Grantham Reel Cinema: Pi looks good enough to eat

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Life of Pi is now showing at the Reel Cinema in Grantham with good reviews.

Few films based on literary award-winning novels can ever rival the written works on which they are based.

Either the original work is far superior to any possible screen version or it is so purely a literary work, such as Catcher in the Rye, that it would seem impossible to transfer to cinema.

Yann Martell’s Life of Pi was published in 2001 and won him the Man Booker Prize the following year. Martell’s story concerns Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, an Indian boy who survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker and several other animals.

The story is clearly an allegory and allegories are difficult to translate to the big screen, but director Ang Lee makes a good fist of it. Critics seem split over how good it really is, although most agree that it is beautifully shot and looks great on screen. The bright colours and pristine tableaux of the film may overshadow the storytelling but this is typical Ang Lee film-making, from the director of Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

The 3D film will make an immediate impression on cinema-goers because it tells an unusual tale and loks great, but whether it wil stand the test of time is another question.