You know what America needs right now? A little perspective.
For that, I recommend you head to your local IMAX theater and see Terrence Malick's "Voyage of Time: The Imax Experience." It's a psychedelic meditation on the history of the cosmos that's very kid-friendly, and a wonderful reminder of the big, big picture.
The giant-screen IMAX adventure explores scientific signposts that tell us how we, and our planet, came to exist. Why are we here? Why is "here" here? What is "here"?
It's about science, but more about the inspiration for our pursuit of science.
Glorious panoramic imagery transports you the birth of galaxies and the explosion of new life-forms on Earth. Do not wait for the download or the stream. You want to see and hear this in an IMAX theater.
Brad Pitt narrates the film. His performance as the voice of time, one might say, was beautiful, unobtrusive, and felt just right for this lucid cosmological waking dream.
But our universe is the real star of this film.
I saw the film at IMAX headquarters in Los Angeles. I loved it, and can't wait to bring family and friends, especially kids. My companion and I were deeply moved, and had a long night of coffee-fueled conversation about our place in the universe.
We're not the only ones who enjoyed it.
"The good news about Malick's long-gestating IMAX project Voyage Of Time is that it doesn't feel like a modern art exhibit being constantly interrupted by somebody reading softly off of Hallmark cards, says AV Club, with some history of how the film came to be:
Developed off and on over the past 40 years—with work begun in earnest in the 2000s, around the time The Tree Of Life was in production—Voyage Of Time means to show us our surroundings in ways we've never experienced them before, by taking us back to how it all began. Malick and his globetrotting team of technicians use active volcanoes and bizarre scenes of oceanic life to recreate the formation of the Earth and the development of consciousness. They also seamlessly integrate CGI to show the wonders of outer space and the fearsomeness of prehistoric animals. At times it's hard to know exactly what's happening on the screen, and whether it's real or digital. At its best, Voyage Of Time instills a genuine sense of awe—halfway between "How'd they do that?" and "What does it all mean, man?"
Space.com, where the reviewer apparently thought Terrence Malick wasn't going to be making a Terrence Malick film:
It's overflowing with inspiration, even if it's a little short on information.
Here's A.O. Scott in the New York Times:
Before your eyes is a kind of miracle, a fusion of digital imagery and photographic imagination that seems at once utterly natural and completely impossible. You might forget that no cameras were present when the first sea creatures crawled onto land, and that the great extinctions and climactic upheavals of earth's past — to say nothing of the aftermath of the big bang — were not captured on video. Mr. Malick presents these events as if he had drawn them not from his mind but from some repository of celestial memory.
The Times also ran a wonderful science explainer with Mekado Murphy on some of the astronomy images you see in the film.
Oh, one more thing. If you are a 420-friendly adult, dear reader, this is the one.
You are welcome.
"Voyage of Time: The Imax Experience" is rated G. Running time: 45 minutes.
A 90-minute version at conventional movie-theater scale will be released sometime soon. Cate Blanchett narrates that edition.