Next week’s Cloud Atlas is based on a novel that was long-considered ‘unfilmable,’ due to its dense structure and sprawling timeline. Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is another fast-approaching movie based on a book that does not easily lend itself to a cinematic interpretation, but for different reasons; namely, most of Yann Martel’s award-winning source material revolves around a teenager and tiger stuck together on a crumbling raft in the middle of the ocean.
Several noteworthy filmmakers were, at different points in time, attached to take on the project over the past decade (including Alfonso Cuarón, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and M. Night Shyamalan), but Lee’s the only one to follow through. Lee’s decision to assemble a purely international cast should please Life of Pi purists; however, his choice to shoot the film with 3D cameras might inspire more caution than joy.
In a new featurette on Life of Pi, Lee explains that he felt the book (which Mann admits he thought was unfilmable while writing it) is so grand in scope and full of wondrous imagery that the film adaptation literally needed ‘another dimension’ in order to fully convey all that on the big screen. Hence, Lee collaborated with such people as Oscar-nominated cinematographer Claudio Miranda (TRON: Legacy) and stereoscopic compositor Tara Marie Jacobson (Transformers: Dark of the Moon), in order to take full advantage of the 3D technology.
The results, as teased in trailer footage, are something to admire, all the more so when viewed in 3D up on the big screen. Life of Pi could follow in the footsteps of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, serving as an example of how a talented storyteller can use the 3D format to genuinely enhance the viewing experience (Life of Pi will hit theaters almost exactly one year after Hugo was released – coincidence?).
Here is an official synopsis for Life of Pi:
Director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) creates a groundbreaking movie event about a young man who survives a tragic disaster at sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While marooned on a lifeboat, he forms an amazing and unexpected connection with the ship’s only other survivor — a fearsome Bengal tiger.
The cast includes newcomer Suraj Sharma, Adil Hussain, Tabu, Irrfan Khan (The Amazing Spider-Man), and Rafe Spall (Prometheus). Mann’s source novel was adapted by Oscar-nominee David Magee (Finding Neverland, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day).
Look for Life of Pi in U.S. theaters on November 21st, 2012.