Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience Review


It’s been a long road for Terrence Malick and Voyage of Time. Even before The Tree of Life, Malick in the 70s was trying to develop a film about the origins of the Earth for Paramount titled Q. Eventually, Malick would abandon Q and move onto other projects. Yet the some of the footage from 40 years ago is finally seeing the light of day with Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey. In addition to Life’s Journey, a shorter IMAX version is coming titled: Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience. Is Malick’s odyssey to Voyage of Time worth the wait or should the film have been left behind?

Like Walt Disney and Fantasia, Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience is a symphonic piece of cinema bolstered by the breathtaking visuals of Paul Atkins. Yet there’s also a mundane dryness to the film that it cannot rattle away.

Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience examines the origins of the universe from the big bang all the way to the end of the universe.


Right from the get-go, Brad Pitt begins his narration with “Dear child.” It’s at this point that you begin to realize that Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience is a film made specifically for children. Whether you’re an educator showing this to children or a parent whose child is highly interested in sciences, Voyage of Time is a film for a very niche crowd.

Yet there’s an elegance to Voyage of Time that isn’t found in previous IMAX nature documentaries. Malick, Paul Atkins, and visual effects supervisor Dan Glass all work together to bring this chronographic documentary together. Atkins is able to photograph common shots from around the world and tell the story of the beginning, middle and end of time with his rich aesthetics. Voyage of Time is a visually beautiful film and the IMAX screens are able to envelop the audience within this massive universe. Although there are discrepancies with the quality of the CGI, the landscape and celestial shots are simply stunning. In a way, it seems as if Malick is channeling the spirit of Stanley Kubrick.

Top scientific consultants, led by NASA advisor Andrew Knoll, loads Voyage of Time with current scientific theories about the history of the universe. Also, Voyage covers the theory of evolution with the film tracing a line from the big bang to sea creatures to dinosaurs to apes and all the way up to man. Despite its limited runtime to cover several billion years of natural history, Malick and company do a very good job chronicling the history of the universe.


Much like Kubrick, there’s a holistic vision to Malick’s previous two films that’s been guided by scientific and spiritual design and that streak continues with Voyage of Time. For a 40-minute film, it feels like an eternity with the film’s excruciatingly slow burn. The film slowly goes from shot-to-shot as Brad Pitt poses meditative narration to entice the audience to think as they see the visuals on-screen. “What is it. This miracle. This gift?”; “When did dust. Become life?”;

Unfortunately, think of that boring teacher in school that lulls you to sleep with the way that he speaks. That, here, is Brad Pitt. Pitt’s narration has no life to it and is severely monotone.

Overall, Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience is a film that will be the definitive documentary on the history of the universe. Schools across the world and budding science geeks will drool over the awe-inspiring visuals and plethora of information. Yet the film isn’t for everyone. For some, this film will be an agonizing experience while for others, Voyage will be an enlightening experience. Again, this film is geared towards a very niche crowd.

Rating: 3/5 atoms
NR 3 Atoms - C

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