Not an image from "The Tree of Life." AP photo.
At long, loooooong last, Terrence Malick’s mystery-shrouded “The Tree of Life” has a definite release date.
After being in post-production for a redwood's age, Fox Searchlight plants “Tree” (produced by Minneapolis-based River Road Entertainment) May 27, 2011.
Malick, a reclusive auteur who works at an artisanal pace, gave us such artsy mood pieces as “Days of Heaven,” “Badlands” and “The Thin Red Line.” He may not seem like a filmmaker suited to summer blockbuster season, but he’s got some pretty big artillery lined up for this Sean Penn-Brad Pitt family-dysfunction opus.
There will be dinosaurs.
“The dinosaurs will actually be life size — and the shots of the creatures will be long and lingering," promises Oscar-winning visual effects man Michael Fink (“The Golden Compass”) in Britain’s authoritative film magazine Empire. (River Road's PR spokesfolks would neither confirm nor deny.)
You may wonder how dinosaurs fit in a drama that Fox describes as the evolution of a boy in the 1950s Midwest to a latter-day “lost soul.” Theories abound. One guesses that Malick's dinos appear in a separate IMAX creation-of-life documentary. I'm betting that "Tree" opens with a one-upon-a-time Jurassic prologue and takes a Malick-like eternity to get to the point. Otherwise it would be like having a T Rex in “American Beauty.”