Escape to the Movies: Life of Pi

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Hmm... I adored Silver Lining's Playbook. The screenplay was so damn good. It's in my Top 3 films of the year. I'm shocked that Bob would call it a piece of s*%t.

ElektroNeko:
Don't watch this review when you're hungry...

Too bad that this movie seems to be trying to hard to be interesting, while it's already interesting. It sounds really insecure...

i would be insecure to if the two of the most popular kids in entertainment high this year had guys with metal suits, he didn't come prepared, he thinks he looks like a dork.

Bob's invoking of the QUIRCKY got me thinking of how Yahtzee described Suda51 and his various works. I'm also reminded of what a Doctor Who enemy, the self-proclaimed Dream Lord, said of The Doctor, "If you had any more tawdry quirks, you could open up a tawdry quirk shop!" And it sounds like Pi could start a franchise of those.

I'll have to see this for myself to see what the twist is exactly saying since I'm getting the feeling that atheists are getting butthurt over the mere mention of god in what they perceive to be a positive light when it seems like the movie is trying to covey a much deeper meaning than "god is good so believe!"

Saying to believe in god simply because it's nicer doesn't sound too much like an endorsement, if anything it seems like the movie is trying to explain to people that this is why they choose to believe in god and they don't realize it.

But then I assume atheists are giving the perceived "pro god" aspect of the movie flack because of how wondrous and positive the animal story is. To me this is more of a statement of "life is what we make it", which again is a much deeper concept than what Bob is making it out to be.

Although if the whole movie really does sound like it's narrated by Judy then I may end up wanting to pour hot tar down my ear canal as well.

Interesting that Bob didn't take such a hostile stance when discussing the very similar ideas explored by CS Lewis. Bob continues to be good at dredging up and presenting information but a weird emotional wreck once he strays too far into personal opinion. It's starting to really fascinate me.

Silk_Sk:
The other half of that argument is that if God did not exist then it wouldn't be necessary for us to be uplifted in the first place.

... what does that even mean?

Hammartroll:
I'll have to see this for myself to see what the twist is exactly saying since I'm getting the feeling that atheists are getting butthurt over the mere mention of god in what they perceive to be a positive light when it seems like the movie is trying to covey a much deeper meaning than "god is good so believe!"

Saying to believe in god simply because it's nicer doesn't sound too much like an endorsement, if anything it seems like the movie is trying to explain to people that this is why they choose to believe in god and they don't realize it.

But then I assume atheists are giving the perceived "pro god" aspect of the movie flack because of how wondrous and positive the animal story is. To me this is more of a statement of "life is what we make it", which again is a much deeper concept than what Bob is making it out to be.

Although if the whole movie really does sound like it's narrated by Judy then I may end up wanting to pour hot tar down my ear canal as well.

If you read through the comment section, you'll find plenty of atheists (like me) who call bullshit on his conclusions. I'm putting this away in that container where I put his 'PC Gaming is Dead' episode.

Yeah... he can get annoyingly preachy at times, and irrationally so.

Remember back in the day when audiences decided if characters were interesting and quirky rather than the movie deciding for us who the interesting and quirky ones were? I miss those days.

I'm an atheist and really didn't have a problem with the twist or the message. If people want to believe in a deity because the notion is more comforting to them then that's fine with me, I don't begrudge them that.

I always thought this story was more of a "Lady and the Tiger" thing more than an argument for a god. Because really, when you boil it all down that's really the only message of value you could get out of such a thing.

hentropy:

dubious_wolf:
soooo...
Isn't this based on a book?
Is the book this bad? why is this on high school reading lists and why are we making school kids read that?

Because pushing religion on youngsters is okay so long as you do it in a covert, non-denominational manner. Still better than Catcher in the Rye, though.

Yeeeees. God that book was boring.
I tried to read it just for fun. made it through 3 pages.

I think I might be a Pie. I love telling stories about myself, and I feel like I focus a lot on tailoring my image and my surrounds (not so much to beg questions about stories though).

Mezmer:
A shitty allegory for why people should believe in God? Yup, gonna pass on that one, thanks.

Sounds more like its arguing why you would as opposed to why you should.

Makes my choice to go and see Skyfall instead that much easier though.

