Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chronicle [ Movie Review ] ★★★★

The Pitch

In recent years, the "Found Footage / Shaky Cam" genre has branch out to many interesting premise. No longer constrained in the conventional horror genre, it has move on to mega monster invasion (Cloverfield), space exploration (Apollo 18) and even religious faith (The Last Exorcism). The latest offering of the "Found Footage / Shaky Cam" would be a Chronicle of a group of high school kids gaining superhuman power after exploring a mysterious crater.

Chronicle's premise sound like a dream come true for anyone who had ever fantasize about gaining superpower abilities to rack some havoc or gain some form of popularity. It's probably going to appeal to the comic books readers and fans of anime. As someone who reads comics during the school days and had daydreams of flying in the skies, Chronicle became a highly anticipated movie after watching the trailer at their youtube channel.

The climatic end of Chronicle trailer also send vibes of the Japanese animation Akira ( アキラ ) . One of the friends is going to get mad with power and it's probably up to his friends to stop him. I can't wait to see how they are going to pull this off with shaky cam.

The Plot

Andrew, Steve and Matt in happier times
Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) is a socially awkward high school kid with a sickly mother and a dad who physically abuse him. Out of the blue, he decided to a video camera to record things that transpire in his life. That idea didn't go well with his cousin Matt Garetty (Alex Russell) who drives him to school. The whole chronicling his life with a video camera also got Andrew into troubles with the bullies .

Things seem to change for the better when Steve Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan) the popular guy in school asked him to come along with him and Matt to explore a newfound crater.

Overboard Mischief!
Their exploration of the crater lead them to an incredible discovery of alien like blue crystals that turns red when they got too close to it. Chaos ensured and the trio fled the crater. Days later, they discover that they had developed strange powers. It started with simple telekinesis (moving objects with the mind) and they eventually learn how to master their power into invulnerability and flight.

Initially they used their power for mischief in school and mall. The three individuals started to bond as close friends and Steve helps Andrew to become popular in school. It was all fun and game until Andrew nearly drown a man with his superpower.

In order to prevent his cousin from going overboard with the new power, Matt set up rules for the super powered trio to follow. But will it be enough to stop Andrew from getting absolutely corrupted by the newfound superpower .

The Perspective - Chronicle Movie Review

on top of the world
Chronicle is going to polarize audiences. There will be those who don't like it and there will be those who felt that this is the first awesome movie of 2012. I belongs to the latter group who felt that Chronicle was all that it's trailer had promised and much more.

Chronicle worked for me mainly because of the friendship between the three teenagers and the psychology breakdown of one disturbed individual.

and this is how you kill a spider
The friendship between them were likeable and believable. It was heartwarming to see how Steve and Matt tried to help Andrew becomes popular in school. They were having so much fun on screen that it makes one wish that things didn't have to turn sour later on. But then again, that is also what make Chronicle so good. The mental breakdown of Andrew Detmer.

Chronicle had done a great job in laying the foundation of Andrew's eventual breakdown in the end. It plays with the notion that if a person's has a flawed persona, it would be magnified when he or she comes to grip with power. It worked for me in The Mist with Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) gripe with religious power and it's working for me again Dane DeHaan's portrayal of a teenager who became mad with power during unfortunate circumstances.

Andrew Crush!
It all adds up a climatic fight which really invokes the awesome memory of watching the ending in Japanese Animation Akira and Superman's brawl with General Zod for the first time. It had a "chaotic epic-ness" contained in a video camera feel to it. It also brought a sense of sadness to see how their friendship would eventually unfold but I am glad that it remains true the foundation that the movie had been building up to.

Last but not least, I enjoyed how telekinesis was used to do away the shakiness of the handheld camera for most part of the movie. Although it's a shaky cam movie, it doesn't have to be overly shaky and I for one is thankful for that. On the technical aspect, I am glad that the movie utilizes different form of video capturing devices to tell the story (specially in the climatic fight at the end). It would probably be impossible for one or two handheld cameras to capture all that's going on.

Chronicle is not for everyone but for those who appreciate superpower heroes and villain, this might be up your alley. The friendship between the three kids who found superpower was nicely done to make me care about the final outcome of their differences. The handheld camera trick used in the movie was skillfully executed and was pretty enjoyable. Personally Chronicle is the first awesome movie of 2012 and I am hopping to see a sequel for this movie.

Rating: ****

Missing from the Final Cut
Where's the semi naked Ashley Hinshaw?
This scene from the trailer wasn't featured in the movie (Or at least it's not in the Singapore version). I am guessing that Matt using his special power to have some fun with Casey (Ashley Hinshaw). It probably won't do much for the storyline but it would be fun to see what kind of mischief they could think of with telekinesis power.

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