Outstanding cinematography and genuinely ground-breaking CGI place this film in a category of its own. It's extraordinarily slow to start with, and the development of the plot is languid, to say the least. It starts by examining the early years of Pi, and it's here we learn how he acquires his name. This is narrated in flashback by his adult self and is carefully paced, with exquisite detail - one of Lee's trademarks.
About half the film takes place at sea, with only two characters: our eponymous hero and the Tiger. It has to be said at the outset that the two hardest things in the film world are creating realistic sea conditions and making a cgi of a living creature, with which most people are already familiar. The film has achieved both these feats, with a Tiger that's completely real and a sea that has you wondering whether it truly is cgi. Much of the sea effect is down to Lee's imaginative decision to build a much larger tank than films normally use, and to create breakwaters within the tank to stop the waves behaving like a child's paddling pool.
Throughout, there's an air of unreality pervading everything; the floating island sequence is simply astonishing and possibly unique while the sequences featuring flying fish and an enormous whale are little short of breathtaking. But the philosophical dream-like air prepares the audience nicely to the film's ultimate denouement. And that is exceptionally well done.
It's not an action film by any means, but if you enjoy a gently paced and beautifully shot film , with the first large movie water tank that manages to produce waves which don't appear to be on a duck pond, then this is for you.