I had worried that this movie would have suffered in a similar fashion to the film adaptation of The Road, as the road was entirely about mood and atmosphere, which was difficult to convey in the movie in an appropriate fashion. And I was correct. The book itself is interesting (well, sort of) because of the amount of time Yann Martel spends on developing Pi's character in the respect to his situation. This is all well and good for the book since the book can be allowed to linger upon things like setting and imagery in order to the develop the story. The same can't be said for the movie. I mean, sure, it has a narrative structure that could fill screen-time, but when you really look at it, not that much is happening between the ship sinking and Pi's rescue near the end of the novel. Sure, stuff "happens", like the flying fish, and totally-not-a-reference-to-Dagon-meerkat island, but its all governed by Pi's reflection on the events, meaning a great deal of the space would have had to have been filled by the character's dialogue.

I typically enjoy Bob's reviews, but sometimes he lets his personal views blind him to the realities of a given work, and in this case I have to question if he even knows that this movie was based off of a book - especially given his critiques of "quirkiness", which all sound like critiques of poorly-adapted sections of the book (at least from the outside looking in).

I can't speak for the movie, as I haven't seen it yet, but the Life Of Pi (as a book) isn't any more anti-atheist than it is anti-religious. Pi believing in three religions for instance is a very sound critique of the ways religious organizations fight one another - his three religious teachers initially almost come to blows, and they never quite accept Pi's religious beliefs (a criticism about how new beliefs aren't typically accepted by religions and have to fight to gain acceptance).

To me, the book is less a lecture about beliefs than it is a series of questions about beliefs hidden in an interesting survival story. I don't know how well the movie translates all that, I suppose I'll have to see it at some point, but if it winds up being a pretty decent translation I'll be annoyed that Bob threw it under the bus under the assumption that his religious opinion/his intelligence was being insulted in some fashion.

Guy on a raft learns to deal with Tiger...

"GOD!"

What... THE...F-

---

Okay religions... you've had your fun, but the buck stops here.

I do NOT! What to be part of any religion that has to bend logic that far.

And I certainly don't want one as Dogmatic as the ones currently in existence!

I am the complete Antithesis of Dogma, and I personally believe that the only way to have truly good people is to reject Dogma and find your own way.

The Abrahamic religions act all freaking Lawful good, but really, they're more concerned for their dogma than for the good of the people. They aren't Good, they are Neutral at best, and are beings of pure dogmatic interference... and not even smart dogma.

I would only worship a god that believed that freedom and kindness are more important than dogma. And so far, no such being has even been mentioned... and even if it had been, there would have to be some serious proof in their existance before I would believe in them.

---

P.S. I somehow do not think its inconceivable to worship something and yet not believe it exists. I do it all the time actually; but I know its ultimately pointless. Fun, but pointless.

All hail Rainbow Dash!

I feel like some satire was missed with the regular masses prefering a more up-lifting feel good story than a darker more introspective piece, like how RE's zombie kill fest was more popular than Silent Hill's journey to find the truth.

And in the middle of the review I'm reminded of THIS:

Nice rundown as always Bob.

AxelxGabriel:

leviadragon99:

It's not the religious message, it's that the religious message was dumb.

And how exactly was it dumb?

In that it promoted religion on the grounds of "well it's more comforting that way" as opposed to any sort of justification based on the validity of the values emphasized by this or that religion(s) or usefullness to society or anything close to being literally correct in its assesment of how the universe came to be and works.

Living in blissfull, willfull ignorance because it's easier that way isn't something to endorse, indeed it's more of an indictment of the intellectual and spiritual cowardliness of so many people, wanting/needing to believe in a higher power to make the world seem less scary and unfair, to try and give it all meaning, which would have unfortunate implications if you really think about it, that people who have bad things happen to them somehow invariably deserve it, either due to some nebulous wrongdoing on their part or as some assinine "test"

If you must believe in religion, do so because you truly believe the values it promotes, or heck, even if you truly believe it to be literally true, don't take it as the spiritual easy way out and security blanket.

A lot of forum heat about the atheism. If you've never heard it, I recommend the song "Here and Now" by Tom Smith. The funny part is, I'm not an atheist and I still like it cause he says in the spoken bit "If there's a God your purpose is to live, to help people, to make the world a better place... AND IF THERE'S NOT A GOD, your purpose is to live, to help people, to make the world a better place..."

Kinda puts it back in perspective.

leviadragon99:
If you must believe in religion, do so because you truly believe the values it promotes, or heck, even if you truly believe it to be literally true, don't take it as the spiritual easy way out and security blanket.

*Mad theist props*

That said, I'm kind of disappointed that the movie with such a directly plugged message. In the book, it really was more of an agnostic thing, or it was for me. To be blunt, I didn't trust Pi enough to believe him when he said he was lying.

