Chronicle (2012)

So…in keeping with the superhero theme of the day I decided to hit up the lower end of the budget spectum with this very cool flick. Chronicle is basically ‘Akira’ by way of ‘Jackass’, told with the increasingly tedious ‘found footage’ format. It revolves around three high school seniors who discover a glowing thingy buried in the ground and the incredible effects that it has on them. Of the three friends, the flick hones in on Andrew, the omnipresent cameraman. Andrew is a slightly creepy and nerdish loser who feels alienated by pretty much the whole planet. As his powers of telekenisis grow, as does his twisted desire to achieve “Apex predator” status…and revenge. The movie is well named as it does basically ‘chronicle’ the incidental emergence of a dangerous super-villian. It’s like ‘Magneto: The Degrassi Years’. And it all boils down to an impressive display of powers-run-amok in the middle of downtown Seattle. Chronicle uses it’s $12 000 000 budget well and the interesting effects are somewhat accented by the hand-held, ‘any-lens-in-the-hood’ approach. On the downside, as with most flicks of this type, the interactive camera angle is done to the point of ridiculousness. Even though I give the filmmakers props for at least acknowledging the overuse of The Camera and trying to creatively explain how certain shots and compositions were achieved, it STILL overdid it. But then again…given the setup…what choice would they have? There were a couple moments that did feel like they just opted to throw the gimmick out and shoot the film ‘straight’ and I found it jarringly perplexing. But then they’d rein it back in with some inventive ideas and action…and it was all good. The actors were capable and convincing in the various roles, pulling off the ‘still in high school’ vibe well while also showing the fun and mischief they’re capable of with the mysterious powers. “WIth great power…comes great responsibility.” It would seem that THAT message was lost on Andrew as he descended into frighteningly powerful madness…or he simply missed ‘Spiderman’. Either way, this movie’s a breath of fresh air into a relatively new genre that’s already showing signs of running out of creative gas. If you’re a superhero movie fan or just want to see a familiar story done well…Chronicle will fill that void. Oh, and if any of the Hollywood brainiacs out there are still intent on trying an ill-advised live action version of ‘Akira’…THIS film should be ‘required viewing’ on how to properly convey a down n dirty psionic battle. They get a good number of ideas right…in my humble opinion.

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