Acclaimed Oscar-winning filmmaker Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Brokeback Mountain), has transformed author Yann Martel’s acclaimed novel into a visually sumptuous slice of cinema. The film opens with a grown-up Pi (Irrfan Khan) telling his unbelievable life story to a reporter. Young Pi is a native of picturesque Pondicherry, India, a former French colony, where his father, Santosh Patel (Adil Hussain), and his beautiful mother (Tabu), run a zoo. Despite being raised Hindu, Pi is a curious young boy, drawn to a host of different religions (he even wants to be baptized, much to his father’s chagrin). Due to political pressures, the family is forced to sell the zoo, pack up the animals on a Japanese freighter, and head off to Canada. However, the ship capsizes in a terrible storm, leaving Pi stranded on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a tiger, zebra, orangutan, and hyena. Lee makes a stunning case for 3-D with his captivating visuals, and relative newcomer Suruj Sharma is a talent to be watched as the teenage Pi. And there’s a reason this is one of Barack Obama’s favorite books: it’s one hell of a story.