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Enjoy trolling? Enjoy watching people get trolled? Here's your movie.
Chronicle stumbled into theaters thoroughly undervalued. Although it
does have its flaws, it has paved an entirely new route in the worn-out
genre of superheroes. Chronicle brings all the major superhero
questions into playWhere did our powers come from? How should we use
our powers? In the end, however, those questions are irrelevant. This
movie is not about three superheroes. It is about three teenage boys
who just happen to have super powers.
This movie is quite extraordinary. All three of the main actors are unknowns. When the movie begins, they all promise to me stereotyped high schoolersthe popular one, the outcast, and the stoner. As the movie progresses, those stereotypes become worthless. These actors were up to the challenge. Each main character changes so much that you won't recognize them from beginning to end. Mix this with the unique storyline and this movie has an extremely strong core.
A good deal of this movie is enjoyable simple because it is realistic to life. The bullying is brutal. The type of things that the main characters do with their powers is exactly what I would do. That's the shining point of this movie. It is true to life. It doesn't cover up life or try to smooth it over with simplifications. This movie is beautiful with its honesty. It allows the viewer to laugh hysterically one moment and cringe the next.
The problems are minor but still present. The incredible climax is followed up with a lackluster conclusion. The father's character is rather over-the-top. I can't tell if it was the writing or the acting that made it so. These two facts won't pull you away from enjoying the movie. It's just too bad that such a good movie would end on such a low note.
This movie is worth seeing. Some people will have trouble watching it in theaters because it is a shot from the first person and can be jerky at times. If you are okay with that, I would recommend seeing it in the theatre. I saw this movie with a large audiencewhich appeared to add to the experience. For the average Joe, this will be an enjoyable movie. For the superhero fan, this could be a cult classic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Chronicle is a "found footage" film that is similar to Cloverfield, The
Blair Witch Project, and - the infamous - Paranormal Activity series.
Those kinds of films (mainly Paranormal Activity) have a tendency of
being awful, predictable, and nothing but a cheap money grab; Chronicle
,thankfully, is different.
Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is a high-school teenager who has decided to make videos of his life. Through these videos, we find out Andrew is a total outcast and doesn't have an easy life. Andrew's father is an abusive drunk, his mother is dieing of cancer, and his cousin, Matt (Alex Russell), barely tolerates him. One day, While Matt is driving Andrew back from school, Matt urges Andrew to go to a party with him. Matt then pleas Andrew not to bring his camera; Andrew doesn't listen. After being punched in the face by a drunk raver, "the footage" then cuts to Andrew sitting outside the party crying. Steve (Michael B. Jordan) walks up to Andrew and tells him that he and Matt have found something they want him to film. What they find is a huge hole. As Andrew is filming the hole, an odd sound is being produced from the inside. Steve, Matt, and Andrew both climb into down hole to see what is. What they find is ______________________________. Some time later, Andrew, Matt, and Steve are then shown that they've developed telekinetic powers (that's when the fun begins). Instead of using their powers to fight crime, the three - now friends - use their powers to play practical jokes on people. As their powers get better, so do the camera angles. Andrew is eventually able to levitate the camera anywhere imaginable as he's doing anything. It's pretty cool.
What amazes me about Chronicle is how well everything has been written. The writing is very well thought out and so are the three main characters. It's rare that you see this in any film. It's even rarer when you see this in a "found footage" film. I'd advise any writer that plans on writing anything about high-school teenagers to watch this film; These are how real high- schoolers act. They're not too immature, they're not too mature. They're teenagers. simple. That's one of the reasons why I love these characters, I can relate to them. Regardless of who you are, you can relate to at least one of the three main characters. As for the other two, you probably know/knew someone who had similar personality traits. It doesn't hurt either when the three form a strong friendship with one another. The first hour or so is a great bromance film
The effects are pretty good, for the most part, considering Chronicle is a low-budget thriller. Most of the effects are practical with uses of some green screen technology. The stunt that looked a little odd to me was the flying, but you get used to it after a while and accept it for what it is. Even though some of the effects looked a little awkward, I have no choice but to respect it, for the fact Chronicle didn't rely solely on CGI.
Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan give great, convincing performances. These characters feel real, so you have to give credit to the three main actors for making them come to life.
In case you can't already tell, I really enjoyed Chronicle, and I think anyone that likes superhero movies will too. Chronicle is the definition of a great "found footage" film. Chronicle is a fun, thrilling movie with simple, yet great dialogue that comes with a great story. Chronicle does a brilliant job at making you feel like you're part of the movie (I really felt like I was the fourth member of the crew), and that means something.
