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February 4, 2012

Andrew:  I am more powerful than you!

Chronicle is an extremely well-made film, and that’s saying something, considering that it was made on a budget of 12 million. This is the latest entry into the found-footage genre, that started in the late-90s with The Blair Witch Project, went away for a while, and came back with Cloverfield (you can read my review HERE). In the past few years, we have been given a number of fails in the found-footage department (the sequel’s to Paranormal Activity are tedious in my mind), but Chronicle has given new light into this genre by using multiple camera’s to operate the film’s narrative, making it slightly more realistic than the characters holding onto the camera for the entire film. Again, the film has such a small budget, but has some of the most visually captivating special effects in some time. At a brisk 82 minutes, Chronicle succeeds not only as a fun superhero film, but as a powerful story.

Newcomer Dane DeHaan stars as Andrew Detmer,  a senior in high school who is a bit of a loner. His only friend is his cousin Matt (Alex Russell), who spends a minimal amount of time with him. Andrew lives at home with his abusive father and his dying mother, and spends most days alone in his room. When Andrew purchases a video camera, he documents everything in his life, from school days to sleeping to his most intimate moments; Andrew does not leave his precious little camera. 

When Matt invites Andrew to a huge party, he unwillingly accepts based on peer pressure, and guess what? He takes his camera with him! Matt and his friend Steve (Michael B. Jordan) discover a mysterious hole underground, and Andrew tags along with them down the hatchet. Suddenly, there is a huge, beaming light, and since the camera cuts off, it’s implied they turned it off. The next day, the three discover that whatever happened down that hole gave them extraordinary abilities including telekinesis and the ability to fly. Although this may be a premise for a superhero film, not all heroes are super. 

What I found most interesting about Chronicle was that this was the first found-footage film in quite some time that wasn’t a horror movie (I don’t know what to classify Cloverfield as). I felt like this film was a bit of a mixture of Megamind and Superman, with more teenage angst. The film itself has three completely separate acts: the first act is introducing Andrew and his obvious issues, the second act involves the three leads playing around with their newfound powers, and the third act is a full-blown action extravaganza. While the film may seem to take a while to lead up, it is worth it in the end.

Again, I will mention that this film was filmed on a budget of 12 million (according to sources at Box Office Mojo), because there is a large amount of CGI throughout; during the third act primarily, where buses and planes are flying through the air simultaneously along with our three leads soaring above. A huge portion of the CGI in the film is used for floating objects (including a crucial sequence where about twelve different media devices are used to film the character’s surroundings),  and for some of the characters flight sequences. Everything here was rendered with a great amount of detail and looks fantastic throughout.

The three main up and coming actors here have a lot to work with, considering the infinite amount of amazing things that could be done with superpowers. Not only are they superheroes, they’re superACTORS. Let’s start off with Dane DeHaan, who starts off the movie as a normal, depressed high school kid, but throughout the film turns dark and becomes overwhelmed by these superpowers. Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan have minor roles, which don’t really apply in dissection when the only emotionally unstable character has already been discussed. Yes, they were good. No, they do not stand out.

The only real issue that stood out to me here was how the first act and the second act formed together. There is really no clear explanation as to how they survived under that hole, and how they managed to get that camera out. Nevertheless, it’s a minor issue and didn’t have a huge effect on my overall enjoyment of the film. Chronicle is a fun movie. It’s not a masterpiece by any means necessary, but it does give you your money’s worth, and has some nifty elements to warrant multiple viewings.

Chronicle: 4 out of 5

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2012 6:13 pm

    Nice review mate, gotta say I wholeheartedly agree, was a great movie! When you have some time, I’d be very happy if you took a look at my review, thanks!



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