Daisoujou’s review published on Letterboxd:
I think I fell in love with the concept for this film too much for the final product to ever fully live up to what I could imagine it being. Consisting entirely of images and music, Koyaanisqatsi shows a transition from pure nature to the modernized world humans have created for themselves. And while there are no words in the film to overtly guide interpretations, a title meaning "Life Out of Balance" certainly sets some expectations. Combined with the very positive reactions of most viewers, this looked to be a meditation on how the world has changed (for better and for worse), set to excellent Philip Glass music and filled with beautiful images. And... that's pretty much what it is.
I respect the hell out of what Koyaanisqatsi is doing, and I think it's even executed well, but it's just missing something to make it personally hit me more deeply. I just didn't feel as much as I hoped to, which is the most nebulous worthless thing to say, but I'm not sure I can really define it any better or even figure out why. I still enjoyed it, however, and I don't in any way think it's slow or boring like some of the more negative reviews do.
Koyaanisqatsi should be seen because it's an interesting piece of art and I think it will impact a lot of other people more than it did me. On top of that, it serves very well as an example of the effect editing can have on meanings and interpretations. The way scenes are edited here essentially IS the film, and the surrounding context really influences how each individual moment is viewed. Compared to my inflated hopes this is a minor disappointment, but viewed in a vacuum this was a satisfying watch.