Make that two movies: The big-screen IMAX version of Terrence Malick’s film, narrated by Brad Pitt with a running time of 40 minutes, is due for release on Oct. 7. There’ll also be a 90-minute version narrated by Cate Blanchett.
What’s the difference? That’s not exactly clear. The longer version is described as a “poetic and provocative ride full of open questions,” while the IMAX experience “immerses audiences directly into the story of the universe and life itself.”
The trailer released on Thursday serves as a preview of the IMAX version, and it carries echoes of Malick’s “Tree of Life” (in which Pitt starred) as well as “Koyaanisqatsi” and other trip movies. The 106-second clip is packed with plenty of computer-generated wonders, ranging from the cosmic web and black holes to multiplying bacteria, plus documentary footage showing natural wonders on Earth.
“This is a cosmic experience – a hymn to the glories of nature, life and scientific discovery – in which all the elements come together to form Malick‘s most original film to date,” IMAX says.
The voyage hasn’t always been smooth: Malick has been gathering cosmic footage since the 1970s, when the project was known simply as “Q.” It was the subject of a lawsuit in 2013, when investors complained that Malick had spent nearly $6 million “with nothing to show for it.” The suit was settled a year later with Malick’s production company promising to pay an undisclosed sum.
Now “Voyage of Time” is nearly ready to set sail. It’s going to be a visual feast, to be sure. But will it tell a story that’s worthy of the high-flown hype? The answer is coming soon, to a theater near you.