I give Chronicle a very enthusiastic 4 out of 5.
The next in a long line of "found footage" flicks that have been flooding our cinemas over the last few years, Chronicle breaks free of the usual constraints within that sub genre to concoct a truly memorable sci-fi thriller. Retracing the steps of three teenage friends who are gifted with telekinesis after a chance encounter with something (intelligently, the movie never stipulates what exactly), the story focuses on the varying paths they take with their new found talent, but not until they have had some juvenile fun with it first. This is an amazingly accomplished debut feature for writer-director Josh Trank (who co-penned the script with Max "son of John" Landis); his technical veracity is utterly mind-blowing especially when you consider the shoestring funds he had to work with and his narrative pacing is impeccable. The icing on the already yummy cake is the marvellous CGI that allows our protagonists to fly, crush cars and stop baseballs in mid air all seamlessly and photo-realistically. Chronicle is a tremendous achievement in low-budget, big-concept filmmaking.
Ever since the breakout success of 1999's The Blair Witch Project, the
found footage film has become a subgenre in its own right. In a similar
vein to Blair Witch, the Paranormal Activity series has found great
financial success with their comparatively meagre budgets, and
Cloverfield in 2008 proved that, even on a larger scale, the handycam
aesthetic can deliver effective thrills when employed by filmmakers who
have a solid understanding of the style. Josh Trank's Chronicle
represents an evolution of the found footage genre, taking the
character as cameraman conceit to interesting new places, and marking
the director as a young talent worth monitoring.
Chronicle differs from predecessors like Cloverfield in the sense that this handycam footage isn't presented as 'found' per se, but rather is a stylistic and narrative choice which puts a refreshingly original spin on a well overdone story: the superhero origin. After encountering a strange, glowing object in a deep underground cave, high schoolers Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell) and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) discover they have telekinetic powers which allow them to move objects with their mind. Matt considers the powers to be like a muscle, which can be strengthened through training, and after beginning small eventually the trio build superhuman strength and, to their delight, the ability to fly. The special effects betray a small budget at times, but the initial flying sequences are breathlessly entertaining, and the pure joy of the characters makes them more effective than most mega-budget blockbusters. These are meant to be regular kids, and although the story loses focus as the scale grows towards the climax, the early scenes are surprisingly genuine and affecting. But make no mistake, this is an origin story (one which doesn't necessarily beg for a sequel however), and Trank and his co-writer Max Landis (son of John Landis) use the visceral, in-your-face nature of the found footage to breathe life into a genre which has come dangerously close to wearing out its welcome in the past decade.
As is the case with almost all science-fiction, a lot more can be read into Chronicle than what is happening on the surface. Aside from the excitement of fighting and flying about, there is a very real human story at work, with a lot of teenage life's triumphs and tragedies. Trank and Landis clearly poured their own experiences into the film, with the three leads seeming like people from everyone's high school years. Added to this is a nice element of self-reflexivity as Andrew, an unpopular misfit, uses his camera to define himself, and how he sees the world. The old adage about writing what you know seems to ring true in the case of Chronicle, and seeing Andrew learn to move his camera in more dynamic ways thanks to his new found powers is perhaps the tiniest hint of autobiography from Trank. The film is filled with subtle aspects such as this which will probably be missed by most, but thankfully simply taking Chronicle at face value is a rewarding experience, proving that the superhero origin story is not dead, it just needs a good shake up from time to time.
Chronicle is one of those films that kind of snuck up on everyone and
may very well have slid under the radar if not for a somewhat dead
weekend in February and good word of mouth. And it's rightfully earned.
After last weeks fantastic The Grey, the new year continues to produce
good film with one of the most interesting takes on the comic book film
in a long time.
Now, you might be tempted to blow this off as another low budget, shaky cam movie ala Paranormal Activity, but you'd be wrong. Firstly, this is a film that establishes it's lead "camera men" as experienced with a camera, so shaky cam is mostly gone from the film. We also have some other rather interesting excuses for better than average faux-doc filming, namely the main character's ability to levitate his camera around to get multiple angles. Suffice to say, the camera work is mostly good and legitimized so it never feels like it's too good. So, if you fear that this is just another poorly made hand-held excursion, fear not. This is a very well made hand-held excursion.