>http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0179.html

I listened in for the spoiler and now that I'm aware of this twist ending I'm fucking well glad I've had it spoiled for me before I considered sitting through the whole bloody thing just to be met with that. As you may have guessed I'm an atheist and while I've got no problem with people exploring spirituality; that line of reasoning for doing so sets a dangerous precedent and infuriates me to no end. I spent the last 5 minutes literally just pacing around the room like my own personal angry dome over the fact that this kind of shit is being damn near universally lauded by critics and/or held up as any kind of sound rationale to vindicate their belief in a deity(s). The line about Doug's sister also really cracked me up, which is weird seeing as I rarely ever saw that show as a kid. But I guess that self-infatuated oh so cultured and profound artiste archetype is common enough in animation/fiction in general that you can extrapolate exactly what kind of character you're going to get simply by the fact that they're un-ironically sporting a beret. I actually really liked Garden State so perhaps I won't be quite so harsh on Silver Lining Playbook (no particular burgeoning desire to see it, but may look out for it if it comes up) even if I get where his issues are coming from. I don't know a great deal about Lincoln but the fact that Daniel Day-Lewis is in the title role is a huge incentive for me to see in and of itself. :D But anyway, I shan't be seeing Life of Pi and I'm now really glad in retrospect that I never picked the book up back when I was doing A-Level English Literature.

(Side note: I'll spoiler this post if need be, but I'm relatively sure I didn't inadvertently give anything away here.)

Wait wait wait.
Do they actually pronounce Pi's full name Pie-seen in the movie or was that just Movie Bob screwing up?
It's pee-seen. (Piscine, aka French for swimming pool) The kids even make a bunch of pee jokes (in the novel at least). Kinda hard to miss.

Anyway, I loved the novel despite being an atheist, so unless Ang Lee really overplayed the whole religious aspect, I don't see it as a negative. To me this is more like a eulogy of the suspension of disbelief. If it applies to God it also applies to any other fiction.

leviadragon99:

In that it promoted religion on the grounds of "well it's more comforting that way" as opposed to any sort of justification based on the validity of the values emphasized by this or that religion(s) or usefullness to society or anything close to being literally correct in its assesment of how the universe came to be and works.

Living in blissfull, willfull ignorance because it's easier that way isn't something to endorse, indeed it's more of an indictment of the intellectual and spiritual cowardliness of so many people, wanting/needing to believe in a higher power to make the world seem less scary and unfair, to try and give it all meaning, which would have unfortunate implications if you really think about it, that people who have bad things happen to them somehow invariably deserve it, either due to some nebulous wrongdoing on their part or as some assinine "test"

If you must believe in religion, do so because you truly believe the values it promotes, or heck, even if you truly believe it to be literally true, don't take it as the spiritual easy way out and security blanket.

That wasn't the point that the book was making and i think Bob missed this as well.

See, in the book originally, there was ZERO proof for either story that Pi gave the police at the end for what happened to him on the boat. Neither story, the one with the tiger and the one with the humans could be proven 100% happened. And Pi never said which one was ultimately true or that believing either story was automatically right or wrong.

So with no proof of either story, you'd have no choice but to just pick a story that you wish. But from how I see it, if you feel you automatically go for the more "realistic and horrifying story" just because it's more realistic, then you have to accept the fact that you are a very jaded and cynical person who has no faith in mankind at all.

See, it's not "God" that ever did anything bad to people due to religion in the past. It's always been Man. We're always quick to blame God, but it's always been man who did horrible things in the name of God. There is corruption and greed in other legitimate institutions, but you blame the men, not the institution itself.

I actually read the book, and I learned that the message isn't about believing in God. It's just about having faith that maybe, JUST maybe the world at large and mankind can be better people.

TheTygre:

leviadragon99:
If you must believe in religion, do so because you truly believe the values it promotes, or heck, even if you truly believe it to be literally true, don't take it as the spiritual easy way out and security blanket.

*Mad theist props*

That said, I'm kind of disappointed that the movie with such a directly plugged message. In the book, it really was more of an agnostic thing, or it was for me. To be blunt, I didn't trust Pi enough to believe him when he said he was lying.

>http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0179.html

I offer my most gracious thanks for the complement I have been given. (bows)

Apparently the mods didn't care about my one-word thank-you though, (shrug) guess they can take context into account.

AxelxGabriel:

That wasn't the point that the book was making and i think Bob missed this as well.

See, in the book originally, there was ZERO proof for either story that Pi gave the police at the end for what happened to him on the boat. Neither story, the one with the tiger and the one with the humans could be proven 100% happened. And Pi never said which one was ultimately true or that believing either story was automatically right or wrong.

