In a fervently, almost ecstatically, favorable review of Terrence Malick’s “mystical” movie The Tree of Life, John Boot writes:
Malick gorgeously imagines the creation of Earth and its development through periods of fire and mayhem. We see wonderfully done shots of the early days of the planet that include images of dinosaurs. At one point, one dinosaur lies stricken and perhaps dying on the ground while another dinosaur comes up and seems bent on killing it — but then apparently thinks better of this and walks away again. It’s as if Malick is illustrating the most rudimentary appearance of mercy.
He goes on to say:
Each of these [human] characters ultimately stands for the same idea: That we are all, in a sense [what sense? – JB], children of a great power that we can never hope to understand. … It’s entirely proper, and refreshingly unusual, for a filmmaker to try to use the majesty of cinema to make us feel the majesty of God.
We’d enjoy feeling awed, but how can we when we’re still laughing at the merciful dinosaur?