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Naqoyqatsi (Naqoyqatsi: Life as War) Reviews

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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.

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.
July 25, 2012
Sin el encanto visual de las dos primeras partes no queda si no disfrutar de la música
July 2, 2012
There was something revolutionary in the first film of this series, but Naqoyqatsi seems to lose that point. While the footage is interesting at times, the visual filters are way overused and the CGI unnecessary. In fact, these two techniques almost ruin the entire point that they were trying to make (which was pretty heavy-handed at times). If the director had kept the simple beauty of slow-motion and time-lapse photography of (essentially) stock footage, then this might have been a better film. And yet, as it stands, this film was a mess.
June 24, 2012
Painful to watch, I had to bail out. Bizarrely more dated than the original due to over use of visual effects that add nothing to what might have been beautiful photography. More evidence that you really shouldn't wait 20 years before completing your franchise of films ....
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].
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.
July 4, 2011
It was with high hopes that I watched this film, hoping to be mezmerized and entranced by it's cinematic beauty while emotionally gripped by it's raw human emotion as I was with it's predecessors Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi. Unfortunately I was disappointed on both counts. Naqoyqatsi lacked the raw emotion and rich cinematography of Koyaanisqatsi and totally missed on the emotional and human impact of Powaqqatsi. With an overload of CGI and digital effects, much of the movie reminded me of a Windows screen saver. Even the score by Philip Glass, though beautiful, still lacked the emotional power of the previous two efforts. It is still worth seeing if you are a fan of the previous two movies, but don't expect to be moved as you were with the others.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

December 8, 2010
I understand that Naqoyqatsi is a premonition of the future and that is why it is so synthetic but that is also the reason why I didn't like it as much as the others, its pretty soulless. I've said that Powaqqatsi was an imitation of Koyaanisqatsi, Naqoyqatsi is it's bastard child. Aesthetically, it's brilliant, or at least to begin with, after a while it does start to resemble a cross between a Yes (the prog rock band) video and something from the early 90's acid house movement. Why didn't they update the music to match? With its limitless subject matter, there was so much missed out too, where was all the post 9/11 footage? Steven Soderbergh's grubby mitts are all over this, it could and should have been brilliant but it is way off the mark, ahead of its time or past its sell by date, either way, it just doesn't work. That said, I would love to see a proper post 9/11 Qatsi film!
September 27, 2010
Meant to be watched while stoned or there-alike. Can become repetitive. But only if your not fully entranced.
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!
May 1, 2010
Life, death, violence, art, politics, technology, consumerism...our world.
February 3, 2010
pues sí padre pero la verdad ya es casi lo mismo que las otras dos
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".
September 12, 2009
wonderfull music by philip Glass in this documentary series..
February 17, 2007
kool as i want 2 see dis. i want 2 see every movie in da wole wide world of course im a movie lover
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.
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