LIFE OF PI: FILM REVIEW

Sound is yet another important element in the process of film-making. In the realm of film, it subconsciously trails our minds through emotions along the storyline. It need not be music per se but can also include multiple layers of voices or other bits of effects. The terms ‘mixing’ and ‘editing’ are two independent jargons in sound. Sound Mixing involves recording and reproducing sounds from multiple sources and combining them into channels to create a soundtrack. Sound Editing is recording of individual sounds.

A film with several accolades to its name, Life of Pi is a recipient of Academy Award for Best Original Music Score,Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score and an Oscar for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score to name a few. The film is directed by Ang Lee and sound engineered by Eugene Gearthy. Some of Eugene’s previous work include Gangs of New York (2002), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) & Oscar-winning Hugo (2011).

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The film revolves around the journey of an orphaned young lad with a Bengal tiger left stranded on a boat after being the sole survivors of a shipwreck. The cinematography of this film was quite a challenge in itself as it heavily relied on technology to create stunning visual effects. Despite utilising artificial sources through technology, sound produced for this film was highly realistic.

The aural perspective of this film was remarkable due to its realism. The sound team went to great lengths to record elements used in the film.The sounds of the animated characters like the orangutan, hyena and the tiger were actually pre-recorded by Eugene and used accordingly in the scenes. To create sound effects for 100,000 meerkats spread across a stretch of land with the correct kind of volume is remarkable.The ocean, which was showcased for more than half the span of the film was also captured. The little impressions like being underwater, sailing on the boat, rough waves helps one realise meticulous attention to details involved in sound design. There were also two storm sequences played on screen with remarkable sound effects. In one particular sequence with flying fish, high frequency sounds were created from scratch and were later digitally manipulated. The musical score of the film produced by Mychael Danna was an strong anchor to the story which was based on a spiritual journey.

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Feeding Frenzy

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Pi stranded with fellow survivors.

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Caught up in a storm.

A true ode to sound was played in this particular film that touched hearts across the world!

Soundtrack by Mychael Danna


References

1. Yale Online, 2002, Part 5: Sound, Available on: http://classes.yale.edu/film-analysis/htmfiles/sound.htm, Accessed on 5 April 2015

2. The Wrap, 2013,For ‘Life of Pi,’ the Secret to Its Sound Is in the Silence, Available on: http://www.thewrap.com/awards/article/life-pi-secret-its-sound-silence-76121/, Accessed on 5 April 2015

3. FXGuide, 2012, Life of Pi: a tiger’s tale, Available on: http://www.fxguide.com/featured/life-of-pi/, Accessed on 5 April 2015

4.The Carpetbagger, 2013, The Splashes and Roars of ‘Life of Pi’, Available on: http://carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/the-splashes-and-roars-of-life-of-pi/?_r=0, Accessed on 5 April 2015

5. Pictures are screenshots from the film.

6. Inserted links courtesy of Youtube

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