In case you missed the headline: the new Terrence Malick movie will feature dinosaurs.
Now, don’t get too excited. This isn’t The Thin Jurassic Line or anything. Apparently the dinosaurs will be one part of the movie (called Tree of Life) which actually spans the entire history of the universe. Yes, Malick is making a movie that encompasses the history of everything. But that isn’t the main focus; here’s how Summit describes the movie:
Our picture is a cosmic epic, a hymn to life.
We trace the evolution of an eleven-year-old boy in the Midwest, Jack, one of three brothers. At first all seems marvelous to the child. He sees as his mother does, with the eyes of his soul. She represents the way of love and mercy, where the father tries to teach his son the world’s way, of putting oneself first. Each parent contends for his allegiance, and Jack must reconcile their claims. The picture darkens as he has his first glimpses of sickness, suffering and death. The world, once a thing of glory, becomes a labyrinth.
Framing this story is that of adult Jack, a lost soul in a modern world, seeking to discover amid the changing scenes of time that which does not change: the eternal scheme of which we are a part. When he sees all that has gone into our world’s preparation, each thing appears a miracle — precious, incomparable. Jack, with his new understanding, is able to forgive his father and take his first steps on the path of life.
The story ends in hope, acknowledging the beauty and joy in all things, in the everyday and above all in the family — our first school — the only place that most of us learn the truth about the world and ourselves, or discover life’s single most important lesson, of unselfish love. Yeah, there’s nothing about dinosaurs in there, but Jeff Wells has quotes from the paper edition of Empire Magazine’s interview with FX artist Mike Fink, who says “We’re just starting work on a project for Terrence Malick, animating dinosaurs, the film is The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. It’ll be showing in IMAX — so the dinosaurs will actually be life size — and the shots of the creatures will be long and lingering.” Oh yeah, it’s a Malick movie in IMAX. Did I mention that? I’m not sure where the history of the world/universe stuff fits in – is it spread throughout the movie, or is it part of that framing device the synopsis mentions? – and much of this film remains under wraps. Nobody even knows when it’s coming out. But considering that it’s Malick and that there’s apparently major special effects involved, you probably shouldn’t hold your breath. Now I wonder: what are Malickian dinosaurs like? Are we going to have a scene where a triceratops eats grass… for twenty minutes? If anyone can turn a whole generation of kids off dinosaurs, it’s Terrence Malick.