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Director Ang Lee takes on the 'unfilmable' 'Life of Pi': movie review (+video)

Life of Pi: One of the challenges was preventing the leading man from being eaten by a tiger. Fortunately, this movie adaption fares better than the 'unfilmable' Clout Atlas.

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Published in 2001, Yann Martel’s Booker Prize-winning novel “Life of Pi” was instantly deemed unfilmable. And so, like that other “unfilmable” novel, “Cloud Atlas,” it has, of course, been turned into a movie – with rather happier results.

The reason for the trepidation is obvious: Much of the action takes place on a 27-foot lifeboat inhabited by a teenage Indian boy and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Since, as one of the film’s producers has put it, they didn’t want their leading man eaten during production, a team of CGI wizards have fashioned what must be the most realistic computer-generated animal ever seen.

Ang Lee, directing from a script by David Magee, is extraordinarily versatile. “The Ice Storm,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “The Hulk,” “Brokeback Mountain” – the only common linkages here are Lee’s contemplative sensibility. In that sense, the 3-D “Life of Pi” isn’t all that much of a leap for Lee, except technologically.

There’s plenty of downtime aboard that raft in which to dramatize the meaning of life, not to mention how to avoid becoming tiger bait.

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