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Epic trailer for Terrence Malick's 'Voyage of Time' took over 30 years to create

In case you missed the memo, Terrence Malick (Thin Red Line) isn’t your average director — or your average human, for that matter. This is a man who refuses to allow images of him to be used for promotional purposes, rarely grants interviews, and has been likened to reclusive artists like J.D. Salinger. That said, it’s always news when one of his films is released, especially when it’s one that’s 30-plus years in the making.

As reported by ScreenCrush, the very, very, very long-awaited first trailer for Voyage of Time has been released, but it’s not the sort of thing you’re used to seeing from Malick. The film is an Imax documentary, billed as “a one-of-a-kind celebration of life and the grand history of the cosmos, transporting audiences into a vast yet up-close-and personal journey that spans the eons from the Big Bang to the dinosaur age to our present human world … and beyond.” The spot (embedded above) features a series of stunning images and soothing, whispered narration from Brad Pitt, who sounds like he’s afraid to raise his voice, lest he scare away all the beauty.

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It’s hard to think of anything more ambitious than telling the entire story of the universe, and Malick is known for swinging for the fences. Sometimes he whiffs (Knight of Cups), sometimes he knocks it out of the park (The Tree of Life). Either way, it tends to be very entertaining.

While it’s too early to tell how this one will turn out, it’s hard to imagine that looking at beautiful images on a big screen could be too boring.

If you’re looking for a little back story on this long-gestating project, it seems that Malick began developing it for Paramount in the late ’70s. At the time, it was called Q, and it even made it to preproduction before its director moved to Paris without warning, beginning what would be a 20-year hiatus from the movie business. The documentary remained on the back burner until recently, but it was never forgotten entirely.

Regardless of what happens with this film, the “making of” story is clearly worthy of its own documentary.

Voyage of Time is set to hit theaters on October 7, 2016, and will be released in two separate formats: A 40-minute Imax version narrated by Brad Pitt, and a 90-minute, 35mm version narrated by Cate Blanchett.

Unorthodox, to be sure, but hey — that’s Malick.