Saturday, September 29, 2012

Life Of Pi - Preview of Ang Lee's first 3D Film

A couple of days ago, Ang Lee unveiled his new film Life of Pi at the New York Film Festival. Though the film's not quite finished (Lee has another fortnight of tweaks to go, apparently) it's amazing that a version of it exists at all. There's an old Hollywood adage, that says "never make a movie about kids, animals or water," yet Ang Lee has somehow managed to make a film about all three. If an 'unfilmable' novel weren't challenge enough for him, Life Of Pi is also Lee's first 3D film. What can we expect from Ang Lee's usage of 3D?

Well, for one thing, the film itself is going to be painterly. If the trailer's anything to go by, the film is a fifty-fifty mixture of real-world footage and digitally-created backdrops. Life Of Pi's crouching tiger is a CGI construction too, though computer-assisted characters have come a long way since Ang Lee attempted one in 2003's Hulk. In sum, with all this digital information available to be fed into the 3D footage, you can be assured that pixels will be where they need to be to make your eye at ease throughout the film. /Film's positive review of the film says: "the 3D enhances the experience by replicating the expansiveness of the ocean — breadth and height may be constrained by the edges of the screen, but the depth seems to stretch out indefinitely"

Ang Lee filmed Life Of Pi in native 3D, so you're not going to be seeing much post-converted footage in the film. It's interesting to see who has the clout to film in this way amongst the Hollywood "A-list" directors. In 2012 we'll have seen native 3D films from the likes of Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, Peter Jackson, and Ang Lee. Unlike his peers, Lee's gone for a very impressionistic usage of 3D. Given the allegories that are built into the story's narrative, and the various flash-backs and flash-forwards, this seems appropriate.

So, what are critics saying about the film? Well, The Chicago Tribune suggests that the impressionism becomes nothing more than "pantheistic fairy dust." The website Film School Rejects is more glowing, "It’s a powerful film with a moving performance by Suraj Sharma and one of the finest examples of 3D." Variety was less enthused, but suggested that Lee's team summoned "the most advanced digital filmmaking technology to deliver the most old-fashioned kind of audience satisfaction."

We here at 3Defence can't wait to review it ourselves, so stay tuned for our wrap-up that will inevitably ask, "How Good Is The 3D In Life Of Pi?" You can read other similar reviews here.


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