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'Pi' not a movie about numbers

By Ellen Siefke
Features Editor|
As Piscine Molitor Patel, more commonly known simply as Pi, gasps for breath as he lay in a lifeboat. Thinking that he alone survived a catastrophic shipwreck in the Manchurian Trench, he suddenly sees a small speck in the churning waters.
Assuming the figure, too, is a survivor, he begins to shout and hold out a long oar for the “person” to grab and climb aboard.
However, as the speck draws near, he realizes the “person” is really a 450-pound tiger named Richard Parker; filled with fear, he tries to bat the beast away to no avail. Richard Parker hoists himself up into the boat.
Shocked and scared for his life, Pi plunges into the water, realizing that he will not have to somehow survive with a ferocious carnivore until help arrives.
Directed by Ang Lee, “The Life of Pi” depicts this simply incredible tale of survival under the most severe of conditions, but that’s not what makes the movie so appealing. The pure insanity of the whole plot is extremely intriguing and makes this movie completely unique.
Pi, the protagonist, even follows this theme; he is named after a French swimming pool that his uncle found exquisite due to the crystal-clear waters. Who wouldn’t want to share the name of a French swimming pool?

Besides his name, he is both Catholic, Hindu, and Muslim, which seems odd for a boy living in India. Personally, just being a good Catholic is hard enough for me, but multiplied by three, I really can’t imagine.

Continuing with the weird and bizarre theme, yeah, by the way, his family owns a zoo. Not an imaginary one, like the wonderland you create in your head just to pass the time while learning about grammar, a real zoo.

Speaking of animals, Pi has to survive on a lifeboat with a crew full of them: an orangutan named Orange Juice, a zebra with a broken leg, and a hyena. These animals soon disappear mysteriously with the arrival of Richard Parker for reasons…unknown. Logical thinking should bring a reasonable conclusion.

Personally, I’d just see the tiger, confess my sins and say a quick to my Maker for a happy life. Of course, Pi is not like me, considering that would make for a relatively boring movie. (Yay, let’s go watch tigers devour Indian boys!)

After many days of this, he begins to develop somewhat of a relationship with the tiger. Yes, you did just read that. Think of “The Jungle Book,” and now imagine Mobley becoming friends with Shere Khan. As I mentioned before, this movie is slightly bizarre.

Finally, another crazy part revolves around an enigmatic floating island in the middle of nowhere. Weirdly enough, this was my favorite part.

Myriads of meerkats inhabitat this place, and green foliage creates an initial image of fertility and life. However, as Pi soon discovers, it hides a dark secret. The island has two faces; life-sustaining by day and life-taking by night.

To be honest, why I relished this part so much confounds me. Maybe I just am extremely sadistic and enjoy watching others’ pain, but maybe I just really like unexplained, cryptic things so that my overactive mind can go crazy and come up with all kinds of explanations.

Overall, I recommend this movie to anyone. The bizarre plot, filled with sudden twists, is a refreshing change from the violence or romance that characterizes many modern screenplays. So take a seat and get ready for a ride on the wild side.

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