Wherever you come down on Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life - some call it the best film of the decade, others were bored to tears by it - its initial scenes are a visual treat, spanning millennia and covering everything from the birth of the universe, to the the birth of mercy (amidst a potential dinosaur murder). With Voyage of Time, Malick leans into that aesthetic unequivocally, and here's a trailer to prove it:
The 40-minute IMAX version arrives this October, with voiceover from Tree of Life collaborator Brad Pitt whom I hope recorded his bits for the film on a different day. Here, he sounds positively apathetic. Then again maybe that's some sort of juxtaposition we can't quite see the scope of yet. Or better yet, maybe it contrasts nicely with Cate Blanchett's voiceover for the feature-length cut, Voyage of Time: Life's Journey, which doesn't yet have a release date.
My first thought upon watching this was that Malick had gone full Baraka or Koyaanisqatsi, only if Ron Fricke and Godfrey Reggio had access to time machines. I think this looks magnificent and awe-inspiring, but I'm also a sucker for anything that asks "Is this outer space, or something under a microscope?", and this trailer makes a black hole look like mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell.
Malick has always been a religious filmmaker. No matter what his work is "about" it always feels theological in a vaguely Christian way, so it's interesting to see him embrace his pantheism to such a degree. It's a film that appears to be about our origins, as well as our reverence for the natural world, so the clash of ideologies seems fitting. Perhaps we're in for a philosophy akin to Aronofsky's Noah, which reconciles two very different approaches to Judeo-Christian mythology, or perhaps whatever we're in for transcends comparison to other filmmakers. Barring a montage of wheat filmed with a wide lens and Steadicam, this is as "Terrence Malick" as it gets.
Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience rassles its way inside theatres on October 7th, and it's probably the closest we'll come to a second Tree of Life cut. Oh, and Ennio Morricone is doing the music, in case you needed another reason.