Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Adaptation Angst: Life of Pi

Guest blogger and partner-in-crime Nat alerted me to this footage from the upcoming film adaptation of Yann Martel's genius novel Life of Pi. To give too much of the plot away would be an epic crime, but if you keep the words "memory", "promiscuous spirituality"; "shipwreck", and "big-ass tiger" in mind, you should have a sense of how wonderful, in the sense of full of wonder, this novel is. If you lack the energy to click, here is the clip embedded:

My angst level was CONSIDERABLY lowered once Ang Lee, whose name will get my ass into any theatre seat, replaced M. Night "the grass is mad at you so outrun the wind" Shyamalan as director. At one time Alfonso "has the artistic seriousness but not the whimsy" Cuaron was also attached. However, as much as I trust Lee, coming off a conference in which his "failed" adaptation of The Incredible Hulk was much discussed, I do agree that his strengths lie in the investigation of the self's relationship to a social stystem that is highly structured in some way antithetical to freedom (see Sense and Sensibility; The Ice Storm; Lust,Caution, and even Ride with the Devil). It is not immediately apparent to me that Life of Pi fits neatly into this paradigm (correct me if I'm wrong, any other fans of the book--it's been a while since I read it). Also, for reasons that are entirely personal, it makes my ass twitch that Tobey Maguire is playing Martel in the film.

According to Nat, we won't be getting a conventional preview anytime soon, but rather these snatches of action. Though I was initially resistant to that, I actually think that giving us fragments of the film and asking us to piece them together might be a nice entre into the way memory and narration work in the novel. This book managed to make a devoted postmodernist (Nat) and a fervent modernist (me) both fall in love, and I have reasonably high hopes that Ang Lee can give us a film that will do the same.

Angst level: 4

1 comment:

  1. Jean-Pierre Jeunet was the first attached I believe. I heard his departure from the project was because his budget was rejected - from there he said no thanks.