So with no proof of either story, you'd have no choice but to just pick a story that you wish. But from how I see it, if you feel you automatically go for the more "realistic and horrifying story" just because it's more realistic, then you have to accept the fact that you are a very jaded and cynical person who has no faith in mankind at all.

See, it's not "God" that ever did anything bad to people due to religion in the past. It's always been Man. We're always quick to blame God, but it's always been man who did horrible things in the name of God. There is corruption and greed in other legitimate institutions, but you blame the men, not the institution itself.

I actually read the book, and I learned that the message isn't about believing in God. It's just about having faith that maybe, JUST maybe the world at large and mankind can be better people.

We're not discussing the merits of the book and it's message, more what it became in the film adaption which needs to be able to stand on it's own, and it didn't.

Having said that, I do like the message the book made as you interpreted it, though not having read the book myself I can't comment further on how accurate your interpretation was. If there's just people and no god as I believe, we all have to try to be better and believe that we can be, not relying on excuses like god for poor behavior, having said that, the realistic approach based on past evidence suggests we're not there yet, and thus that the darker version would sadly be more likely, I'd take both with a grain of salt and assume some unknown third option is the most likely of all though. we CAN be better but it's not cynical to be aware of the fact that some people aren't so good.

leviadragon99:

We're not discussing the merits of the book and it's message, more what it became in the film adaption which needs to be able to stand on it's own, and it didn't.

Having said that, I do like the message the book made as you interpreted it, though not having read the book myself I can't comment further on how accurate your interpretation was. If there's just people and no god as I believe, we all have to try to be better and believe that we can be, not relying on excuses like god for poor behavior, having said that, the realistic approach based on past evidence suggests we're not there yet, and thus that the darker version would sadly be more likely, I'd take both with a grain of salt and assume some unknown third option is the most likely of all though. we CAN be better but it's not cynical to be aware of the fact that some people aren't so good.

See but the problem is, people like you (Im saying LIKE you, not you personally) can easily judge us people who have faith as being stupid, naive, or insane. That it's impossible that miracles can honestly happen in the world (Not religious or god-related miracles, just miracles that can just seem to be beyond your comprehension.

It's not cynical to know that some people are just bad, but it is cynical to say that we are all inherently bad and there's nothing we can do about it. Just because the horrible version is more likely, doesn't mean the fantastic version of the story was impossible.

This was funny :P

Pi is just 'so ****ing Quirky!' - I lol'd at that bit.

Also, Atheists are going to go to town on this...they get more riled up on this stuff than they should. Atheists take the bible more literally than Christians do (well definitely more than I do and I am a Christian). To me the Bible is just a collection of stories about morals (good and bad and all that shit).

leviadragon99:

TheTygre:

leviadragon99:
If you must believe in religion, do so because you truly believe the values it promotes, or heck, even if you truly believe it to be literally true, don't take it as the spiritual easy way out and security blanket.

*Mad theist props*

That said, I'm kind of disappointed that the movie with such a directly plugged message. In the book, it really was more of an agnostic thing, or it was for me. To be blunt, I didn't trust Pi enough to believe him when he said he was lying.

>http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0179.html

Danke.

You might want to add more to that so that the mods dont jump down your throat.

So, as always the book is better than the movie? It's about what I figured. I enjoyed the book but when I first heard of the movie I figured there was no way it'd translate well to another medium. There's far too much of Pi simply talking about his thoughts or having an inner monologue to ever have that work out in a primarily visual medium. That works just fine in text, but it definitely doesn't in film.

For anyone interested in the premise, though, I'd recommend the book. It seems to have a lot of little important details changed that make it much better than the movie seems to be from Bob's review. And the "twist" is delivered differently in the book and it's done in a way that...well, doesn't really preach anything.

AAAAAND Bob and the antitheists around here missed the point. Shocker.

@Review: I figured as much. It was a book that only worked because it was a book.

@Quirky: Bob, you do realize that every Tuesday the Escapist has a video in which you tell us about how your zany/relevant/weird/silly hobby or obsession is so awesome, right? Pot, kettle, et cetera.

Now then, Life of Pi. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS CLANG CLANG whatever.

Life of Pi was a book about the importance of making a choice, regardless of whether that choice would be the correct one in the end. Essentially, we all have a choice in how we choose that which is ultimately unknowable (a la the veracity of Pi's castaway story).

