Life of Pi appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. While not a killer presentation, the image was usually strong.
Overall definition seemed very good. A few wide shots could be a smidgen soft, but those were minor, infrequent occurrences, as the majority of the flick demonstrated excellent delineation.
I noticed no issues with shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to appear.
Colors acted as a strong aspect of the image. Pi went with a broad, often dazzling palette that the Blu-ray brought to life in stellar fashion. Without question, the hues became the best part of the transfer.
Blacks were dark and deep, but shadows could be a bit thick; some of the nighttime shots – especially on the lifeboat – tended to seem a little tougher to discern than I’d expect. Despite some small distractions, though, the majority of the film came across as well-rendered.
I also felt pleased with the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack. Until the storm that capsizes the freighter, the soundscape remained fairly low-key and emphasized ambience. Once the movie got to the open sea, though, this changed.
The storm sequence provided substantial punch, and the remaining shots on the water demonstrated a lot of life as well; the “attack” of the flying fish really used the speakers well, and other segments were nearly as good.
Audio quality always satisfied. Speech appeared distinctive and natural, with no edginess or other issues. Music seemed lively and full, while effects showed pleasing accuracy and range. Low-end was tight and deep. This was a solid soundtrack.
The disc includes both 2D and 3D versions of Pi. The picture comments above reflect the 2D edition – how does the 3D compare?
Visual quality remains virtually identical. If any variations occur, I can’t see them, as I think the two seem very similar.
Shot native 3D, the stereo presentation adds a lot of depth to the proceedings and creates a fine sense of place. In addition, more than a few “pop out” moments occur as well.
Underwater shots fare particularly nicely, and a scene with flying fish becomes another standout. For that sequence, the aspect ratio constricts to 2.35:1 to let the fish burst out of the frame as well. All in all, the 3D image adds vivacity to the proceedings and becomes the superior way to view the film.
As we shift to extras, we find a few programs, and A Filmmaker’s Epic Journey goes for one hour, three minutes and 29 seconds. It includes comments from director Ang Lee, author Yann Martel, screenwriter David Magee, survival/marine consultant Steve Callahan, film editor Tim Squyres, Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler, casting director Avy Kaufman, yoga instructor Elie Alouf, stunt coordinator Charlie Croughwell, producer David Womack, marine coordinator Rick Hicks, production designer David Gropman, director of photography Claudio Miranda, tiger trainer/consultant Thierry Le Portier, visual effects supervisor Bill Westenhofer, script supervisor Mary Cybulski, composer Mychael Danna, and actor Suraj Sharma.
“Journey” looks at the novel and its adaptation, research and other script subjects, art/previsualization and planning, cast and performances, sets and locations, working with animals, visual effects and shooting 3D, music, and the film’s release.
With more than an hour at its disposal, “Journey” manages good coverage of the movie. We get a nice overview of the significant subjects in this brisk, likable piece.
In the 19-minute, 35-second A Remarkable Vision, we hear from Westenhofer, Squyres, Lee, Sharma, MPC visual effects supervisor Guillaume Rocheron, digital supervisor Jason Bayever, and senior animation supervisor Erik-jan de Boer.
“Vision” looks at the elements that went into the creation of the movie’s visuals, with an emphasis on various effects. The documentary looks at some of these topics, but “Vision” goes into them with more detail.
Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright lasts eight minutes, 35 seconds and provides info from Lee, Le Portier, Squyres, de Boer, Bayever, and Westenhofer. “Bright” acts as an extension of “Vision”, though with an emphasis on the depiction of tigers; we learn about the use of a real animal as well as the CG version. It becomes another informative piece.
A few minor additions finish the set. A Still Gallery let us view 84 examples of concept art, while Storyboards features 138 frames for seven scenes. Both provide nice collections.
Some unique extras appear on the 3D disc, all of which can be viewed 2D or 3D, and we find five Deleted Scenes. They fill a total of 13 minutes, 16 seconds.
A few add to existing sequences, and a few new bits on the boat emerge. One where Pi argues about the family’s move to Canada seems useful, but the others feel less than substantial – and some veer toward silly.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get two VFX Progressions. We see these for “Tsimtsum Sinking” (12:40) and “The Wave Tank” (2:10).
“Sinking” follows the scene at various stages of completion, while “Tank” lets us see aspects of that location. Both become good additions to the package.
A second disc offers a DVD copy of Pi. Other than some “sneak peeks”, it lacks any extras.
An adventure tale with spiritual elements, Life Of Pi mostly satisfies. A few aspects of rhe film sag, but most of it delivers a vivid story. The Blu-ray brings us solid picture and audio as well as a good roster of bonus materials. Pi becomes an engaging drama and the 3D version adds real impact to the story.
To rate this film visit the prior review of LIFE OF PI