It's funny how there is not really such a thing as an Ang Lee way of film-making, in my opinion. All of his movies are quite different from each other and are actually often set at completely different places, during completely different time periods as well. Sometimes it can be a bad and an annoying factor when a director doesn't really seem to have a trademark- and distinctive enough directing style to all of his movies but sometimes it can also tell you something about the class of a director. He simply knows what works and what doesn't and can apply it to basically every type of movie, without ever getting repetitive with any of his movies, as is also the case for Ang Lee.
Both thematically and visually this is a quite unique movie, that probably doesn't speak to everybody. Its main premise might scare off some people, especially when knowing that the movie for most part is set at the open sea, aboard a lifeboat. But really, the movie is not just a story about survival but it's being way more as well and you could even call and consider this to be a very adventurous movie.
It's not like the movie its main character is necessarily on a journey to some place but it's still a movie in which the main character discovers a lot about the world and himself. That's the beauty of this movie; it has a seemingly simplistic premise and setup but yet the movie manages to feel like a very exciting and unpredictable one.
It's also the type of movie everybody should be able to take something different out off. It's possible to take this movie in the literal sense, or you could take it in a more philosophical and metaphorical sense, which also truly was the movie its goal. It's therefore also simply true that it's a movie that you need to experience for yourself and don't let other people's views and opinions of it influence you too much. Also don't let the themes of religion scare you off. It doesn't force anything upon you and its actually a quite objective story, that's more one about the questions of faith and belief and not necessarily about any answers. And the movie is really not as heavy or dry as you might expect, when hearing about these themes.
There is plenty going on in this movie and its unusual settings and characters ensure it's always an unpredictable and engaging one. The movie mostly revolves around the relationship and constant tension between the Pi and the tiger character, named Richard Parker (yes, don't worry, the movie explains the origins of all the weird character names very well).
It'a also a real beautiful looking movie. OK, so I could tell that most of the time the tiger was CG but it still uses its effects very well and effectively within the movie. The movie is also beautiful looking with all of its environments, as weird as that may sound, since the movie for most part is set on the open sea. It uses its cinematography and environments cleverly and effectively, so the movie never starts to look or feel the same after a while.
It's not a movie I ever truly was in love with, or felt touched by but that's probably saying more something about me, rather than about this movie its quality and power. It's a very warm, charming and thought provoking movie, with some great storytelling, that never forces anything upon anyone.