One of the criticisms that The Tree of Life incurred throughout its run is that it just wasn’t long enough. Proving that he is nothing if not malleable to the whims of a fickle audience, director Terrence Malick has announced that he plans to create a director’s cut of the impressive (but already pretty indulgent) film.
After a potted and uneven history, with long gaps between projects, the enigmatic filmmaker has suddenly rekindled some kind of weird filmic mojo and has three projects on the go besides this director’s cut. He’s working on Knight of Cups with Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett, another as-of-yet untitled film with Ryan Gosling, and his latest film To The Wonder, starring Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko, was released in the US on April 12th to middling reviews. He is also working on a documentary called Voyage of Time, to be released next year. In an interview about that film, the director’s long-time editor Billy Weber had this to say:
I don’t even know the total [amount of footage that was shot], [Voyage of Time] was a huge amount of film, because he shot so many scenes. And I’m pretty sure he’s doing a director’s cut DVD of Tree Of Life, and that will have some of those scenes deleted [placed back] in. But for the theatrical release, he really thought that it was going to be too much, and he just couldn’t put it all in.
It’s difficult to know how this will turn out, because usually a director’s cut is more indulgent than important. The director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven makes the film gel together a bit better, and if anyone can make it work, it’ll be Terrence Malick. Hopefully it’ll be sort of like the Richard Donner cut of Superman, except with dinosaurs and Brad Pitt. If he has any sense, most of the footage he’ll be placing back in The Tree of Life will involve those dinosaurs, as they were the stars of the film. Not weird at all. Nope.