2016 began with a new Terrence Malick movie, then brought us two versions of his first documentary effort, and recently New Yorkers were treated to special screening of The Tree of Life with a live orchestral performance. And now Christmas has come early for Malick fans: we’re getting a third version of Voyage of Time this weekend.

According to Variety, Malick will release a third cut of his doc about life and space and the beginning of time as it was intended to be seen. Before Malick had Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett record voiceovers for the two versions of his film, he wanted to release it sans dialogue with only score and sound effects. Apparently IMAX wasn’t down with that, so Malick commissioned his Tree of Life star to record dialogue for the shorter theatrical cut. That version is much more pedagogic look at the creation of the universe with Pitt literally explaining the scientific events unravelling on screen. The longer 90-minute cut (which is not in IMAX) features Blanchett ruminating over the cosmos in a very Malick-y way.

As a big Malick fan, I struggled to warm up to either version, which felt disconnected from the human and spiritual stories the filmmaker has told so powerfully before. But this new version could be the best yet. Pitt said of the new cut, “Now, witness first-hand Malick’s vision as he hoped it to be seen, with the newest 3.6 version – a purely experiential film presented in the widest aspect ratio possible.”

The new version will be released in an “Ultra Widescreen” format, which is a 3.6:1 aspect ratio. Thats bigger than Quentin Tarantino’s 2.76:1 presentation of The Hateful Eight and the upcoming 2.55:1 CinemaScope ratio you’ll see in Damien Chazelle’s La La Land later this month. Voyage of Time director of photography Paul Atkins explained that for this new version each frame of the film was was scanned at an 11k resolution:

I was in the grading suite and Terry came in a couple of times so excited and he said, ‘Look at this,’ and we looked at this super widescreen version and looked at a lot of the shots with it. We were stunned at how it affected you emotionally and how immersive it was.

The best news is that more fans will get to see Voyage of Time now. The new version, titled Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience in Ultra Widescreen 3.6, will be released on 21 screens across the country on December 9 – in comparison, the Pitt version was only shown on 15 screens. Regardless of what you thought about either version of the documentary (if you were fortunate enough to catch the Pitt theatrical cut or the Blanchett version at film festivals), this is pretty exciting news. Check out the new version’s poster, courtesy of Variety, below.

Wild Bunch
Wild Bunch

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