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New Details Revealed About ‘Tree of Life’ Including the Use of CGI Dinosaurs

Not much is known about Terrence Malick’s upcoming film, The Tree Of Life, since the director prefers to remain secretive about all of his projects. The trailer released just before the end of 2010 was just enough to whet our appetites and from what little we saw, the film looks incredible. We caught a glimpse of the usual beautiful cinematography that normally accompanies the director’s films, and enough to understand that the story follows the life of a father in the 1950s (Brad Pitt) and his son Jack , played as an adult by Sean Penn. Blogs exploded with comparisons to Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain, but what we didn’t see in the trailer was dinosaurs. However, according to The Playlist, VFX artist Mike Fink said in an interview last year that, “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.”

Most of us dismissed these facts as either rumors or a ploy to sway people away from figuring out the plot synopsis of what looks like an incredibly complex film. Some even speculated that they would be included in an IMAX documentary called The Voyage Of Time, but in a recent interview with another member of the visual effects team, dinosaurs have once again been confirmed to appear in the film.

In an interview with Little White Lies, visual effects supervisor Dan Glass spoke about his work on the film and the conceptual structure it will take stating,  “I can confirm that there are dinosaurs. But how it will fit in to the film remains to be seen as Malick kept that bit of info to himself. Meanwhile his colleague and visual effects supervisor Bryan Hirota went on to say, “Terrence Malick is notoriously secretive… I don’t know much about this movie. I don’t really know how the work fits in.”

Glass went on to discuss the various formats of film the director was experimenting with, saying, “He (Malick) preferred the idea of a patchwork quilt. He might shoot something on a Super 8 camera, then an IMAX camera, then on a digital camera, but in space you might have something based on magnetic resonance imaging or infrared photography from the Hubble. Each would have its own character, and that in his mind would lend to authenticity because you weren’t trying to smooth it, shape it and make it conform.”

It’s a fantastic interview and I highly recommend everyone head over to Little White Lies to read the rest.

Malick, arguably one of the greatest filmmakers ever, only releases a movie every 5 to 12 years, so there is always a reason to be excited when you see the trailer for his latest masterpiece. Yes, it is safe to say Tree of Life will be a masterpiece. Malick’s strong suit has always been his ability to tell a story visually, so while the thought of CGI dinosaurs doesn’t seem right, I’m pretty confident he knows what he’s doing.

Here’s the official synopsis:

From Terrence Malick, the acclaimed director of such classic films as Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick’s signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life.