Nothing like some third hand reportage to start the week off right! Apparently the eagerly anticipated new Terrence Malick film, The Tree of Life, will be shown in IMAX upon its release so that the “long and lingering” shots of the digitally created dinosaurs can appear more life-size. Yeah, you read that right: dinosaurs. This bit of news comes from visual effects artist Mike Fink in an interview he did with this month’s Empire magazine, which is, unfortunately, not available online as of yet. However since the bastion of journalistic integrity that is Ain’t It Cool News swears the story is legit, who are we to say otherwise? (Slightly more credible blogger Jeffrey Wells reports this as well.)
As with every Terrence Malick project, The Tree of Life has been shrouded in secrecy and probably will continue to be until the first reel is unspooled whenever this thing finally sees the light of day. From what we do know, however, the basic plot of the film deals with a young man coming to grips with adulthood in 1950s America—Brad Pitt plays the young man’s father in the 50s, with Sean Penn taking the role of the young man in the present day. From that brief description, there doesn’t seem to be any room for dinosaurs, but supposedly The Tree of Life could contain a portion of Mr. Malick’s mythical lost project, Q. In a 1995 Los Angeles Magazine profile of the director (how is this online and not the Empire magazine story?), special effects consultant Richard Taylor said that Q took place in a “surrealistic reptilian world” and that the movie revolved around a “creature, a Minotaur, sleeping in the water, and he dreams about the evolution of the universe, seeing the earth change from a sea of magma to the earliest vegetation, to the dinosaurs, and then to man. It would be this metaphorical story that moves you through time.” Uh-huh.
Anyway! Q was set to be the film that Mr. Malick directed following the successful reception of Days of Heaven in 1978, but it never materialized. Discouraged, he left Hollywood, moved to Paris and didn’t return until The Thin Red Line twenty years later. Now the speculation is that The Tree of Life is some hybrid of Q and an original and semi-autobiographical story that Mr. Malick has come up with; but to us, the film just sounds like another attempt at making The Fountain, only this time it actually stars Brad Pitt.
Regardless, The Tree of Life has moved up on our list of 2009 movies from “one of the most anticipated” to “can we see this in IMAX over the weekend instead of Watchmen?” Sadly, knowing Mr. Malick, we won’t actually be seeing The Tree of Life until 2013.