The Tree of Life – The Abridged Script

EXT. SOMEWHERE IN THE US IN THE 1950’s

BRAD PITT and some UNKNOWN ACTRESS are playing in the garden with THEIR CHILDREN. Judging by his facial expression, he is obviously playing a domesticated version of his INGLORIOUS BASTERDS character. MYSTERIOUS MUSIC plays offscreen and no dialogue is heard. This goes on FOR AGES.

THE AUDIENCE
Whoaa this must have some deep meaning about the origins of mankind.

TERRENCE MALICK
It’s just Brad Pitt, playing in the garden. He paid the movie, so i have to give him some screentime, no?

CUT to a similar scene, which goes on FOR AGES. DRAMATICAL MUSIC plays. The UNKNOWN ACTRESS has a WHISPERING VOICE OVER which goes on FOR AGES.

UNKNOWN ACTRESS (voice over)
I don’t have any dialogue after this until the end of the movie, so i will fill my time with incoherent phrases to confuse the half of the audience that came to see Brad Pitt, and mystify the other half.

She DOES.

THE AUDIENCE
Whoaaa! There is a symbolic meaning to this!

TERRENCE MALICK
All right. We are now 30 minutes in the movie. Let’s repeat the previous scenes twice and then let a character we haven’t even met die in an offscreen accident, followed by a scene with the reactions of his parents, which we haven’t really met either.

He DOES.
INT. PRESENT. SOME BUILDING IN MANHATTAN

SEAN PENN is staring in the DISTANCE, uttering INCOHERENT PHRASES about the PREVIOUSLY DECEASED CHARACTER mentioned before, which has to make clear to the audience that he is BRAD PITT’s SON. DRAMATICAL MUSIC plays offscreen. CUT to SEAN PENN in the DESERT. CUT to SEAN PENN on a SALT PLAIN. CUT to SEAN PENN in his office. This goes on FOR AGES.

SEAN PENN
What the…. How did I end up in the desert? And how did i end up in this movie?

TERRENCE MALICK
I paid you, didn’t I?
OK. Now that we have introduced the main characters…

THE AUDIENCE
You did? When did that happen?

TERRENCE MALICK
Nevermind. Now that we are 20 minutes in our movie…

THE AUDIENCE
20 minutes? You made this look like one hour!

TERRENCE MALICK
Stop interrupting me!

THE AUDIENCE
but….

TERRENCE MALICK
OK, you’ve asked for it. Time for Amoebae!

The HISTORY OF OUR SOLAR SYSTEM and LIFE ON EARTH is shown through recycled images from NATURE DOCUMENTARIES underlined by DRAMATICAL MUSIC. One sequence of a WAVE crashing to SHORE is repeated FIVE TIMES.
THE AUDIENCE
Amoebae? In a Brad Pitt movie?

TERRENCE MALICK
This is MY movie, folks. And watch it, Or i will introduce bad CGI dinosaurs.

THE AUDIENCE
Nooooo….!
He DOES. We see BAD CGI DINOSAURS on screen.  ONE DINOSAURS shows MERCY.

THE AUDIENCE
Wait, did he just try to show us the main message of the movie with Dinosaurs????!
How deranged is that? We want Brad Pitt back!

TERRENCE MALICK
Those are Palme d’Or winning Dinosaurs! Ha!
But alright then… Asteroid time!

A sequence follows copied STRAIGHT out of 2001:A SPACE ODYSSEY. We then, finally, return to the MAIN PLOTLINE

THE AUDIENCE
Plotline? Oh. Thát plotline. That was one hour ago.

TERRENCE MALICK
No..30 minutes…still 1.5 hours left.



EXT. US 1950’s

BRAD PITT behaves BADLY to HIS CHILDREN, teaching them AMBITION, SELF RESPECT and PERSEVERANCE.

BRAD PITT
Praise the Lord!

UNKNOWN ACTRESS
I’m here to fill those gorgeously framed images of Terrence, and Brad Pitt behaves like a jerk, but i keep smiling.

This goes on FOR AGES. After a series of REPETITIVE SCENES that involve a YOUNG BOY WITH ONE FACIAL EXPRESSION and violent agression towards PATCHES OF GRASS and HEAVY SYMBOLISM about the RELATION OF MANKIND to GOD (featuring WHISPERING VOICES), we cut back to SEAN PENN on a SALT PLAIN.
EXT. SALT PLAIN

SEAN PENN
Wow. This movie was a 2 hour dream sequence to symbolize my broken father-son relationship. Nevertheless i will now walk on a metaphorical beach towards a metaphorical sunset together with the rest of the cast.

He DOES.

THE AUDIENCE
We want our money back!

TERRENCE MALICK
Hey, i just reunited science and religion in 137 minutes. You should thank me for that.

THE END

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Me Zorb, you Chief Primate. We greet you.

Once in a while, nature comes up with examples of truly fascinating stuff: Termite colonies fighting on the dry and barren wastelads between their hills, taking hostages, killing their enemies without mercy. Birds that, despite their plumage, retain the characteristics of their direct ancestors, the dinosaurs. Octopuses opening jars of marmelade after watching a video of a colleague doing exactly the same thing… And what to think of the naked mole rat, a hideous looking (blind!) mammal that lives underground in colonies with a queen, workers and breeding males, just like ants, bees and wasps.

But none of these examples are nearly as fascinating as the marriage ceremony of Kate Middleton and Prince William.

Alien biologists, if they would have tuned in to the BBC (i’m sure they have digital television), would surely have had a field day.
After all, it doesn’t happen very often that two of the few remaining living relics of medieval times come together in celebration and draw massive crowds towards London.  I am talking, of course, about Church, and its faithful ally: Monarchy.

I can only guess what beings from a distant planet might have thought if, by chance, they would have tuned in at the moment when the Archbishop of Canterbury (wearing a funny hat) stepped forward towards the altar.  After all, here’s a man who calls himself the “Chief Primate”. I can imagine the slimy tentacles (the aliens’) scribbling notes on their paper: “Their leader, obviously. Obliterate if necessary”.

What would they make of those people in Westminster Abbey (also wearing funny hats)? If they would have been able to take a DNA sample of each of them, it would have been quite clear that most of those fancy dressed people were actually closely related, a situation not quite dissimilar from those naked mole rats in Eastern Africa.

And what if by accident they jumped to conclusions, and thought that the organization of the Royal Family is that of any normal human household? Would they think that a grandmother throwing a dinner party for her grandson is common practice? That wearing funny hats is mandatory? That, when you marry, you need to invite half of the world to look at it?

Clearly, next time, we need to send an explanatory note into space a few months before…just to avoid misunderstandings.