Critic Reviews



Based on 10 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Slant Magazine
Koyaanisqatsi is enraged with modern societal convention, but still expresses awe of the spontaneous, incidental poetry that can exist despite invisible oppression.
Reggio has a flair for iconography, and whatever external baggage Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi may carry, they should be admired for their vivid, astonishing illustrations of humanity consuming itself in clouds of its own smoke and debris.
Koyaanisqatsi asks the viewers to ponder their relationship to a social system that has come to dominate them rather than serve them. Much of the film is exhilarating and beautiful in a way that may seem counterproductive to that end. But the cumulative effect is more meditative than frightening. It's not a world-shaking film, but it is an affecting one.
There are utterly transcendent moments amid this 87-minute music video. It’s all about that pumping, hypnotic, emotionally-gripping Philip Glass vibe.
The worlds of the natural and the artificial are compared and contrasted in this non-narrative visual orgy.
Koyaanisqatsi is an impressive visual and listening experience, that Reggio and Glass have made wonderful pictures and sounds, and that this film is a curious throwback to the 1960s, when it would have been a short subject to be viewed through a marijuana haze. Far out.
Koyaanisqatsi is an oddball and - if one is willing to put up with a certain amount of solemn picturesqueness - entertaining trip.
Koyaanisqatsi is at first awe-inspiring with its sweeping aerial wilderness photography. It becomes depressing when the phone lines, factories, and nuke plants spring up. The pic then runs the risk of boring audiences with shot after glossy shot of man’s commercial hack job on the land and his resulting misery.
Washington Post
An agoraphobic's nightmare, it's a condescending view, and maybe one that's totally off base. [23 Sep 1983, p.21]
Time Out
At once maudlin and doggedly sarcastic, the film gives you the uncomfortable sensation of being condescended to by an idiot; it is, transparently, a product of the advanced technology it purports to despise.

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