Gab: Life of Pi is style over substance. The majority of screen time is gorgeous. The displays of CGI and 3D–whether conjuring disturbingly real storms, pretty shots of an Indian zoo or Parisian pool, or the beautiful bristling tiger–impressively showcase the technologies available to today’s filmmakers. The problem is that the tiger steals the show. Our poor protagonist is almost never on the screen without him, and the beast is far more believable and interesting than Pi. (Pi is a bit of a dullard who never rises emotionally to the outlandish occasion of being shipwrecked with a predator.) I was never sympathetically engaged by Pi’s thought process or experience. If the story had concentrated on pure survival and adventure, emotion might take a backseat to sheer excitement and wonder. But the film tries to imbue Pi’s experience, and his relationship with the tiger, with some sort of big-picture theologizing which never plays out in a way the viewer can grasp or feel transported by. This movie is finally big in picture only, and so even the majestically rendered ocean is ultimately only a shallow pool. But then, art is in the Pi of the beholder.
Dad: Gab’s got it right this time! A pretty film, for sure, but dull at its heart, dependent on a conceit, a contrivance, almost a gimmick, and larded with tedious pop psychology. I guess Gab and Dad are contrarians on this one; almost every critic seems to love the film, and it’s doing well at the box office. But, for me, this tiger has no clothes.
–by Gab and Dad, check out their video review at YouTube