Terrence Malick’s work has been getting more and more abstract, and Voyage of Time feels like an apotheosis. He’ll be presenting two versions of the film, the forty-minute Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience releasing October 7th (voiced by Brad Pitt), and the feature-length Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey in 35mm, premiering at the Venice Film Festival. The latter doesn’t have a theatrical release date yet, but it does finally have a trailer voiced by Cate Blanchett.
Malick’s work isn’t for everyone, especially modern Malick, but given that Voyage of Time feels like an extension of Tree of Life, asking questions about God and the Universe, more directly yet less succinctly, he certainly isn’t trying to broaden his audience. “After all those eons, what does it mean to be us?” asks Blanchett, the narrator of the feature version, the cut seemingly more concerned with humanity. Our place in the universe as beings with both awareness and humility, as if we’re central to existence itself. Compare that to the IMAX trailer, which seems to approach us as a biological and scientific extensions of the universe, and slight differences begin to emerge, though of course, there’s no way to be certain until we’ve seen both films.
Each approach seems equally awestruck, and it’s not unlike Malick to take a wondrous approach to both religion and science – or rather, use scientific and religious lenses to filter that wonder. The new trailer does have previously unseen footage, but this is also the sort of film that seems hard to gauge from a distance. I’m sure we’ll know more once we’ve had the chance to experience it for ourselves, whenever that may be.