I need to get something out into the open before I continue. I am not a fan of the “found footage” style of film making. I really like Cloverfield and thought that first Paranormal Activity was pretty good, but everything else was filled with bad endings and uninteresting plots. So when I first saw the trailer for Chronicle, I was a little skeptical. It looked like it could be okay, but something just didn’t seem right to me. Well, I always admit when I’m wrong, and boy was I wrong about this one. Chronicle was everything a teen superhero story should be and more.
The movie follows three high school seniors who attain telekinetic superpowers after encountering a strange meteor like object right near a party. They do what any normal high school students would do with this power, play around with it! Yes, who wouldn’t have some fun with an ability like this? But things start going out of control when one of the boys (Andrew) starts to think of ways to use his new found gift to hurt those who hurt him (high school bullies and his abusive father).
I love a good superhero movie. I even love some ones I know are bad, and this is one of the best origin stories for the genre ever put on film. Yes, I got a little jumpy because of the “found footage” effect, but everything was developed so smoothly. Everything from Andrew (the main character) and his family life to life at school was shown through his eyes and every detail put in made it that more enjoyable down the road.
Whats great about having a bunch of unknown actors in a movie, is that you only know them as the character while watching. Whats even better is when they are actually good in their roles, and here, they were more than good, they were fantastic. Andrews transformation from a scrawny boy who gets picked on into a villainous type character was interesting and very scary at times to watch. Everything just feels so real and natural here, and most of that is thanks to the actors who never go over the top and who never become annoying to watch. Everyone is likable in their own kind of way. Even very minor supporting characters have stories and interesting traits of their own that get developed, or at least touched upon.
The pacing is better than I thought it would be. In fact, it was perfectly paced. The guys take time getting better with their powers and have to practice using them in order to actually go out and achieve bigger and better things with them. Actually, the entire movie could be considered a good, well developed training montage. It’s never all about the effects and action but about the psychological negativity these powers can have and how dark some people with them can become, which I believe is more interesting than “Oh, we have powers now…lets go save the world”! (like what this movie could have been).
There isn’t a whole lot to complain about here, especially because I didn’t think it would be this good. However there are some scenes that could have used some work. At one point, Andrew uses his power at his school’s talent show so that he can show everybody that he is more than just that loser everyone thought he was. Really? He uses his powers like that and no one questions him? And if he’s so good at it, why doesn’t he do that to make money instead of robbing harmless gas station clerks? Also, I liked how they showed different camera perspectives through all the cameras in the movie, but how exactly does that work? Did someone in the the context of the movie take everyone’s camcorder and IPhone and edit it all together to make this found footage movie?
Both entertaining and smart, this is a fantastic look into a psychological superhero origin story.