The trailer for Chronicle portrays it as a Blair Witch-esque, shaky-cam, low budget affair but what we get in reality is a prepubescent paint by numbers superhero affair with more money than sense.
It focuses on Andrew and his new aim of filming his entire life. We know from the get go that he isn’t the popular type at his local high school, has an alcoholic father and sick mom, the perfect back story for any would-be superhero. Andrew, while reluctantly attending a local rave, camera in tow, is roped into filming his only friend (Alex Russell) and imminent student president’s (Michael B. Jordan) discovery. This discovery results in the three amigos being bestowed with unnatural powers.
The next act follows the exploits of the three and how, with time, they become much stronger and discover skills they never thought possible. This continues for some time and is the unique element which is quite enjoyable and realistically portrays how exciting and enticing it would be to suddenly posses all these powers. Who hasn’t played “what super power would you want”? The film then moves into similar enough territory with the usual “with great power comes great responsibility” spiel.
Andrew begins to become slightly unhinged and concerned moreso with the mighty power he wields, than what good he can do. His back story sets all this up making the plot quite predictable and tiresome. One of the main features is the handheld camera element, this is fine to begin with but results in increasingly ridiculous scenarios that are necessary to keep up the handheld element. As I said at the beginning, the trailer tried to pass the film off as a indie low budget superhero movie but with the last twenty minutes, it’s quite clear to see that this is not a low budget affair by any means.
The film is certainly not bad, the relationships of the three main characters are developed well and conclude to a satisfactory end but the story itself is one we’ve seen many times before with some new tricks thrown in for novelty. Although it runs at slightly more than 80mins it felt much longer and the very end is saccharine nonsense.
A welcome change to the saturated Marvel/DC superhero movies in style, but lacking in that all important substance.
UK, USA / Josh Trank / Max Landis, Josh Trank / Starring: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Alex Russell, Ashley Hinshaw / 83min / Sci-Fi, Action / Release: 1 February (UK/Ireland), 3 February 2012 (US/Canada)