A Comparitive Analysis on the Film Adaptation of Life of Pi

Topics: Yann Martel, Narrative, Religion Pages: 6 (2010 words) Published: April 26, 2013

RAM BABU T (2009C6PS644H)


No matter how it is judged, a film adaptation owes something to its original i.e., an adaptation of a novel owes something to that novel. An Adaptation can fall into three categories based on how faithful it has been in representating the facts and spirit of the novel. a) Borrowing :It is the “most frequently used mode of adaptation”. In this case that artist is using a novel’s material or ideas and form. In this situation the adapter is hoping to gain credibility for his work with the prestige of a known title/work. But at the same time, the adapter wants this to work more as a way to get others to view his work, but give his work its own acclaim and appreciation. If one is to study this particular adaptation mode they should look for the source of power in the original, and then look to see how the adapter made use of that source in the adaptation. b) Intersecting :In this adaptation mode the “uniqueness of the original text is preserved to such an extent that it is intentionally left assimilated in adaptation”. The film in this case is meant to serve as a “refraction of the original”, which is the novel. This is what most people in the general public expect an adaptation film to be, and it is why many are disappointed with a film adaptation because as stated earlier, borrowing mode of adaptation is much more common than intersecting. c) Fidelity and Transformation :This is a difficult method of adaptation for many people to accept because it allows the widest amount of interpretation by the adapter. This mode demands the reproduction of something “essential” about the original text that is reproduced in the film. It has only to capture “the spirit” of the original, but to say only is an understatement because it can be a very difficult task. Most critics argue capturing this spirit is basically impossible because the mediums (film and text) are so different. We shall now look at the adaptation of Life of Pi through this lens of classification. Life of Pi is essentially a story within a story within a story. The novel is framed by a (fictional) note from the author, Yann Martel, who describes how he first came to hear the fantastic tale of Piscine Molitor Patel. Within the framework of Martel’s narration is Pi’s fantastical first-person account of life on the open sea, which forms the bulk of the book. By including a semi-fictional “Author’s Note,” Martel draws the reader’s attention to the fact that not only within the novel is Pi’s tale of survival at sea an unverified story, but the entire novel itself, and even the author’s note, usually trustworthy, is a work of fiction. This is not to say that Martel intends the reader to read Life of Pi through a lens of disbelief or uncertainty; rather, he emphasizes the nature of the book as a story to show that one can choose to believe in it anyway, just as one can choose to believe in God—because it is preferable to not believing, it is “the better story.” The film adaptation while borrowing characters and material, It's primary focus is on the "theme of survival" and focuses less on "the importance of story telling" and "the nature of religious beliefs" which are central to theme of the book.The adaptation can therefore be classified as one which borrows i.e., "Borrowing" kind of adaptation.


Pi’s companion throughout his ordeal at sea is Richard Parker, a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. Unlike many novels in which animals speak or act like humans, Richard Parker is portrayed as a real animal that acts in ways true to his species. It can be difficult to accept that a tiger and a boy could exist on a lifeboat alone, however, in the context of the novel, it...
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