Tree of Life. 23 Jul 2010.

I watched the film ‘Tree of Life’ today and it reminded me of this film within a film from ‘What Just Happened.’ ‘Tree of Life’ was like watching the Discovery Channel for forty minutes. You can do that at home. And add your own dialogue. I was told a couple of years ago by friends that are feature film editors in LA — that anytime a film shows you the end of the film at the beginning — it’s in trouble. Editors use that trick to ‘pump’ a movie that isn’t working… At about thirty minutes into the cut — eight people got up and left. I kept looking at my watch thinking that I’d do the same but I’d give it an hour. I remember thinking throughout the film that I needed to go through my t-shirt collection and weed out what wasn’t being worn anymore… I ended up staying for the ending but really thought it was a cliched film and very unprovocative. It had just been well hyped. I’m still not sure why Sean Penn was in the film or anyone else really. They all had small parts when compared to the ‘artistic-discovery-channel’ visuals. It was a two hour and change film that could well have been cut to an hour twenty. The film clip, although a send-up, has the same sort of exaggerated scenes but plays better. Maybe because you knew it was a send-up. And this clip has more Sean Penn than you will see in the two hour ‘Tree of Life’. I wondered if the eight people that left early asked for a refund. Marketing muscle continues to be worth more than content.

Life goes on… eh?


I read a review that likened Malick to Kubrick. The review said that there were ‘Kubrick-Like’ moments in ‘Tree of Life’s’ visuals. I paraphrase. The footage was beautifully photographed — it took itself too way too seriously with the excessive and ‘too hip’ camera moves. But back to the original story and the reason why Malchick ain’t the Kube. If you looks at the visuals Kubrick shot they are completely original photographically. He didn’t rip them from another director. Not even as homage — by that he pushed the art form further culturally. Secondly, Kubrick designed ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ in the 60’s with an eye towards what the future — 2001 specifically — and what that year might look like. I wanted to review the film 2001 to take a look at a specific scene that occurs at 1:30:09 into the cut. Considering they were designing 2001 in the sixties — someone had to do an immense amount of head scratching as to what the future would, indeed, look like. And Kubrick was pretty damned correct for a 40 year guess. Malick, on the other hand, really didn’t do anything other than ‘lift’ Kubricks’ theses and ‘rip’ the visuals that Stanley had used 40 years earlier. Nice try on the Kubrick connection media — but connection denied.

It does go back to the cover being more valuable than the contents of the book. Doesn’t it lab rats?

Published by William Vaughan

filmmaker, artist

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