The story itself is nothing terribly new or original. A group of teens inexplicably get super powers from some weird, glowy crystals and that's about it. But where most stories about super powered people might find them fighting evil or exploring human nature, Chronicle takes it's time to show a more realistic approach. Our characters play pranks, gain popularity, and try to just have fun. Also realistic are how the powers come out in other forms, manifesting the inner turmoil of one troubled teen who becomes too powerful for his own good. Although the story may not be wholly original, the script is pretty good and the films take on both the hand-held film sub genre and the super powered sub genre is good. This is a more grounded look at what might happen should we find ourselves with power we can't understand. We don't get noble causes or some epic quest to save the world, we simply get teens who are being teens, albeit with telekinetic abilities. I read this film compared to Carrie, and it's somewhat accurate, only this is Carrie x5.
It helps that the leads do a great job in their respective roles. They seem naturals as the teens, and DeHann in particular is great as the troubled Andrew. We can see what's to come, but when his turn finally comes, most noticeably in a scene involving a spider, it's a frightening wake up call to the true nature of the forces at work here. There is some reality in this film, and it's frightening to think what some might do with that kind of power if given it. Even with that last bit of darkness at the end of the film, it's fun, and shown in a very intimate way. Being so up close and personal with the action is exhilarating and there are moments when the film even feels like a ride for a time. There are several good scenes displaying the use of the teens power, but the final 15 minutes are some of the most exciting, super powered moments of any film of it's kind. The fact that it feels more realistic than, say, something like Iron Man makes it feel that much more exciting. It's like watching a high school fight, but pushed to the 10th degree.
Suffice to say, Chronicle was a pleasant surprise. It's the kind of film you hope to walk into. As a fan of comic book films, it was especially pleasing as it really shakes the genre and tries, successfully I might add, to do something very different. It could have been a complete disaster with typical hand-held filming and a typical story. But the smart and creative take on the genre makes this another in the great beginning of 2012.
Chronicle is not really a superhero movie. It uses its themes but none
of the characters are using their powers for virtues and justice. It's
all fun and games until they get into trouble. It's a great idea but it
could have been filmed in a regular filmmaking style. The hand-held
camera fails to make the film credible. Despite from that, the film
tells a great story with a great twist. The actors are fun. The CGI is
good enough. The film is short and small but it's undeniably exciting
and really compelling than any other big blockbuster films we usually
Chronicle abandons the clichés of superhero films. Usually, when they discovered their powers, they use it to save someone and make their own costume and save the day. The movie asks, what will happen if teenagers in real life have superpowers? In this film, the kids are just recording themselves having fun with their powers. And one of them will use it more for revenge than saving the day. It's a clever idea.
It could have been filmed in a regular movie camera. The found-footage style is pretty unnecessary. The film doesn't need that to look credible. Also, there are too many random cameras and angles which is kind of awkward. Though, the shot was pretty good. But it's still unnecessary. The CGI works better in large objects. It looks dated when comes to the small ones like the spider and the legos. Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, and Michael B. Jordan are all fun together. It gets better in the third act. Dane DeHaan gives a great rage to Andrew. The climax is awesomely fun.
Chronicle may be short and small but it feels long and bigger. If only the film was shot in a regular style. But it still makes a great movie. The concept is great. It's fun, intense, and compelling enough to enjoy it in the big screen.
Chronicle is an engaging offspring of two very separate genres. Reality
based horror / thriller movies and Super Hero's. Never would you have
imagined a super hero origins movie being shot with a hand-held camera.
They are often related to high octane action sequences and graphics and
CGI. Well that thing doesn't change here either but the treatment is
creative and thoroughly engaging. If suppose paranormal activity and
any super hero movie were to mate, their offspring would have been
I think by now the "handheld camera" trick in films is becoming a little stale. Sure, it can help smaller productions and can make some films visually spectacular. However, it seems that it is used in way too many films, usually horror flicks at that. Chronicle, however, is nothing less than a masterpiece at not only the "found footage" style, but is also a brand new way of making a superhero movie, mainly because the people it centers on are far from heroes anyway. They are portrayed as everyday people. People with real problems and psychologies. All the larger than life characters of other sci fi or super hero movie is nowhere to be seen here.
Read the rest of the review at : http://devlifeintechnicolor.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/chronicle-a- realistic-take-on-sci-fi-action/
Throughout the years, audiences have been treated to origin stories
such as those based on superheroes. With the recent success of the
Batman, X-Men, Spider-Man films; and also worth mentioning "Thor"
"X-Men:First Class", and "Captain America", it's not hard to see why
they click with audiences. With "Chronicle", the superhero origin story
is given a fresh new spin.
Directed by Joe Trank, "Chronicle" tells the story of three friends who gain superpowers from a mysterious tunnel discovered in a remote part of a suburban town. Strangely, these teens don't seem frightened or confused about their new found power. Think about how frightened and confused Bruce Banner was when he first transformed into the Hulk. But whereas Hulk was bombarded with gamma rays, "Chronicle" takes a swipe at a fairly plausible Dues Ex Machina plot device that has yet to be explained in possible future installments.
