Naqoyqatsi (Naqoyqatsi: Life as War) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Naqoyqatsi (Naqoyqatsi: Life as War) Reviews

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½ July 28, 2013
The final film in the trilogy, but it sort of suffers from the rule of diminishing returns, and the addition of computer graphics this time around sort of put me off completely.

Rental?
March 12, 2013
The first two films in the trilogy worked because behind they focused on life and had meaning behind the imagry. This just feels like some pretentious film student founf a bunch of stock footage and figured out how to apply fancy color filters.
May 9, 2012
No More to Say, Even With Images

To be honest, I shouldn't have watched this one yet, because I haven't seen the second one. However, given that the trio is not narrative in the strictest sense, I'm not sure how much difference it makes. It is also true that this trilogy is not the only one like it, a film of images set to music without a true storyline to it, and perhaps there are only so many of those you can watch if you do not actually yourself do drugs. However, if anyone is going to be interested in watching movies like this--and not being on drugs at the time--it ought to be someone with an appreciation of the music of Philip Glass, and I certainly meet that requirement. It is sadly true that, for most of the film, I gave up paying attention to what images were flickering across the screen in favour of instead reading and listening. Writer-director Godfrey Reggio may have had a lot to say, but I think this film is best summed up by the fact that there's a feng shui artist credited.

Once again, our title comes from Hopi; my familiarity with these films leads me to believe that "qatsi" is Hopi for "life." At any rate, the premise of this film rather seems to be that the way of the modern world is a life in conflict with one another and with nature. I admit that I'm reading a lot into a series of images set to music. There are no words in the entire thing except credits and the title card defining "[i]naqoyqatsi[/i]" for us. However, I think it's extremely significant that a film released in 2002 would show us, in a collection of spinning corporate logos, the Enron logo. That cannot be a coincidence, given that I doubt most people had even heard of Enron before it collapsed in such a spectacular fashion. Come to that, it is a film wherein there are spinning corporate logos followed by spinning symbols of various religions and not that far off in the film from images of mushroom clouds.

Seeing this, I am even more certain that Reggio is no fan of modern life. This one, unlike [i]Koyaanisqatsi[/i], does show lingering images of people we know things about. There is a lengthy stretch, for a film of this nature anyway, where we are shown studio portraits or perhaps wax figures of various historical figures. (One is Abraham Lincoln, which is why I think possibly wax.) When we stare into the face of Fidel Castro, it is impossible not to put him into historical context. Yes, there is recycled footage from World War I--indeed, I think there is quite a lot more stock footage in this one than Reggio would like us to consider--but quite a lot of the focus seems to be on celebrity culture and the pervasiveness of corporations. Which, okay, I have ranted about a time or two myself. However, I think there's a bit much of it, and I missed the extravagance of nature from the first one. Honestly, if a film with no plot or dialogue could be said to be preachy, this one was definitely it.

I am also less than pleased with how manipulated the images were. I have recently discovered a piece of software that is basically a free version of Photoshop, and I've been playing around with its tools. However, my primary consideration in manipulating my own photographs is that they [i]not[/i] turn out like much of this film, where you are far more conscious of the processing than the pictures. That, and I mean, how many images of mushroom clouds, manipulated or not, does one film really need? Practically all the manipulation of the first film was speeding things up, showing the shadows of clouds rushing across the deserts of the American Southwest and so forth. By 2002, it seems that was not enough, and there was this drive to keep it seeming modern. But as we all know, the more work you put into making something look modern, the more dated it will look even as little as five years later. This was ten years ago, but it would not have surprised me to find out it was older than that.

