[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/55788_front1_6.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:THE CRITERION EDITION]]

* 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 her) 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: The whole thing. One of Philip Glass's best-known works, and with good reason.
* DoingItForTheArt: Aside from Reggio, Creator/FrancisFordCoppola was one of the major backers of the experimental film while Creator/GeorgeLucas and Golan & Globus backed ''Powaqqatsi'' alongside Creator/StevenSoderbergh backed up the final film ''Naqoyqatsi''.
* 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.
* LeFilmArtistique: One of the best examples and one of the few to influence mainstream cinema.
* MemeticMutation:
** The haunting and ominous title track is sometimes used to convey TranquilFury. Fits even more if you have a shot of someone [[DeathGlare glaring]], such as [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Fluttershy]].
** "The Grid", full stop.
* 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.]] HarsherInHindsight too, especially considering the ominous song title; "Prophecies".
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny: The [[{{Undercrank}} time-lapsed sequences]] of cloudscapes, scenery, traffic, and walking crowds have been ''very'' widely imitated, but you saw it here first.
* TheEighties
* TheSeventies
* TechnologyMarchesOn: Believe it or not, time lapse photography was relatively ''new'' and few people ever experienced it at this scale.
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: And all the better for it.
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