It's true that some may find fault with it's vignette-style story telling in the vein of "Cloverfield". But unlike "Cloverfield" which was a good film in it's own right but had a little too much "shaky-cam" effect, the technique is surprisingly easy to follow. That along with the well-written script and performances, made "Chronicle" all the more enjoyable and engrossing. Maybe in the future, film-makers should take notice from this film in order to make a superb product. Not only that, they even managed to achieve believable special effects on a low budget along with the script. That's really impressive that they achieved to reach fans of superhero comics and films as well as the general audience; very unique.
But I really wished it was longer. With such an intriguing premise even more better than Hayden Christensen's stinker of a superhero origin story "Jumper". "Jumper" was such a disappointment. It wasn't even fully developed on it's potential and sadly was utterly wasted. Thankfully, "Chronicle" delivers on everything that film didn't and more. The climax(which I will not spoil) is one of sheer awesomeness. Emotionally charged with a nice dash of good vs evil, done in an unconventional way. The length of the film bummed me out, but from the looks of things, I can see this film grow into something really special.
Like many of you, I gleamed at the trailer and poster with a heavy
amount of skepticism. "Yet another superhero-esque film" I thought,
this time brought to the screen with the increasingly hawkeyed
hand-held style. Is this really necessary? Well no, its not, but its a
lot of fun.
The plot you can decipher from the trailer; three teenagers, Andrew, Steve and Matt find a hole in the ground and uncover something that gives them the power to move things with their minds. Then they act as any normal teenager would if suddenly given superpowers, they goof off. Things however get murky when Andrew (Dane DeHaan) begins lashing out as his broken family life becomes too much for him to bare. Actors Michael B. Jordan and Alex Russell complete the triptych as the local high school's popular kid and Andrew's too-cool-for-school cousin.
Capturing teenage angst on film has always seemed like a real struggle for Hollywood. Common knowledge dictates that if you faced the camera towards a group of well groomed twenty-somethings and relegated them to a particular clique it'll all work out. Yet "Chronicle's" script expands on that world without making it "the film". Steve is popular because he is genuinely a sociable guy not because he's some feckless ladder climber. On the flip-side of the coin, Andrew is withdrawn and anti-social because his mother is ill and his father is an alcoholic with a rage problem. These are very real issues that are glossed over or ignored in average teen movies.
But this isn't just a coming-of-age tale, its also a showcase for emerging talents, director Josh Trank and screenwriter Max Landis. While some of the camera tricks and dialogue may seem contrived at times there's no denying their boundless creativity. Trank breathes new life into the 'Blair Witch' gimmick taking "footage" from a wide array of hand-held gadgetry to create a pretty convincing collage, or dare I say chronicle.
As the three climb into the hole to investigate one of them makes a reference to Plato's allegory of the cave. Perhaps a quote from 'Alice in Wonderland' would have been more apt. Like Alice all three are young, surprisingly accepting of the situation and about to enter a world where the natural laws of physics need not apply.
I am so glad I chose to watch this at the cinema...I usually don't go
to cinemas but it was a night out and we chose Chronicle.
I was expecting a "Sky High" type of film and thank god it wasn't (although that film was brilliant too!) - I actually wouldn't recommend kids watch this.
I didn't know it was a "hand-held camera aspect" type of film and that probably would have put me off but honestly, it really doesn't matter at all and I thought it helped with building a believable story from the kids' perspectives.
It has the usual groan-inducing moments of explaining why the camera is constantly on but that's to be expected.
Story-wise, I can't really fault it. It's realistic and the effects are superb; probably some of the best super power sequences I have seen in a while.
Couple of downsides: I would have liked the "abusive father" stuff to have been less restrained and/or the mother and son scenes to be more poignant because I personally didn't "quite" believe one of the kids' motivation for the things he did; it was also weird that the cousin didn't really spend time with his aunt...I don't want to give too much away though.
I also wasn't happy with the final scene. The ending itself was absolutely superb - I wasn't expecting it to be as massive as it was thinking their budget might prevent that but it was amazing. The very final scene though left me feeling like it wasn't necessary - but it didn't detract from anything that had gone before, it just meant I looked at my friend afterwards and said "why?" instead of "wow!".
But we were both animatedly talking about how brilliant the film was for hours after and how glad we were that we watched it.
One final thing; something happens in the film that I'm not going to spoil...but it was totally unnecessary and harsh - you will know when it happens.
Best and most satisfying film I've seen in ages, 10/10
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