* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: TheMovie. Godfrey Reggio said that the entire experience was up to the viewer. For instance, after "The Grid", there's a lone patient (whose arm is the only visible part of him) whose blood IV has come out, and it waving desperately for someone to help. Is it a stark look at isolation, or a HeartwarmingMoment because a nurse comes to help her? Another shot is of a disheveled vagrant who seems to be a little mentally disturbed grinning at the few coins in his hand - is he happy at having some money to eat with, or is he pathetically deluded at the pittance in his hand?
* [[SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic Crowning Music Of Awesome]]: The whole thing. One of Philip Glass's best-known works, and with good reason.
* EarWorm: Philip Glass's music ''will'' get ''will'' get stuck ''will'' get ''will'' get stuck ''will'' get stuck get stuck stuck ''will'' get stuck stuck get stuck in your head.
** The Anthem from ''Powaqqatsi'' is another Ear Worm.
* FirstInstallmentWins
* JustHereForGodzilla: A lot of people watch the film patiently waiting for the penultimate 15 minute "The Grid" sequence.
* MemeticMutation:
** The haunting and ominous title track is sometimes used to convey TranquilFury.
** "The Grid", full stop.
* MisaimedFandom: The film and imagery similar to it is sometimes used to ''celebrate'' technology.
** It ''is'' easy to find "beauty in the beast" due to the wonderful cinematography. Part of Godfrey Reggio's concept for the film is that every viewer could take something completely different from it.
** Nobody says you shouldn't use it for that purpose. Your interpretation is yours and yours alone.
** A relevant quote from writer Tim Page, in the liner notes of Philip Glass's soundtrack album:
-->Although ''Koyaanisqatsi'' was intended, at least in part, as an indictment of late-20th century Western society (the title is Hopi for "life out of balance"), it is one of many paradoxes that the images of a supposedly crazy, hard-driven, over-the-top America are so vibrant and captivating -- probably the most exhilarating (and curiously affirmative) passages in the film. But it is not necessary to buy into the philosophy that propels the action in order to exult in its spectacle. And, after all, as one critic observed when ''Koyaanisqatsi'' was new, Hopi activities would probably seem pretty frantic themselves if they were to be presented at such high speed.
* NewerThanTheyThink: Superspeed time lapse photography was new. Only ''Film/{{TRON}}'' and ''[[Music/TheWall Pink Floyd: The Wall]]'' had employed it - and only briefly.
* OlderThanTheyThink: Many viewers think [[spoiler:the exploding rocket]] was the space shuttle ''Challenger'', which [[spoiler:was destroyed]] three years after this movie came out. [[spoiler:The explosion filmed was with an unmanned Navy Atlas rocket, about 20 years earlier.]]
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny: The [[{{Undercrank}} time-lapsed sequences]] of cloudscapes, scenery, traffic, and walking crowds have been ''very'' widely imitated, but you saw it here first.
* SurprisinglyImprovedSequel: ''Powaqqatsi'' is a better film, but fewer people know it, save for the music piece "Anthem" which appeared in ''Film/TheTrumanShow''.
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