REVIEW: Terrence Malick's Voyage of Time

(Courtesy of IMAX)

(Courtesy of IMAX)

Voyage of Time, Terrence Malick’s most recent film, has been gestating for the last forty years. It is something of a labor of love. The film chronicles the story of Earth, from its inception in the Universe to presumably modern day. The 45-minute IMAX version of the film is a documentary, with few actors, narrated by Brad Pitt. There is also a 90-minute version of the documentary, narrated by Cate Blanchett.

Unlike the expected documentary, the audience is dazzled with flashes of scientific wonders, images from what I presumed to be the creation of Earth. The audience is taken to the depths of the ocean; we swim with the playful sea lions, and come nose-to-nose with bottom-feeders. We are taken over flowing magma, erupting gysers, desserts and oceans, and various other beautiful landscapes. And every now and then we are taken back to present time. Not only did we see Earth’s many beautiful corners, but Malick took us to the cellular level. We float alongside cells, as if we are one of them. However, many of these images come so fast, too fast to understand what you are actually seeing.

Pitt’s narration is not constant, but intermittent. He does not tell the story of Earth, but interjects the beautiful images thrust upon the audience with philosophical bits, such as “when did dust become life?” And perhaps that is the point of the film, not to tell the story of the Earth but to make us think about our individual stories here on Earth. And just like the images of this film rush upon us, so too does everything in life.

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