Chronicle

Decided to checkout Chronicle this evening. The tomatometer gave it an 84% positive rating; so why not? Everything I had read indicated that it was up my alley. It tells the story of three high school friends who explore a cave that is emitting strange sounds. Before you know it, they are exposed to some bizarre, unknown and possibly alien force. They end up with telekinetic powers that become stronger the more they practice. Boys being boys, we see many comical pranks but those soon make way for rash acts in fits of temper that have dire consequences.

Many have compared this movie to a classic superhero origin fable. This is valid and not a negative criticism. I would argue that when done well, the superhero origin story is often the most entertaining. It also explains why the TV show Heroes (remember that craze?) tanked after the first season and 1/2. This movie is very well done. My biggest criticism is that it uses the found footage technique (think Blair Witch Project without the shaky cam, thankfully) and it was not really that necessary but serves to justify the choice of title. It is a title that I rather like, as it evokes a simpler time when as a kid I enjoyed other Chronicles, those of Narnia.

Regardless, the performances are really good. All the actors are unknown to me. Dane DeHaan reminds me of a Leonardo DiCaprio circa “Gilbert Grape” and has the most interesting role as Andrew, the troubled one who uses his powers for menacing purposes. Alex Russell plays Andrew’s cousin Matt, who has his own issues (pompous know it all) as he tries to be the voice of reason and morality of the group. Michael B. Jordan plays Steve, mister popularity/class president who shows the other two boys ways to have fun with their powers with new found daring. The dialogue is bang on, not too smart for its own good. Teenagers really do talk this way.

The story is credited to Max Landis (son of John) and Josh Trank. Landis wrote the screenplay and Trank directed. They have put together a great story. The special effects are seemlessly integrated; the characters are relatable. Even the “villain” evokes some sympathy. I would encourage anyone who is a sucker for a superhero like me to check this movie out.

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