There’s been a lot of bad press surrounding acclaimed writer and director Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life – a film many in the industry predicted would win Best Picture based on the trailer alone. The Tree of Life premiered at Cannes and won the festival’s prestigious Palme d’Or, but the film’s polarizing nature put the brakes on all the hype. By the time of its limited release in the United States, the hype had all but gone extinct.
It’s a dense piece of art not intended to dominate the box office so much as change the way the moviegoer views his or her existence. Malick interweaves throughout his story of a Midwestern family in the 1950s with lengthy scenes of outer space, molecular evolution and sympathetic dinosaurs. Some critics hailed these scenes as poetic. Others called them boring.
The most recent criticism, however, has put the spotlight on the scenes set in present day. Sean Penn, one of the stars of the film, recently admitted in an interview that he wasn’t sure what his presence added to the movie, blaming Malick along the way.
While many critics and commentators have sided with Penn, the film’s cast and crew feel differently.
Producer Donald Rosenfeld, for example, told Rich Ass Hollywood Execs Magazine, “Maybe [Penn] should see the movie again. In fact, I encourage everyone to see The Tree of Life, now in select theaters, on multiple occasions.”
Production accountant Jenny Fitzgibbons was quoted in Oatmeal Enthusiast, “I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear it has dinosaurs. So how bad could it be? I’ll probably Redbox it.”
Even Brad Pitt, the top-billed star of the film, chimed in, saying, “I am a very, very attractive man and I haven’t paid for pot since 1983.”
Nobody associated with the film has defended the film more passionately than actor Montgomery Raptor. Once tabbed by Rolling Stone as “the Brando of dinosaur actors,” Raptor has come under fire for comments he made in the upcoming October issue of Playdino.
“Roar,” Raptor said, before adding, “Snarl.”
Raptor’s comments, many attest, bring up an excellent point. After all, it is The Tree of Life scenes depicting dinosaurs that stick out like a sore thumb (or sore raptor claw, in this case). Penn’s character is the grown-up depiction of the film’s protagonist. His scenes are pivotal in executing The Tree of Life’s themes. He’s a human being with complex emotions.
The dinosaur scenes are just dinosaurs doing dinosaur stuff.
Raptor, who just last week was announced as the host of the 2012 Academy Awards, put it another way: “Growl.”
Hard to argue with that.
(UPDATE: Shortly after publication of this article, Montgomery Raptor was arrested after allegedly attacking and devouring legendary Oscars joke contributor Bruce Vilanch at a writers’ meeting in Los Angeles. As a result, Academy Awards hosting duties were awarded to The Tree of Life key grip Donis Rhoden.)
Grab some popcorn and let Hank put his arm around you…