Filmstage has compiled 90 unused posters for Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. There are many that are bad, boring and worse, but here are six that I hate and two that I love:
Certainly the two above aren’t the worst in the history of posters, both are visually striking, but both are flawed. The first commits the sin of the second light source. In an age of photoshopped onesheets you get this all the time, sun behind the characters, sunlight on the face. Also you have questions like “What is Pitt looking at?” and “Why is Sean Penn giving the stinkeye to that kid?”
The second is a dark picture of a dead tree in a movie called Tree of Life. It misses on the tone of the film, for one, but more than that it is a little too on the nose regarding the whole tree business. It’s not actually about a tree, you know.
Now we’re getting into the truly egregious posters. The first one, I just, I can’t. Those, those faces… Part of me, however, would like to see a film in which Penn’s morose face lives on Brad Pitt’s left pectoral.
It’s hard to imagine a parody of The Tree of Life wanting a better poster than the second one. Pitt and Penn butting heads over a scene from the Walking Dead. Also we have to have a tree on the poster because Literally…
The first one I honestly think is a leftover from Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain. I’m thinking the movie with this poster is about a sentient tree that fights crime in space. Which I would almost definitely watch.
The second one…WOW. It’s like an M.C. Escher pic. The hand is inside the house, but, but then there’s the hunched over old man being reflected off the window in which he is looking outside, but, but he’s inside. Ack, and I thought the movie made my head hurt.
Okay, here are two I actually like. The first one, admittedly is hastily shopped with color coding problems, and the corresponding face to Pitt’s should be Chastain’s (but she isn’t the big name so she can’t have the big face, ya see?) and Penn’s face should be above Chastain with his younger self on the otherside with the younger brother in the middle. Okay, so it’s not perfect, but I love the fracturing of the family and I love tree motif slipped into the negative space. Tres cool.
The second one is a striking visual. We get life and death from it, there’s an upward pull to it and perhaps its greatest accomplishment: no floating faces!