There were definitely some things that I liked about Ang Lee's recent adaptation of Yann Martel's Booker-Prize-winning novel, but they were overwhelmed by the movie's over-reliance on computer-generated images.
The early scenes of Pi's childhood in Pondicherry were the most coherent. The schoolroom scenes in particular set the magical-realist tone that allows both the book and the movie to do what it is that they do, and the scenes of Pi's religious education glowed with color and life.
That said, once at sea, the movie falls victim to an unfortunate technological quandary: The CGI isn't good enough. The animals in the zoo are believable; seeing animals in a cage allows us to overcome our disbelief. At sea, however, out of their narrative element, the zoo animals fall apart. The zebra sliding around with rubbery legs might match the book's description, and might even look like a real zebra sliding on a ship's deck. But actual verisimilitude is not CGI's central issue. We need to be allowed to suspend our disbelief. Showing unbelievable images (zebra on a ship's deck, tiger in a lifeboat, etc.) places CGI in jeopardy, and Life of Pi's CGI is not up the challenge.
The tiger's face is believable enough, but as soon as the camera pulls back, the overly-lifelike fur and the too-lithe legs betray the image. I am not trying to pick nits here; were this problem limited to a few scenes, it would not sink the movie. Since this movie relies upon the believability of the unbelievable image, since most of its running time involves the CGI tiger, it cannot succeed.
Interestingly enough, this throws the movie into the same role as Pi's narrative within the film: We, like the Yann Martel character in the apartment scenes, cannot believe the story we are being told. Had this been the filmmakers' intent, this movie would have been unbelievably interesting. Sadly, that movie is not what I saw in the theater.