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Empire's Best Films Of 2012
The Empire staff choose their top 20 of the year - is your favourite on the list?

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11

Life Of Pi

DIRECTOR Ang Lee
STARS Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall

Everyone bangs on about the tiger. It wasn't Richard Parker, however, the novel and movie's 450lb Bengal one, that was ever the real problem. Nor was it that we would have to spend the majority of the running time with just him and a boy on a boat. Feats of digital pizzazz and immaculate pacing may both be in Ang Lee's immersive, transcendent masterpiece but the real issue, that so many before him failed to nail, was how to give Yann Martel's philosophical fever-dream into something approaching a dramatic core. The truth is, for me anyway, that the novel is a slog, something to admire but not necessarily love, its titular character often as much a device as a character. The novel also, frankly, takes an age to get going. Like James Cameron's Titanic, it needs a ship to sink to kick in dramatically. Many people have to be sacrificed for the ones in front of you to get interesting. The movie version keeps Martel's soulful heart intact but builds around it a narrative shell of sheer momentum. Its credits sequence, that zooms around the habitat of Pi's family's zoo showcasing the most spectacular use of 3D this Christmas – New Zealand included – says more about the beauty and wonder of creation than Martel's first four chapters. (That said, it does exclude his sequence where the tiger has a fight with a Mako shark, which may have helped the budget, but can only be classed as a major disappointment.) We at Empire have been doing this a long time, and this end of year has had more to offer film fans than we have ever seen before. For me, though, Pi, with its astonishing performances, uplifting visuals and wonderful ambiguity, may be the most unmissable of them all. As Angie Errigo, Empire's doyenne of movie reviewing, said to me of the movie in an email, "It was like sitting in Heaven". And I don't believe in Heaven. And I don't believe in God. But I do believe in Angie Errigo.
MARK DINNING

QUICK POLL Should Life Of Pi be higher or lower on the list?
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Have your say Agree with the list? Which sports movie would you add to the list? Register or login now to have your say.


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Your Comments

1 RE:
Avengers was a hugely entertaining movie, as was skyfall and there worthy of there positions! Should swap TDKR (the godfather 3 of the batman movies!) for the hobbit though! Read More

Posted on Thursday January 3, 2013, 17:07 by tfett

2 RE:
You're a funny guy Empire, I like you. Thats why I'm going to kill you last. my list 2012 1) Django Unchained 2) Flight 3) Rust and Bone 4) Cloud Atlas 5) Safety Not Guaranteed 6) DREDD 7) THE DARK KNIGHT RISES 8) Ted 9) Life of Pi 10) End of Watch Read More

Posted on Wednesday December 26, 2012, 14:35 by Oldb0y

3 RE:
Totally agree with seven28uk - The Grey was brilliant, totally sucked me in and I have never researched so much about wolves until after seeing that film! Cabin in the Woods, although different, not exactly a film of the year top 20. I have only seen half of the films on the list - Headhunters a good call. Avengers, hmmmmmmmmmm.... Read More

Posted on Thursday December 20, 2012, 14:52 by owenyunfat

4 RE: You Fools!
L: oxfordlover Seriously why isnt The Hobbit on the list, it was amazing, anyone who who complains about it is just hating on a successful film, just like Titanic all over again! What a load of idiotic nonsense! Read More

Posted on Thursday December 20, 2012, 13:49 by Filmfan 2


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