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Sunday, April 10, 2011

The end of the world is coming... again.

As if on cue after the Jon Favreau post on visionaries promoting films, along comes a website for Terrence Malik’s latest film Tree of Life with Brad Pitt and Malik vet Sean Penn. (Trailer after the jump.) If you’ve watched any of his previous movies, you know he deals with not only man’s place but purpose in the world. Based on the clips at the site, looks like he’s exploring those themes via a sci-fi slash supernatural lens. (As far as sci-fi and deep meanings behind man’s purpose goes, watch Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey from 1968 if you’ve never seen it. Like Malik, Kubrik is/was a slow build.)

As Favreau said though, it may be less likely these days, if not impossible, to find that visionary who knows how to promote a film from a place of confidence, but maybe it’s that there are less visionary filmmakers making visionary films. Making something worth shouting about that transcends the noise around it speaks louder than any ad campaign.

Back to the site though... while not a Blair Witch guerilla campaign, it does do things a little differently than most movie sites do:, with very short clips with barely a title and just a comment stream. Like his films, you’re left trying to figure things out on your own. Clearly, the end of the world is coming... again. (I just saw The Road and Knowing again this weekend, so yea End of Days themes!) But, if it is the case, I’m interested to see how Malick handles the genre, because he could bring to it the thing M. Night seems to miss: What does it all mean?

Much as I love *most* of his films, M. Night is great at setting up this big “What if...?” moment, but then failing to deliver the answer that satisfies. Usually, the result is like a Charlie Sheen Truth Torpedeo road show where you end up asking “That’s it?” Except you dropped less money for the ticket. Night’s movies focus on cool little moments around the phenomenon itself, but rarely dig deeper into the reason for the human experience surrounding it. Tree of Life though looks good, and hopefully plays out as one comment predicts: Brad Pitt and Sean Penn are generally careful about the movies they’re in.

Happy end of days:

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