7. Life of Pi (2012) – Directed by Ang Lee
The plot: This best-selling novel by Yann Martel, tells the story of Pi Patel. As a young man, he survived a disaster at sea – he, and a Bengal tiger. Pi floats on the fearsome sea, together with the tiger, and an unlikely friendship develops. They face a struggle to survive and to get back to the mainland. But will they?
Why the adaptation works: The novel, published in 2001, was thought to be impossible to adapt. How does one make a film of one man and one tiger, floating on the ocean for the better part of the screen time and make it interesting to watch? Director Ang Lee did it. Having won an Academy Award for best director for 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain,” he showed promise for taking on “Life of Pi.”
Lee directed not only one of the most ambitious adaptations, but also one of the most ambitious motion pictures of all time. Over 14,000 employees worked on the making and legal distribution of “Life of Pi.” It took them over 600,000 work hours, but the result was a magnificent visual and emotional experience, earning Lee another Academy Award for best director.