Terrence Malick’s debut documentary ‘Voyage of Time’ will blow your mind, say critics

It's a poetic journey detailing the history of the universe, told on a giant IMAX screen.

Nearly 40 years in the making, the 45-minute film, narrated by Brad Pitt, delivers the history of the universe. The magnificent documentary made its world premiere at this year’s Venice Film Festival where it received a standing ovation and rave reviews. It then screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the festival’s director and CEO, Piers Handling described the director’s magnum opus as, “one of the most remarkable cinematic experiences of the year.”

Voyage Of Time is the culmination of the director’s “long-held dream of seemingly impossible ambition: to make a movie about life as we know it,” writes Shoot Magazine in their recent article. “The film’s basis is in science, but it’s told with a poetic rapture at the miracles and mysteries of life… merging the personal with the universal, filled with awe for ‘every atom, every particle blazing.’”

Terrence Malick examines our planetary past, the birth of stars and galaxies, the beginning of life on Earth and the evolution of an array of species. It’s an awe-inspiring, IMAX-sized journey exploring never-witnessed natural phenomena, from the Big Bang right up to today. When developing the film, Malick shared with producers a quote from Albert Einstein, which highlight’s the project’s sweeping vision. “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead – his eyes are closed,” it read.

Speaking to Shoot, Sarah Green, a regular producer of Malick’s, described what the film encompasses. “It’s this history and theoretical future seen through the eyes of one of our greatest artists,” she said. “Terry has been working on this idea—and, in fact, on shots for this movie— since he began making films in the ‘70s. There’s actually footage in this film from the ‘70s that he’s carefully kept,” Green explained to Deadline. “It’s been a passion of his for his whole filmmaking career to make a film that really examines our relationship to nature, and our place with nature, as humans.”

After a call from Malick, Greg Foster, chief executive of IMAX, flew out to meet the director in Austin, Texas, to discuss the project. “I won’t pretend there aren’t some bucket-list realities to this. There aren’t a lot of opportunities to work with Terrence Malick. He doesn’t make a lot of movies,” Foster said to Shoot. “And when he does, and he makes one that’s designed for our format, you have to ask yourself if it’s too good to be true.” Out October 7, Voyage Of Time will remain in IMAX theaters for months if not years, Foster believes. “It’s the kind of thing that’s going to stick around,” he said.

Working with a team of scientific advisors and visual effects artists led by Dan Glass, Voyage Of Time seamlessly navigates the cosmic and microscopic, the spiritual and scientific. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that it “is going to set the benchmark for history-of-the-universe films in the years to come.”

Voyage Of Time opens in theaters October 7.