The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

December 24, 2012

Is ‘The Life of Pi’ destined for awards?

Monday, December 24, 2012 — Ang Lee is an extremely gifted director who has made such diverse films as “Sense and Sensibility;” “The Ice Storm;” “Crouch-ing Tiger, Hidden Dragon;” “Hulk” and “Brokeback Mountain.” One may love or hate any one of those films or all of them, but one cannot accuse Lee of focusing on one genre. And the Academy likes his work as “Sense,” “Tiger” and “Mountain” all received Best Picture nominations, though none won the big prize.  

Lee’s new work, “The Life of Pi,” is also generating a lot of Oscar buzz. One national critic has heralded it as the frontrunner for Best Picture. The Las Vegas Film Critics Society has already named it the best picture of 2012. And “Pi” is finding its way onto many critics’ Top Ten Lists.  

Is all this praise justified? Perhaps, but here is what I think.  

First, it is not the best film I have seen this year. I would not even put it in the top five. That is not a denouncement of the artistry of the film. There are just at least five films that I like more than the “Life of Pi.” And 2012 is almost but not quite over. By the end of this year, “Pi” may not even be on my Top Ten List. But that is a very subjective thing. In the end, for me, it comes down to choosing the films I would most like to see again and share with my friends. Though “Pi” may not make my Top Ten List, I do think it is one of the better films of 2012.

Second, here is what I liked about the film. Like “Cloud Atlas” earlier this year, the film is a wonder to behold. The cinematography, art direction and visual effects create a stunning tapestry which is beautiful, startling, awe-inspiring and sometimes all three at once. The trailer for the film gives away some of the best shots, but there are many more amazing moments in the film that are a feast for the eyes.

The other thing I liked most about film was the back-story of the young hero. The first 30 to 45 minutes of the film are fascinating as we watch this boy develop his understanding of the world and of his personal faith. In fact, this part of the film was so compelling, I was almost disappointed when the film shifted to a story of survival.

Which brings me to my third point, as much as I liked “Life of Pi,” I felt the film dragged a little in the middle. Or perhaps, I grew weary of the sea adventure. Much like I wrote earlier this year of “Skyfall,” for me the first and last half hours of “Pi” are much more appealing than the middle. I especially did not care for the episode on the island. Though at first I welcomed it because it got the hero off the raft and boat.

I should probably confess, I have not read the book. I know people who have and thoroughly enjoyed it. Seeing the movie made me want to read the book, which, as I have said before, I think is high praise of any film.  

And again, I did not dislike “Pi.” I think it will garner many Oscar nominations in the technical categories, for the music and possibly for direction. And with the Academy’s rules allowing up to 10 Best Picture nominees, it will likely make the list.

If it were to win, however, it would be robbing several better films of the big prize on Oscar night.    

 

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 12, 2014

  • Brent Laurenz If you want to vote in primary, you need to register to vote now

    RALEIGH – North Carolina voters will head to the polls on May 6 this year to cast ballots in important primary elections across the state.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scott Mooneyham Heeding the voter fraud call in N.C.

    RALEIGH – Legislators found the findings outrageous.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Roots

    I took a few minutes over the weekend to enjoy our yard and the arrival of spring. There seems to be so much work that needs to be done, it is hard to decide what to do first. I am excited that I got to run my tiller through the garden. I didn’t go very deep, but I did at least break up the soil. I have a couple of raised beds and the soil in them was in very good shape. I didn’t plant my peas and now after the big rain we got on Monday I realize that I missed a window of opportunity.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season

    My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

    April 11, 2014

  • Is a paleo vegetarian diet possible?

    Research shows most people can follow a regimented eating plan for a short time. That's not the challenge. The challenge is finding a healthful eating plan you can follow day after day and achieve your long-term health goals. At this point, it doesn't appear that the paleo eating plan meets these objectives for most people.

    April 10, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 2.16.35 PM.png Are Americans smart to stop drinking diet sodas?

    Recent data from Beverage Digest suggest many are cutting back on diet sodas. Consumption of diet sodas fell more than that of sugary sodas in 2013. This raises two questions: Why is total consumption declining, and is drinking diet soda harmful to health?

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • To get quality care, it helps to be the right kind of patient

    I am a family physician. Sometimes I must step out of the comfort of my clinical role and into that of patient or family caregiver. Generally, these trips to the other side of the exam table inspire a fair amount of anxiety.

    April 10, 2014

  • Hospice of Stanly County should be the one we support

    Regarding your recent article about Community Hospice relocating its offices from one location in Troy to another, let me point out a few things.

    April 10, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content