There is the side which is ultimately a little more uplifting. The side which makes you feel a little better about the coming dark in your final moments. The one that aids in the perception of a world that is just a little bit more manageable, a little bit more hopeful. You can choose to believe that not everything in the world unfolds in the most logical, practical way. That maybe things just aren't explainable sometimes. That maybe somewhere out there is something that is making sure everything turns out OK in the end. The downside being that anyone who disagrees is going to casually call you a dumbass on every internet board in existence, and also the possibility (probability, even) that you will one day be proven wrong.

Then there's the other side. The "right" side. Everything is explainable. Pi could never have survived that long on a boat with an actual tiger because, well, hungry tiger. There is no God because the universe as explained by the sciences has no need of one. The upside here is obvious: You're right. You'll always have that. No-one can prove you wrong because your policy is to believe that which has been proven correct. The downside is that sometimes being alone or sick or hurt or about to cease to be can be damn depressing. Sure, it often isn't, and being right is fun, but a lot of people like to think there's more out there. Also, the other choice has assholes who will call this group a bunch of idiots. Assholes are kind of everywhere.

So, make a choice. That's all the book is saying. Make a choice, one way or the other. Don't sit on the fence until one side "wins," because neither side ever will. Just make a choice, and live the happiest and most harmonious life you can regardless of which way you believe in the end. Because the choice doesn't matter, remember? We need to know how the ship sank, and Pi's story has no bearing on that at all. But if you never decide whether it was people or animals on that lifeboat, it'll be a hell of a lot better to figure out why the ship sank.

As for why Pi is multi-religious:
Most people who believe in God(s) don't fit completely into one religion. Hell, no independent thinker who believes does. We all realize that the Bible is the re-re-re-re-written re-translation of a bunch of hearsay and legends that had been running around as an oral history for quite some time by the time it was recorded. Thus, most believers tend to stay away from the conservative extremes of their given religion and migrate toward a more universal view. It's pretty much the only way to come up with satisfying answers for the major questions asked of spirituality. Pi is a Muslim, a Christian, and a Hindu because those three religions mesh together well. They, like most major religions, operate on the basic principle of "don't be a dick." It's pretty much exactly like Ethics. Anyone who studies ethics knows that very few people operate strictly under a single ethical ideal. This is because those ideals each have their own weaknesses, and living by one ideal exclusively exacerbates those weaknesses. Yet, despite not living under a specific ethical code, most people have a strong sense of what is ethical and what is not. In the same way, religious extremists amplify the weaknesses of their dogma. Most religious people are not extremists, yet we have a strong sense of what we believe and why we believe it.

...wow. This sounds like the second stupidest, most treacly, glurgery, pile of lies and disrespect for it's own subject matter and the intelligence of it's audience I've ever heard about.

ZexionSephiroth:
And I certainly don't want one as Dogmatic as the ones currently in existence!

I am the complete Antithesis of Dogma, and I personally believe that the only way to have truly good people is to reject Dogma and find your own way.

I would only worship a god that believed that freedom and kindness are more important than dogma. And so far, no such being has even been mentioned... and even if it had been, there would have to be some serious proof in their existance before I would believe in them.

....so in other words, you and Pi would get along. These snips of your post are pretty close to exactly what Pi is all about. That "collecting religions" thing Bob was frothing at the mouth over was just Pi choosing to take the best aspects of several religions and believe what he wants of them, as many spiritual people do. There's a difference between dogmatism and spirituality: Pi, at least in the books and I would assume in the movie, is complete spirituality with zero belief in or respect for dogma. He rejects dogma, if I remember correctly he's more of a believer than a worshipper, and the presence he believes in is a kind guy who believes in freedom.

And this...

ZexionSephiroth:
P.S. I somehow do not think its inconceivable to worship something and yet not believe it exists. I do it all the time actually; but I know its ultimately pointless. Fun, but pointless.

Is literally the point of the ENTIRE movie. That's its message. Literally. This is what Pi says at the end when he reveals the journey was just him and some other humans starving until they all killed each other then starving some more. He specifically says "You can choose whether you believe in the tiger story or the murderstory, I pick the tiger story because it at leas makes me feel better." Not because it is literally true.

I'm an Atheist, but I must point out...

Way back when, when Bob reviewed The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader much issue was made of the increasingly heavy religious undercurrent in the Narnia series, both as books and films. However, it was Bob himself who said he didn't find it bothersome at all precisely because the attitude of presenting religion more as a 'fairy-tale but with a serious moral message' rather than 'dogma that must be completely submitted to in all aspects lest ye be punished' was something that he found far more appealing than much of organised religion in itself.

Why is Life of Pi so different?

Eh, I'm one of those people that read the book and didn't like it, so I'd only be going for the visuals if I were to see it and to ruin the plot for everyone else.

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