An IMAX documentary for the cinephile artistic types, Voyage of Time is miraculous, magnificent, and wondrous to behold.
As maddening as he may be for cinephiles and casual audiences alike, there’s no denying the artistic majesty of Terrence Malick. A celebrated auteur since the 1970s, there’s perhaps no other filmmaker shrouded in as much secrecy living today.
His second project to release this year, Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience reportedly has roots dating back to the writer/director’s earliest years behind a camera. What does that all mean for general audiences? Very little. But it does result in a truly immersive and spectacular cinematic experience that demands to be seen.
Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience isn’t one of those films you wait to catch later on in its run. If you want something more lackadaisical (relatively speaking, of course) then there’s always the upcoming Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey that will be treated more like your standard theatrical documentary. It will be shown on regular movie screens with narrator Cate Blanchett. The IMAX Experience, however, is a beast wholly different unto itself.
Those living in a city with a true IMAX screen have a lot to be thankful for. For some audiences this might be too much. For most, however, it’s safe to say that Voyage of Time will provide more than just your standard IMAX grade school educational viewing experience.
Malick’s imagery seems predestined to arrive at an IMAX presentation. This may be the closest that fans will ever come to seeing the world through the acclaimed filmmaker’s eyes. In this presentation above any other we are transported to a zen-like state of serenity within every frame. If you open yourself up to it, you might open your eyes to find yourself drowning in its intoxicating beauty.
The film opens with some text welcoming the viewer to the experience where we’re all addressed as “children”. Initially this may seem dismissive and totally condescending. But Malick doesn’t mean it like that. He means that we’re all, relatively speaking within the history of planet Earth, children. There is far too much for any one of us to comprehend. But that vastness of existence does exist, and Voyage of Time aims to encapsulate it all within a scant 45-minute runtime.
From the big bang to humankind’s inevitable self-destruction, this film doesn’t pull any punches with regards to its theological outlook at the nature of being. Instead it’s a somber and sobering examination of the path our universe took to bring all intelligent life to this exact moment, as well as an imaginative depiction of where we could lead it. It is nothing if not a film about mindfulness, about living in the moment and appreciating where we are in this life and all that our generous planet as offered.
Those familiar with The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick’s 2011 masterpiece that was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director at that year’s Academy Awards, will find lots to connect with here.
A lot of people claim to be unable to stomach what they perceive as Malick’s dramatic “pretentiousness”. That’s fair, everyone’s entitled to his or her own opinion. But in this brief allotment of time, isn’t it equally as fair to ask for some sort of an open-minded approach to the material? Sure, it may not be for everyone. But this is perhaps Malick at his most accessible; if you can’t go along with this truncated projection of the man’s naturalistic tendencies then perhaps you’re just not meant to hold the door open for his work, possibly ever.
Simply put: see this movie. It isn’t going to change the world or impact our delicate 2016 sociological balance. But it’s moving for all the right reasons and its imagery will leave you dumbstruck. It’s a massive experience (literally and figuratively) that commands attention and delivers some sort of celluloid enlightenment.
Four and a half out of five!