Oh, I'll still get the second one, when I get to it. (You guessed it. I didn't do them in order because their names are not in alphabetical order.) I'm curious as to which of the first and third it most resembles. Maybe it will even turn out to be a steady decline, which would be interesting. Certainly I can't compare it to any of the director's other films, because these are pretty much the only features he has ever made. I could take the time to look and see what else he's done, because of course you can't coast that long on a mere three films. Even Terrence Malick has done more than that! And of course, I'd still be interested in getting the score, because Philip Glass is still one of my favourite composers. There are even a few minutes where I was captivated by the imagery--there is swirling smoke at one point that was simply lovely, until those blasted corporate logos appeared. I just can't help wondering if what Reggio had to say was all said with [i]Koyaanisqatsi[/i].
½ July 24, 2011
The third installment in Godfrey Reggio's visual montage trilogy. The computer generated imagery makes it more nuanced than the previous two.
½ June 22, 2009
The most pointless shit! What a waste of film. 1 1/2 hours of an experimental director fidgeting with his new video camera as if it were his dick, attempting all sorts of exposure and lenses and tints, both cheap and mesmerizing out of chance (More often cheap than mesmerizing). If you're going to make your didactic anti-war statement, don't provide pointless shit. The film makes you feel like a spectating alien who's seeing the human race, with an emphasis on technology and anatomy. But if this director thinks this is a legitimate statement "describing" belligerence among humans, he's lots to learn!
½ January 17, 2010
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but with NAQOYQATSI, the third and final film in Godgrey Reggio's trilogy about a "life out of balance" words are rendered useless. This hypnotic flood of images combined with Philip Glass' musical score is a quite a trip. What Reggio's film suggests is that life has become so fast-paced, so complex, so utterly convoluted and so technologically driven that man's reach is exceeding his grasp. The drive to athletic exceptionalism, nationalistic pride and competitiveness for superiority, and a culture of celebrity worship have only given us distractions (or justification) for the chaos that we seem to subscribe to and are fully willing to promote. When a civilized world reaches it's peak how much further can it "progress" or evolve before it begins to de-evolve. The film's final images of a sky-diver's jump from an airplane reminded me of a line in TOY STORY: "that's not flying. that's falling with style".
December 13, 2006
The only DVD out of the trilogy to have special features (besides trailers). One special feature is an interview with Godfrey and Glass; both admitting that their first two films (Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqatsi) were both "experiments," and that's exactly how those first two movies felt to me.

What's unique about this final installment in the trilogy is that (after having the practice) Godfrey decides to shoot only 20% percent of the film's footage; the other 80% is all global stock footage. This is what initially intrigued me; however, Godfrey decides to use simple computer effects to manipulate/distort the imagery into something different (on some shots, this actually seems to work; but for the most part, it's boring). After watching the prequels, I was really hoping the director would use the same techniques and apply them to OTHER people's footage (see my reviews on the prequels). I guess that theory didn't satisfy Godfrey, so he decided to be more "creative" and experimental with this third installment. It would've been nice to see, after 25 years of practice, a movie that was "better" than its predecessors.

On a final note, this movie has the most boring compositions by Philip Glass (at some points, I almost forgot there was even music playing). It was very frustrating to watch all three of these films and continually be disappointed with the final product. However, after watching these projects, I now feel more confident in my own film making/editing abilities.
June 27, 2008
The title is a Hopi word meaning "life as war". This documentary takes images of modern life and the real world, and digitaly augments and alters them into a fantasia of living images, showing man developing into the technology based society of today.

There are no words, and no real story, just a kaledscopic series of images to the music of Phlip Glass and Yo-Yo Ma. Basically it's a long music video. Earlier films by director Reggio are similar in their approach and subjects, dealing with nature and then industrial societies, and now technological culture and the future.

A beautiful, inventive, abstract documentary
June 5, 2008
The title is a Hopi word meaning "life as war". This documentary takes images of modern life and the real world, and digitaly augments and alters them into a fantasia of living images, showing man developing into the technology based society of today.

There are no words, and no real story, just a kaledscopic series of images to the music of Phlip Glass and Yo-Yo Ma. Basically it's a long music video. Earlier films by director Reggio are similar in their approach and subjects, dealing with nature and then industrial societies, and now technological culture and the future.

