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YMMV / Life of Pi

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Book

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The carnivorous island and why Pi decides to leave. It's more overt in the film but is there in the book; Pi notes that if he had stayed on the island, he and Richard Parker would have died, with full bellies but before their prime, and the island would have eaten them in turn. The question becomes if they would have died too young or if it's a case of We All Die Someday, and Pi would have gotten complacent, refusing to brave the sea again. His braving the sea means he eventually returns to civilization and is able to rebuild his life, but at the cost of losing Richard Parker.
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  • Hard-to-Adapt Work: Life Of Pi is a Defied Trope example. The book was considered "unadaptable" because of the strange narrative, but the film pulled it off to rave reviews, albeit by using enough high quality CGI to bankrupt the animation company.
  • Squick: The descriptions of how the hyena kills the zebra in the book.

Film

  • Acceptable Religious Targets: Pi respects and admires his strictly atheistic teacher, and devoutly practices Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. However, he heaps all of his scorn on agnostics, viewing them as doubters who lack the resolve to pick a side.

  • Award Snub: Suraj Sharma, who played Pi, did not get nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor. This despite the fact that he practically carried the entire film on his shoulders, acting opposite a green screen to convince audiences that he was staring down a tiger, and starved himself and isolated himself from other people to get into character.
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  • Awesome Music: "Pi's Lullaby". Sweet Dreams Fuel incarnate.
  • Epileptic Trees: With how Pi's story is told, this is inevitable.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Irrfan Khan as adult Pi gives a closing monologue about how we spend all of our life learning to say goodbye to those who leave us, whether or not they are human or are our friends. The worst part for Pi is when we are unable to take a moment to do that. It seems fittingly poignant given that Khan developed cancer in 2018 and entered remission, only to die of a colon infection in 2020 within one day of being admitted to a hospital. Many people mourned that they weren't able to say goodbye to him because of the suddenness of his death.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Irrfan Khan plays the adult Pi. This wasn't the only movie in 2012 that Irrfan Khan was in with a character named Richard Parker.
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  • One-Scene Wonder: The Buddhist sailor that comes to comfort the family. He tries to reassure Pi's mother that on the ship, a vegetarian like him counts "gravy" as sauce and not meat, and they can use that loophole. Though the family doesn't try it, they're grateful to him, which makes it more horrifying when in the alternate story, the chef cuts off his leg, waits for him to die, and eats him.
  • Signature Scene: Richard Parker's Establishing Character Moment, where Pi's father scolds Pi for trying to feed a tiger by hand. To demonstrate why this is a bad idea, he ties a goat next to the tiger's enclosure. Pi's father is right; the tiger kills the goat without hesitation.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Despite the film's good reviews, some have taken issue with how the film portrays Pi's alternate interpretation of events in which the animals were all human passengers of the ship. Specifically, the way the film frames it makes it seem as if this alternate version is the true version of the story, whereas the book is more overt in leaving it as deliberately ambiguous as possible.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: For the film, Rhythm & Huesnote  developed some truly phenomenal animation and visual effects, which won them the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

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