I won’t be seeing Terrence Malick‘s 40-minute Voyage of Time (Broad Green, 10.7) until this evening, and I recognize, of course, that it’s a cosmic travelogue of a much higher and more complex order than the legendary “Stargate” sequence in Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey (’68), which ran roughly nine and a half minutes. Obviously Malick’s visual compositions are more varied, naturalistic, sophisticated, etc. But it’s hard not to associate the two when you watch the Voyage trailer. Boiled down, they’re both atmospheric zone-outs.
When 2001 hit nearly 50 years ago, the “Stargate” sequence was a revolutionary groundbreaker — no feature film had ever delivered a sequence that even came close to that kind of nonverbal mindsweep. But by today’s standards, Malick’s doc looks passive and behind the curve. Malick has been working on this thing (“One of my greatest dreams”) for over 40 years, and the trailer makes it feel that way. An enjoyable thing to take the kids to in an IMAX theatre on a Saturday afternoon, but where’s the nerve or the provocation? So far the 90-minute Cate Blanchett-narrated version (i.e., “mother”) has tallied a 65% RT score.
On top of which Kubrick’s sequence delivered a chilly, discomforting feeling. The only unsettling thing about Voyage of Time is Brad Pitt‘s less than exacting diction.