Movie Review – Voyage of Time: IMAX
There are two versions of this documentary, two remarkably different versions. One version is for traditional, IMAX theaters that use 70 mm projection. The other version is for modern theaters that use 35 mm but mainly digital projection. The latter version is feature-length and is narrated by Cate Blanchett. The first version, which is the version here, is less than a hour and is narrated by Brad Pitt. Reportedly, this is a movie that’s been in the works for 40 years. Written and directed by Terrence Malick, he supposedly started the project or at least came up with the idea in the late 1970’s. He abandoned it for some reason, but apparently picked it back up a decade or so ago.
The evidence of which can be seen in his film The Tree of Life (2011), which possesses a lot, if not all the ideas inherent here. A lot of the same or same kind of images are even present in both. The difference is that The Tree of Life had a narrative with actors to anchor the whole thing. This movie ditches the actors and leaves the outer space and inner space sequences, depicting the creation, the literal birth of the Earth, as well as the evolution of life on its surface.
It’s basically a National Geographic special, but Malick has an obsession with underwater photography. This is probably the most Malick has used CGI with spectacular shots of the universe with swirling clouds in space, cosmic plasma, quasars and pulsars, along with planets moving about. It’s amazing how Malick draws comparisons, often direct lines, between bacteria and things light-years away, between the microscopic and the macroscopic. He again incorporates dinosaurs, nothing as convincing as the creatures in Jurassic Park (1993). Yet, his camera prefers to be in the sea looking at strange, aquatic life.
Because it’s traditional IMAX film, this movie is mostly being shown in science museums. It’s available for example at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, and the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Despite ostensibly being a science trip on the big screen, Malick’s narration, as spoken by Pitt, never feels like the words of a scientist or someone who’s firm in his observations. The voice is always one of awe and of constantly questioning, which is the way of certain explorers, but you never feel like you’re learning anything. Of late, Malick’s films never have anything firm to say. His films are merely one big, “lo and behold!”
Three Stars out of Five.
Rated G for all audiences.
Running Time: 44 mins.