Life Of Pi 3D

Featured In Issue 176, April/May 2013

3D Picture5+
WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
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Emotional thematic content throughout, some scary action sequences and peril
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Ang Lee
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 7.1
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Based on the acclaimed novel from Yann Martel, Life Of Pi is a magical adventure of hope, wonder, survival, and the power of the human spirit. The story follows Pi Patel, a young man on a fateful voyage who, after a spectacular disaster, is marooned on a lifeboat with the only other survivor, a fearsome 450-pound Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker. Hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery, Pi and his majestic companion make an amazing and unexpected connection. (Gary Reber)

Special features include five deleted scenes playable in either 3D or 2D (HD 13:16); two VFX Progressions playable in either 3D or 2D (HD 02:10); three featurettes: A Fimmaker's Epic Journey in four parts (HD 63:29), A Remarkable Vision (HD 19:35), and Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright (HD 08:35); a gallery; storyboards; the theatrical trailer; BD-Live functionality; and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 1.85:1 1080p MVC picture was photographed with Cameron Pace Group 3D Technology and the 3D experience is magnificent! Shot digitally with Arri Alexa cameras, the picture is extremely pristine, which enhances the sense of realism. Claudio Miranda's cinematography is spectacular, with a perfect blend of composition, lighting, and execution in matter of sharpness and soft focus. Such focus nuance and attention to detail is particularly noticed throughout the progression of Pi's skin texture in the life boat with the tiger, and during the cargo ship's sinking scene. The color is absolutely natural throughout and, at times, hues are strongly saturated with rich and warm tones. Never oversaturated, the colors are perfectly balanced. Contrast is excellent, with deep blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Resolution is finely executed with impressive clarity. The use of 3D is extremely effective and impactful, providing a sense of dimensional scale and space that just is not possible in 2D. The sense of depth enhances the natural setting and the characters interacting with the boat and the ocean, and other environments. Numerous showpiece moments provide impressive 3D reference experiences. Yet Ang Lee and his team have managed to reframe of exaggeration, keeping everything naturally composed in depth and perspective. There are no crosstalk ghosting artifacts to be seen. The 3D visual element quality is practically indistinguishable from the 2D version, but definitely preferred. This is simply a first-class, reference-quality native 3D visual experience that emotionally connects with absolute realism throughout. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 7.1-channel holosonic® soundtrack really is a showcase during the cargo ship sinking scene and the aftermath of the tragedy at sea, with a perfect mixture of intense and nuanced, subtle sonics. The sound of pounding swells and rain during the furious storm is absolutely convincing and at reference level is quite emotionally engaging. This is the part where low-frequency energy is the greatest, with sub-25 Hz bass extension that is powerful and deep. The scene with the flying fish is another sonically spectacular moment, with a strong enveloping soundfield presence and sound effect elements reflecting the excited movement of Pi and the tiger in the life boat with flying fish crossing their path. As with the sinking cargo ship scene, this scene delivers an aggressive directionalized surround experience. Atmospherics are nicely captured and often nuanced with soft backgrounds to enhance the realism of one man within nature's vast expanse. Mychael Danna's Academy Award®-winning orchestral and choral score effectively mixes Indian instrumentation with western orchestration, and provides the transitions and background support for Pi's reflections on life. The music provides another element of surround envelopment. Pi's dialogue is consistently natural, well recorded, and nicely integrated spatially. The added two channels in the 7.1 mix conform to the Dolby® 7.1 theatrical format and provide effective spatial openness and delineation. This is a superb soundtrack that perfectly complements the visually heartening 3D viewing experience. (Gary Reber)