Chronicle


Chronicle is a 2012 20th Century Fox action science fiction found footage film about a group of friends who gain powerful superhuman abilities and use them for mischief and personal gain until one of them begins to use their powers for darker purposes.

The film stars Dane DeHaan as Andrew Detmer, Alex Russell as Matt Garetty, Michael B. Jordan as Steve Montgomery, Michael Kelly as Richard Detmer, and Ashley Hinshaw as Casey Letter.

The film’s screenplay is written by Max Landis, based on a story by Josh Trank and Max Landis.

The film is produced by 20th Century Fox and Davis Entertainment.

Chronicle is directed by Josh Trank.

Chronicle was actually quite a surprise of a film.  Much better than what I had originally thought going into the movie.  I dare say its one of the best films to come out so far this year (granted it’s only the first week of February, but in that short time we’ve already received such terrible films as Christian Glee, Black Stereotypes Flying Planes, Underworld 4……whatever, and Katherine Heigl).  With all this crap that’s already come out, it was actually quite refreshing to watch a film that was actually pretty good.  The characters were developed, the story was interesting, the actors were fun to watch and for the most past had clear motivations for their actions, the run-time was short, and so forth.  In fact there are only a few things I had issues with, and there not even big issues.  Let’s get into this shall we???

#1. Found Footage……yay……wait, it’s not horror???

Chronicle is presented as a “Found Footage” film.  For those of you that have no idea what this is, then I ask you, WHERE THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN???  It’s only the biggest thing nowadays to make a quick buck at the theaters.  Up until this point the only genre of film to exploit this low-budget yet extremely profitable form of filmmaking is horror, with films like The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, Quarantine, The Last Exorcism, Apollo 18, and most recently The Devil Inside.  Of course at the same time this genre has put out some rather stupid and incoherent messes on film:

HOW MANY MORE TIMES MUST I SUFFER THROUGH THIS BULLSHIT OF A FRANCHISE?!?!

But Chronicle isn’t stupid at all.  It took the idea of a found footage movie and turned it into an actual plot device.  There’s a reason why the kid is shooting everything with a camera.  He’s standoffish and a loner.  He hides behind the camera to try to detach himself from his terrible world.  At the beginning the only real person he talks to is his mother.  And we’ve all seen what having your mom as a best friend get’s you.

His only crime was loving too much. Imagine how much more he could have loved with superpowers.

Eventually the camera is controlled by the various people throughout the film, usually being controlled by one of the three people that gained the powers so that they can document the growth of their abilities (and also fuck with people in different stores).

Again, while most found footage movies make you wonder, “Why are they still carrying around that camera???”  Chronicle has a logical reason for why it’s doing it.  The only exception to this is the VERY END of the film when they seem to just kind of throw the found footage idea out the window for the last 5 minutes or so.  That was very disappointing to see, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this was actually a smart idea from the filmmakers.  It’s amazing how many of these movies have come out over the years, and very few of them have ever explained why someone is always carrying around a heavy piece of equipment, especially when that person is in a life-or-death situation.

And this can’t be said enough.  Chronicle is not a horror movie!!!  All that we ever seem to get from this genre is stupid horror movies.  But Chronicle is a story about three guys that find a hole in the middle of a forest, go inside the hole, and find something weird that gives them superpowers.  Actually it only gives them one power, Telekinesis, and they use that power to manipulate all sorts of things.  I think most people were scared to do a found footage movie outside the horror genre, so it was nice to see a studio take a chance and make an action science fiction film in this genre.  Of course, with the release of Chronicle and with the found footage comedy Project X due out in March, this is a very slippery road down a long path that will only lead to bad things.  And by bad things I mean FOUND FOOTAGE TWILIGHT MOVIE!!!

Fuck you!!! I ain't watchin' no more Twilight movies!!!

 

 #2. Superpowers are Fun

It was really refreshing to see a group of guys gain super abilities and then still act like guys.  Most of the time when you see people gain powers, they either decide right off the bat to be a good guy or a bad guy.  But these guys just decide to pretty much live life, granted with powers, but just live life.  They use it to their advantage in their everyday lives, you know, like most people would.  So it was nice and refreshing to see people gain powers and use them like normal people would.  Eventually they set rules for themselves so not to be overwhelmed with the power that they have received.  All of this made sense.  As much as I love characters like Spider-Man and Batman, those heroes each had something tragic happen in their life that helped motivate them to use their spider powers or awesomeness for good.  Matt, Andrew, and Stephen didn’t have this at all, so it wouldn’t have made sense for these guys to suddenly want to use their powers for something other than fun and clowning around.  As circumstances unfold towards the end of the film, each character is faced with a decision that changes how they use their powers, much like Bruce Wayne was after his parents were brutally murdered in front of him.  When one decides to use his powers for personal gain (like stealing money to help pay for his mother’s medicine), the other two must figure out why he’s doing all these bad things.  This is when the other two face their life-changing decisions.

#3. Motivation Abandonment and Small Budget

My biggest issue with the film occurs at the very end, which can be seen in the trailer when the one friend Andrew (the one seen crushing the car with his mind) is freaking out, and he and the other guy with powers are fighting each other in the city.  The cops come around and try to stop the two of them not knowing what exactly is going on.

Not to give too much away, but there’s really no reason for the character of Andrew to react the way he did.  It just seemed to come out of left field.  Especially when he comes up against his cousin Matt and decides to make him AND EVERYONE else pay for his shitty situation in life.  The motivation just isn’t there.  This is one instance where the short run time falls short for me.  I would have actually preferred the movie maybe 10 minutes longer to help explain why Andrew decides to throw the biggest temper tantrum in the world.

Also, this movie was made for a budget of about $15M, which isn’t a lot for a movie about guys that gain superpowers.  But at times the budget works against the film.  Some of the effects just are not up to par.  Many things I’m willing to forgive because I was still enjoying the movie, but lets just say the balls in the juggling scene and the baseball being thrown were so bad that they actually took me out of the movie.  I really don’t think it would have been difficult to use actual balls in these scenes.  Maybe that’s just me though.

Afterall, this isn't a SyFy Original Movie!!! Fuck you Sharktopus!!!

 

 #4. The Finale

Overall, Chronicle caught me quite offguard.  I really enjoyed the characters and the story.  And I can honestly say this is the first found footage film that I’ve truly enjoyed. Although the ending just kind of happens and many of the special effects looked like they belonged on Straight-to-DVD, Chronicle is extremely well made and deserves to be seen.  If you get a chance, you should to and watch it.  And with a run time of only 83 minutes, you can plan your day accordingly.

a 7.5 out of 10

what did you think Quark???

My brother Rom is close to our Moogie, but he's not crazy. He's an idiot with a son in Starfleet, but he's not crazy. And if the kid needed money, why not just use his powers to rig a dabo wheel. Then he could get all the latinum he ever wanted. Stupid hu-mans, you never see the big picture.

~ by Matt Whitfield on February 5, 2012.

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