***The Following is a Review on the 45-minute IMAX version as the 90-minute theatrical version with narration by Cate Blanchett remains unreleased publicly in the U.S. as of 2021*** Written and directed by Terrence Malick, Voyage of Time is an experimental documentary film that celebrates the universe in its creation and its evolution. Based on a project Malick had been developed in the late 1970s, the film is a story about how planet Earth has been created as well as the creation of the cosmos. The film is told in two different versions as the 90 minute version is narrated by Cate Blanchett while the 45-minute IMAX version is narrated by Brad Pitt. The result is a ravishing and enchanting film from Terrence Malick.
The film opens with a poem as it relates to questions about existence and how the Earth is created as the film is about Earth, its creation, and its evolution. While it is a film that doesn’t have much of a plot nor a straightforward narrative. It is a film that does manage to tell the story about how the universe is created as well as how Earth is created along with the wonders of the world along with a recurring image of a young girl walking into a field of grass. The film does showcase the ideas of how Earth is created and the evolution of the world with shots of volcanos emerging, the formation of animals in the sea, dinosaurs, and all sorts of things. Terrence Malick’s direction often feature gazing images of nature or a certain location that play into Earth’s evolution and the evolution of humanity.
With the aid of cinematographer Paul Atkins, Malick would capture many of the natural elements of these locations as well as some of the sea animals such as jellyfishes while some of the creation sequences were created by visual effects supervisor Dan Glass with consultant work from Douglas Trumbull. Notably in the look of some of the prehistoric animals, dinosaurs, and such as it has this air of beauty along with scenes in space where Trumbull’s methods help play into the creation of the universe. Editors Rehman Ali and Keith Fraase would provide excellent usage of jump-cuts and montages as it help play into the frenetic evolution that would include shots of land turning into cities including an aerial shot of the Burj Khalifa building in Dubai. Sound designers Joel Dougherty and Hamilton Sterling does some incredible work in the mixing of natural sounds as well as to showcase the ferocity of those sounds such as the geysers and volcanos in their eruption as well as a shot of a meteor coming down.
The film’s music by Simon Franglen and Hanan Townshend is amazing with its usage of bombastic string-based pieces with some classical and operatic pieces that add to visual splendor of the film. Especially in some of the creation sequences as it adds a lot of the emotional weight in what the music brings.
Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience is a phenomenal documentary short film from Terrence Malick. It is a short film that has to be seen as it explore the ideas of existentialism as well as the creation of the universe. It is also a short that does more than just be a nature film but rather a poetic ode to the ideas of creation. In the end, Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience is a sensational film from Terrence Malick.
Terrence Malick Films: Badlands - Days of Heaven - The Thin Red Line - The New World - The Tree of Life - To the Wonder - Knight of Cups - (Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey) - Song to Song - A Hidden Life - (The Way of the Wind)
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