The holidays aren't even here yet, but that doesn't mean it's too early to start talking about the big films of summer 2011. Fox Searchlight has fired off the opening shots in the upcoming box-office wars with the release of the first full trailer (which is available at the iTunes Movie Trailers website) for 'The Tree of Life,' a moody and somber looking fantasy drama from acclaimed filmmaker Terrence Malick.

The film, which follows a young boy through childhood and into his adult years (with the adult character played by Sean Penn), revolves around the man's quest to make sense of his relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). The voyage is one of discovery, with Penn's character coming to realize that both nature and spiritual grace shape our lives and the lives of everything around us.

The trailer is gorgeous, filled with Malick's always striking imagery. Some of the shots are breathtaking in their elegance – particularly, again as always, the images of the natural world. And while it's hard to judge a film based solely on its preview, it seems a given with who is involved that 'The Tree of Life' will be both well acted and beautifully shot. Basically, it's another in a long line of classic films from Malick – who's given us titles like 'Badlands,' 'The Thin Red Line' and 'Days of Heaven' during the course of his career.

Hit the jump for more, plus a look at the official trailer for 'The Tree of Life.'



The only puzzling factor here is why it's getting a late May release. 'The Tree of Life' looks to be the antithesis of your standard summer movie – a weighty and deeply philosophical film that features nary a single explosion or guy in a cape with super powers. That's not a bad thing, though – the summer months certainly have room for a movie interested in more than over-the-top action.

'The Tree of Life' is scheduled to sprout up in theaters on May 27th of next year. Until then, check out the trailer at the Apple or scroll down to watch an embed. Do you think this one can carve out a niche for itself in a crowded summer season, or is it more likely to get lost in the shuffle of summer spectacle? Discuss below.