Thursday, September 15, 2016

Malick's "Voyage of Time", was Disney there first in "Fantasia"?

Richard Brody in The New Yorker, "Terrence Malick's Metaphysical Journey into Nature":
It’s a sort of vast and visually overwhelming nature documentary, albeit with brief acted sequences, and, as such, it’s an easy film to parody and to mock—say, as the Terrence Malick Science-Wonder Visual Encyclopedia, or “The Tree of Life” with the funny bits cut out. But that’s true of any intensely serious work of art. “Voyage of Time” inhabits a rarefied plane of thought, detached from the practicalities of daily life, that leave it open to a facile and utterly unjustified dismissal, given the breathtaking intensity of its stylistic unity and the immediate, firsthand force of its philosophical reflections.

“Voyage of Time” is, as its title suggests, a sort of cinematic cosmogony, a lyrical collage that looks at a broad spectrum of natural phenomena artistically and imaginatively. In “The Tree of Life,” macroscopic and telescopic images as well as C.G.I. reconstructions of prehistoric times recapture the wonder of a childhood contemplation of science, as inspired by the popular-science books of Malick’s own youth. “Voyage of Time,” working with similar images, recomposes them to an altogether different, yet crucially related, purpose: it seeks the very source of that wonder not in the child’s imagination but in the essence of nature, in the fundamental building blocks of the universe itself.
Sounds like what Disney was up to in (parts of) Fantasia. See my working paper: Walt Disney's Fantasia: The Cosmos and the Mind in Two Hours.

And: "For that matter, it’s often thrillingly difficult, even impossible, to tell what’s intergalactic and what’s intracellular, what’s infinitesimal and what’s immense, what’s biological and what’s astronomical." Check out Eames, Powers of Ten.

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