Features / Film Reviews

Life of Pi Blu-ray review from ZSL London Zoo… with tigers!

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There’s nothing quite like some creative invention for screenings and this one was special to celebrate the Blu-ray and DVD release of LIFE OF PI with the addition of real Tigers. Over the course of the week, ZSL London Zoo have been hosting an outdoor screening of the film that won Ang Lee his ‘Best Director‘ Academy Award in a perfect apt setting.

The evening began in the Spring sunshine over Regent’s Park as we were introduced with a smile and either a glass of Champagne or – as I chose – the suitably named Tiger Beer. From there, we were given the freedom to explore their astonishing brand-new Tiger Territory that’s home to their endangered Sumatran Tiger’s Melati and Jae Jae. The space and set-up is actually somewhat inspiring and our host Nadine gave a great talk about the Sumatran Tiger’s history and dwindling numbers in the wild. She also spoke of how Melati (the female of the pair) has recently been introduced to newcomer Jae Jae and now they’re hoping for the sound of tiny paws in the near future.We were also lucky enough to watch the large male Tiger (Jae Jae) parade around his new home, proudly showing off and making those big cat noises you know so well from your domestic-related feline.

As much as I’d love to talk about Tigers for as long as possible, we were also there for an outdoor cinema screening of LIFE OF PI, that’s out on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download this week. However, if you’re looking for another fix of the big cats, firstly get over to their site online and then follow it with a visit to the rewarding Tiger Territory by clicking here!

The film LIFE OF PI has been adapted from Yann Martel’s best-selling book by David Magee for the big screen. It follows a moment in the life of 16-year old Piscine Molitor Patel, or Pi for short, as he and his family start their journey of immigration from Pondicherry in India to Canada for a better life. Quite disastrously, as they sail on the Pacific aboard the cargo ship Tsimtsum, it hits a mighty storm and sinks with only Pi surviving…along with a Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker. As they drift on the ocean, Pi has to find a way to not survive himself but also decide whether to share a large boat with a Tiger or do what’s necessary to live.

LIFE OF PI is a journey on many levels, and without wanting to sound too cliched, it’s more than just one of self-discovery. The film, like the book, asks you to question what you believe about spirituality and belief but never takes on the role of preacher and this is what make it work. You won’t have seen anything like this before and this is just another reason to celebrate this amazing achievement of filmmaking. For the Bengal Tiger, Richard Parker, director Ang Lee has mixed up CGI and animatronics and it looks effortlessly perfect, so much so you just won’t even question the metaphorical or literal fight to survive in terms of how something appears, because you’re dragged into the story and will believe you’re watching this as part of reality.

So, if you’re open to exploring the human spirit, then LIFE OF PI will be the boat for you to stowaway on and Ang Lee brings Yann Martel’s visionary epic to life. It’s a thrilling adventure, there’s quite simply awe-inspiring visuals (watch it in the dark for a full, encapsulating experience) and newcomer Suraj Sharma is a revelation in the lead role of Pi. It’s an incredible adventure and an unforgettable film and you know, I think London may have just rivaled the Paris boat screening for invention this time.

Help save the Tigers by donating here and also here’s some shots from the event, and more in the gallery!

All Photography by Dan Bullock, thanks to ZSL London Zoo.

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