Pi’s life. We also find out that Pi has a strong interest in Islam, Christianity and Hinduism, constantly questionning and challenging all that he sees and hears.

As Pi recalls, we see a teenage version (played by unknown Suraj Sharma making his acting debut) and  how he had just started to love a young dancer when his dad announces that they are to move to Canada.  We see events unfold as the family board the ship that sets sail for Canada Anyone familiar with the story would know how it develops, and how Pi manages to survive the sinking of the ship. The scene evokes parallels to James Camerons Titanic, and there is a sense of sadness and pathos.  From that scene, the film had me engrossed and I was transfixed, wanting to know how would Ang Lee manage to direct the experiences of Pi (as told in the book version) from the minute the cargo ship and its passengers were caught in the thunderstorm which sinks to how Pi ends up on a lifeboat with a hyena, orangutan, zebra and a Bengal Tiger called Richard Parker. The scene is very realistic in that it didn’t look as over the top as Ang Lees previous offering The Hulk, which was very superficial and contrived in places. The hyena kills the zebra and Orangutan and, in his turn, the tiger kills the hyena, which almost depicts survival instincts of the animal world. It leaves Richard Parker and Pi on the lifeboat together. When Pi somehow manages to land on an island full of Meerkats, it  created a glow of warmth inside my stomach. It was touching and comforting at the same time.

The impression of Pi and the Bengal Tiger trying to survive the great journey over the pacific ocean covers a number of themes, which includes how man has to work with nature in order to survive, friendship, seclusion and isolation which brings to mind the saying ” No man Is An Island”. The ocean scenes were amazing a la Avatar, breathtaking and beautiful to behold, Suaraj was slightly wooden at times and in some scenes, he reminded me of Sabu (an actor of Indian origins as seen in The Thief of Baghdad circa 1950’s) But he may be forgiven as this is his landmark debut.

As the story develops, we feel for Pi and the tiger,  drawing on the qualities of man’s inner strengths, his feelings and thoughts about God, nature vs nurture, and his search for home/land. We are drawn to Pi and all that he encounters and endures on his journey. We share his bewildered perception of the world and how he sees the ocean, bold and dangerous.

Overall, the Life of Pi in 3D is a spiritual fable, smooth and simple in it’s storytelling but a fascinating and visual feast!

The Learned Kat