Director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) turned in one of the year’s most stunning visual epics with his adaptation of Life of Pi and was rewarded with an Oscar for his work. Now you can enjoy the beautiful spectacle and powerful message of the story in the comfort of your own home with the movie’s release on Blu-ray. Life of Pi is one of those rare films where the 3D component actually complements the viewing experience in a noticeable way, which is why it’s drawn comparisons to James Cameron’s Avatar. This description works just fine on a superficial level, but Life of Pi has so much more to offer; new discoveries both on screen and embedded within the story make repeat watching a rather rewarding experience. Hit the jump for my review of Life of Pi on Blu-ray.
On the surface, Life of Pi is a story about the titular character, Pi Patel, who survives a shipwreck only to be set adrift in a small life boat with a full-grown Bengal tiger on board. On a deeper level, the film delves into questions of faith and theology, of story and perception, and ultimately of life and death. Lee does a remarkable job at switching between the dynamics of telling a human interest story and that of a sweeping epic full of scenes of incredible natural beauty and devastation. I don’t often review the cinematic content on Blu-ray reviews, so if you’re interested you can read my movie review of Life of Pi here. I will say, however, that upon a second viewing of Life of Pi, I did notice a few things that I missed the first time around. Some were good: the shape of the mangrove island resembling that of a body in repose; some were not: the lack of 3D allowing some flaws in the digital effects to become more obvious. Fortunately, Life of Pi still looks and sounds beautiful on the Blu-ray, which is definitely worth picking up. For those of you who enjoy a bit of background information on the lengthy process to get this Oscar-winning film made, you’ll be happy with the following extras:
A Filmmaker’s Epic Journey (~60 minutes over four parts)
Director Ang Lee, author Yann Martel, screenwriter David Magee and many more people involved with the process of bringing Life of Pi to the screen take the audience on an extensive look at the behind-the-scenes production. The four-year journey is told from multiple perspectives and is accompanied by images of scouting locations, previs animation, animal training (and actor training), visual and practical effects work, the attention to shooting in 3D and even the Oscar-winning composition by Mychael Danna. A very enjoyable feature for film buffs.
A Remarkable Vision (~20 minutes)
A look at the visual effects work that brought the stunning vision of Life of Pi to the screen, including commentary from the Rhythm and Hues VFX team and work-in-progress shots of numerous sequences from the film.
A featurette with commentary from tiger trainer Thierry Portier, who explains his method as well as the challenge of training tigers. Portier’s tigers served as a real life foundation for Life of Pi’s computer-generated stand-ins and this extra looks at how they were built over a year-long process.
A beautiful collection of Life of Pi concept art from various artists.
Storyboards from various scenes of Life of Pi, including the Zoo Hospital, Ashram, Piscine Molitor, Cargo Hold, Underwater Fantasy and Mexican Beach.
- Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Language: English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Subtitles: English, Spanish
- Dubbed: French, Spanish
- Region: Region A/1
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Number of discs: 2
- Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
- Studio: Fox
- DVD Release Date: March 12, 2013
- Run Time: 123 minutes