The opening scene of Godfrey Reggio’s third -qatsi is an arty supplement to 8 Mile: The camera tracks through an ornate but decrepit building, recognizable to anyone who’s ever been in that benighted area of the country’s most benighted city as Detroit’s long-abandoned central train station. This bleached-out tour of a 20th-century ruin is the movie’s most striking sequence, but what Reggio intends by it is unclear. His previous non-narrative montage features, 1983’s Koyaanisquatsi (“Life Out of Balance”) and 1988’s Powaqqatsi (“Life in Transformation”), have already established that the director hates cities, so is it a good or bad thing that Detroit is in tatters? Naqoyqatsi doesn’t provide an answer, but it does establish that Reggio should stick to images of real stuff, whether natural or man-made. Naqoyqatsi supposedly means “Life as War” in Hopi, but a more fitting subtitle would be “Life Is Now Fucked Up Digitally”: The film loses its grip while toying with newly available computer-generated effects, whether filling the screen with ominous 0s and 1s or morphing classical paintings. It does include images of marching troops and bloody combat, but the latter comes from the video game Doom, and Reggio generally seems more alarmed by simulation than annihilation: Cloned sheep join Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and George Will in the film’s cavalcade of menaces, and one sequence forebodingly contemplates wax figures of celebrities. (Reggio probably knows that wax museums and DNA labs are not twin tentacles of the same conspiracy, but that’s what the film’s visual logic suggests.) Philip Glass, who has scored all three -qatsis, also has some new techniques: Orchestral string sections, booming percussion, and Yo-Yo Ma cello solos broaden—and cheapen—his trademark rippling ostinatos. Predictably, Naqoyqatsi ends in outer space, providing another reminder that the future just isn’t what it used to be. —Mark Jenkins