During “The Journey,” which examines the actual production of the film, and “Reaching Shore,” which explores post-production, seemingly no stone is left unturned. It was a wise decision for Castelli to not limit the scope of his book to visual effects. Of course, as with the tiger, it’s hard to tell in many cases where the practical elements end and computers take over. I had no idea while watching the film that the swimming pool which Pi was named after, the Piscine Molitor, was a real pool in Paris that still exists (though it has long since been closed). It seemed like the kind of purely whimsical creation we’ve seen in Wes Anderson movies. The book provides both vintage and modern visual references as it discusses the celebrated pool.
While there’s plenty here for the most casual admirers of the film, Castelli’s text is agreeable, making for a breezy read. The many images, including candid production shots, storyboards, and conceptual art, make this effective purely as a picture book. But it wasn’t written from the perspective of an outside observer. Castelli’s access to the film’s primary creative minds allowed him to acquire a large amount of exclusive interview material. He conveys the story of the film’s production thoughtfully.
Life of Pi novelist Yann Martel contributes a thoughtful foreword to The Making of Life of Pi: A Film, A Journey. Martel offers a compressed history of his experience writing the novel and the life-changing career move it became. Director Ang Lee penned the book’s insightful introduction. Though relatively brief, these introductory pieces by those who are arguably closest to the material (no contest regarding Martel, the third member of this party—heavily included in section one—is screenwriter Magee) add significant value to this authorized account. In addition to hardcover, The Making of Life of Pi is also available in eBook format.