SPLICEDwire DVD mini-review


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Another poetic fusion of flooding metaphorical imagery and powerful music from the mind of experimental director Godfrey Reggio, this follow-up to Koyaanisqatsi ("Life Out of Balance") and Powaqqatsi ("Life In Transition") is translated (from the Hopi Indian language) as "Life As War" -- and it eventually provides chilling, voiceless commentary on man's inhumanity to man.

But before climaxing with a tense cacophony of sight (indicative juxtapositions of technological advances with primitive human nature) and sound (Philip Glass and Yo-Yo Ma in a goosepimpling crescendo of orchestral intensity), the film weaves almost intuitively though a blur of cultural and universal symbolism, ironic equations of consumerism to religion and politics, and sometimes beautiful, sometimes beautifully horrible footage of war, pleasure and other human endeavors.

Reggio's ever-evolving style in this film doesn't have the same mesmerizing quality as his previous efforts -- here he includes some already-dated visuals (CGI-generated babes) and too much repeated imagery (this guy has an ongoing fascination with vapor trails and footage of rockets taking off) -- but nobody makes more accessible non-narrative conceptual cinema.

Miramax didn't sell this one short. Good extras package includes an interview with Philip Glass and Yo-Yo Ma and an hour of footage from a post-screening panel discussion at NYU with Reggio, Glass and editor/visual designer Jon Kane. Plus trailers for the series previous two films.

Crisp and clear on both counts. Beautiful transfer. Dolby 5.1.

1.78:1 ratio (16x9 enhanced)


-- By Rob Blackwelder

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