A beautiful, inventive, abstract documentary
November 1, 2007
I was very excited to finally get a chance to see the final installment of the Qatsi trilogy. The first two movies were mind-blowing. This one more just blew. What worked so well about the first two was that while the images were sped up, slowed down, etc, they were still images from life. Scenes of people scurrying about or masses of workers in a mud pit were so moving and thought-provoking because they were real. So much of this is computer-generated and heavy-handed that it feels more like a well-financed student film. There are several instances of religious symbols and corporate symbols floating toward the viewer, and it's just so unbelievably obvious to be ridiculous. Had we seen a McDonald's drive-thru sped up watching car after car pass through, that would have struck a far deeper chord. There are definitely some powerful images here, but they are few and far between. A far inferior film to the first two.
September 10, 2007
I finally watched Naqoyqatsi, the last part of the Qatsi trilogy. I would have to watch more closely to say how it is different from the other two films and that doesn't seem likely to happen. Still a great experience.
½ June 27, 2007
Naqoyqatsi: Life as war is a documentary film released in 2002; it is the third and final film of the Qatsi trilogy by Godfrey Reggio. The film focuses on society's transition from a natural environment to a technology-based industrial environment. It's full of superbly crafted visuals accompanied by music from Phillip Glass. It was definitely interesting to watch, but it could easily become cumbersome and tiring to watch after a while. While I enjoy music of Glass, it sounds so redundant the moment you start losing interests in this documentary. Get a coffee if you intend to watch this in one go.
½ December 5, 2013
NAQOYQATSI is the third installment in a trilogy by Godfrey Reggio and Philip Glass that began with KOYAANISQATSI. It is a documentary (loosely so) that examines globalization, technology, and violence in a rather oblique way that uses image juxtaposition to make its points. And, for the duration of the film, is accompanied by a Philip Glass score. I only recently saw KOYAANISQATSI, which I thought was ok. I didn't completely "get" it, but the title's meaning at the end did help a little bit, in retrospect. For me, the meaning of NAQOYQATSI was a little more clear from the outset, as the idea of technological advances alternately helping and harming humanity isn't really anything new, having been addressed in a many a sci-fi film before and since. The film is divided into different segments, with each one going into a different aspect of technology or violence in human society. From all of the imagery, I gleaned that technological advances have created a passive, spectator society that, despite being able to move rapidly, still isn't going anywhere. We have also cultivated a society in which we obsess over superficial things, as well as worship power, fame, and money; and the advent of mass media has only entrenched this further. There was also images relating to the destructive power of technology, and its contribution to/role in real-world violence (juxtaposed with videogame violence). All things considered, there is a lot to digest here, which would seem to indicate that this film requires multiple viewings to take all of it in. Still, I feel like the film lacked a strong through-line and cohesive message. Granted, the segments work individually, but taken as a whole, it smacks of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. Overall, I would place this on a level a little below KOYAANISQATSI, from which it seemed to recycle a bit of thematic material. It is well-made and contains some good bits of message, but none of the observations are that original and it didn't quite gel into a cohesive whole.
September 19, 2015
While Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi are so thematically focussed that they gel together comfortably as two halves of one immense work, Naqoyqatsi flounders all over the place.
July 31, 2014
The last of the trilogy is very dark and difficult to watch.
½ July 28, 2013
The final film in the trilogy, but it sort of suffers from the rule of diminishing returns, and the addition of computer graphics this time around sort of put me off completely.

Rental?
½ July 7, 2013
Unconventionally refreshing and very powerful. Beautiful requiem, Media Weather, highlights the theme of exploitation, an engine that bombards us with nearly useless information. Apocalyptic Intensive Time warns the audience that our civilization never fails at betrayal. We can only hope that its scale never reaches totally devastating. Cynical, morbid, and utterly beautiful.
April 25, 2013
Like a cheap old demo with a Philip Glass soundtrack, consisting mainly of CGI and filtered archive video, missing most of the aesthetics of the previous qatsis. The message is about the violent current day human life, which explains some of the visuals leaving it depressingly non-beautiful.
March 5, 2007
Idea was cool but did't like it as much as the other two. Thought they could have used better shots in some cases.
March 12, 2013
The first two films in the trilogy worked because behind they focused on life and had meaning behind the imagry. This just feels like some pretentious film student founf a bunch of stock footage and figured out how to apply fancy color filters.
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