Film Review – Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey (2016)

Title – Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey (2016)

Director – Terrence Malick (Badlands)

Cast – (Voice of) Cate Blanchett

Plot – A visual representation of the birth of our planet from its early beginnings through to our modern day age.

“Who are you, life giver? Light bringer?”

Review by Eddie on 20/11/2017

A project that had reportedly been on director Terrence Malick’s radar in some way, shape or form for over 30 years, The Voyage of Time (one of two released versions of this story, one being a shorter IMAX version) is the famed Texan auteurs first ever foray into documentary filmmaking.

Building upon the 20 minute segment that played out in Malick’s Tree of Life from 2011, where we took a visually stunning trip to the beginning of the universe, Voyage of Time see’s Malick explore the very moment the world we know came to life, from colourful cosmos’s clashing together in space, volcano’s bubbling to life, water springing forth from the earth and the beginning of nature.

Those heading into the Voyage of Time expecting a Natural Geographic like presentation and scientific rundown of what is taking place on screen will be left wanting from Malick’s film that even with Cate Blanchett’s sporadic and riddle like narration, takes place on one of the director’s known levels where he’d rather not explicitly explain what exactly is occurring at any given time.

Without doubt, Voyage of Time is an often visually spectacular experience; it’s frequently hard to even tell when CGI has been moulded into real captured footage but a problem many have had with Malick’s more recent films; that being they aren’t nearly as engaging as his early works were, rears its head again here in Voyage of Time.

No matter the amount of pretty imagery, Malick’s journey through time can’t engage our hearts, there’s almost a sense that we are just watching a director conjure up some eye capturing visual treats without much care for tying them all together. This version of the film also carries some annoying detours to modern day footage or grainy archival footage, footage that constantly takes us away from what was previously happening and it’s hard to justify many of these scenes appearances.

Final Say –

A frustrating film, a project that could’ve been anything, Malick’s The Voyage of Time is technically brilliant but cold as both an engaging documentary narrative and an educational tool piece. As most seem to say, if you’re going to watch one of Malick’s Voyage’s make it the shorter IMAX experience.

2 ostrich eggs out of 5

2 responses to “Film Review – Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey (2016)

    • Yeh really sad to say mate it just wasn’t that good! I would still love to see the Imax version but I feel this was no where near the true vision Malick was originally thinking. It’s my least favourite film of his and I am a big fan.

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