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4.0 out of 5 starsChronicle manages to utilise the "found footage" technique to create an effective teen sci-fi.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 11, 2018
Chronicle manages to utilise the "found footage" technique to create an effective teen sci-fi. It dabbles into various genres during its short runtime. Sci-fi, high school drama, thriller and even the superhero sub-genre. Surprisingly, despite the meaty contents, they all blend well. A small group of students stumble across a peculiar underground rock. They progressively start to realise they have acquired unique abilities and use them to their advantage, despite the consequences. At the centre of all the crazy happenings is Andrew, a troubled boy who lives a difficult life. His is unpopular at school, abused at home by his alcoholic father and is having to care for his ill mother. It details the effects of emotional trauma and how it can effect someone mentally. Andrew's troubled life has lead him to feel pure anger and hatred. We then view the positives and negatives of using telekinetic powers for one's own desire, falsifying a sense of popularity only for it to then come crashing down. It's a personal story, all captured on Andrew's camera, told through his perspective. The endearing aspect to this film is the chemistry between the three lead characters. They explore their powers together and form a close friendship, I found them to be relatable and incredibly lifelike. Dane DeHaan steals the film and portrays his character's development with ease. Also him saying "I'm feeling really spelunked out actually" just feels...satisfying. I don't know, I'm weird like that. Josh Trank's direction was solid where he really positioned the camera in inventive ways, particularly during the flying scenes. The low budget does unfortunately show during those scenes and the effects during the destructive third act detracted from the quality of the film. Also how they found the underground cavern to begin with felt coincidental and far too rushed. However, Chronicle is one of the better "found footage" films that genre enthusiasts will love. And if there is one thing it's taught me, never mess with an apex predator.
5.0 out of 5 starsAwesome Alternative Angle on the Superhero Genre
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 17, 2019
I watched this film without really knowing anything about it beyond the picture on the cover and a small synopsis. I thought it was absolutely brilliant and probably enjoyed it all the more for not knowing too much about it before hand, so will keep this brief and spoiler free!
In short, 3 school buddies stumble across a big hole in the ground with a giant very strange rock in it. After being exposed to the rock they each start to develop special superhero style powers and this forms the backbone of the movie which the rest of the film is hinged upon, but the story is much more about the three boys, their lives and how they handle the responsibility of their new found power and strength.
They each have very different backgrounds and different issues of their own and it's much more about how their backgrounds inform how they handle their powers and what they use them for and how their various relationships develop. It's not a glossy, fun X-men style romp through superhero land and is instead much more gritty and realistic and more about the realities of suddenly receiving great power at a young age and on that front it's a fantastic and very well directed film. There are some fun bits too though with plenty of scenes that do have special effects to show off their powers which is all done pretty well and the three main boys all play their parts extremely well.
If you like to mix-up your superhero fun now and then with something a little different and more thought provoking then you should definitely buy this film!
I decided to revisit this a few other of the less well known comic-book movies of the 21st century so far. I remembered Chronicle as an interesting one that was also very tough viewing in parts due to the main characters abusive father and terminally ill mother. A revisit did not disappoint and the extended cut was incredibly impactful. A truly unique take on the CBM to rival Unbreakable imo. Also one of the best examples of the found footage genre, although they use a clever hack to get more cinematic results in the second half of the movie. Superb!
I remember seeing this at the cinema and going without any expectation for whether it'd be good or not. And really, really enjoying it. It's perhaps not one for the more mature cinema viewer who perhaps enjoy classics, but it's a good enough story with some really good acting from a young cast.
There's a few wow moments in there too, and considering the budget for the film wasn't much at all (in comparison to most films!) this is really good. Fans of Cloverfield and films of that era will really enjoy this. For a decent price, definitely worth giving a go!
4.0 out of 5 starsA unique and complex superhero tragedy in which there are no heroes or villains
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 4, 2014
I remember watching a short trailer of this movie years ago on YouTube. And, after watching it, I immediately wanted to get myself a copy of the DVD. For me, Chronicle really stood out from most of the other superhero movies I've watched up until then (e.g. Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, The Avengers, etc.), because it's a superhero movie without superheroes.
Chronicle focuses on the misadventures of three high-school teenagers (i.e. Andrew, Matt and Steve) who accidentally gain the powers of psychokinesis and levitation upon discovering a mysterious crystal underground. At first, they experiment with their newly-found powers for harmless fun and games. However, they quickly come to terms with the consequences of their powers (e.g. after a car crash accident caused by Andrew) and struggle to find a way to keep them under control. Eventually, things take a turn for the worse when troubled protagonist Andrew is gradually overwhelmed by his personal anxieties (e.g. dying mother, abusive alcoholic father, etc.).
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 9, 2012
Having read some really positive reviews of this film through Empire magazine, I was keen to watch it. While I admit to being one of the few people left not to have seen 'Blair Witch Project' or many of the other subsequent 'found footage' films which were rush released to cash in on this genre, I think this film should actually be viewed simply as a film rather than as part of a genre.
In this case the film is shot through the camera of a young, lonely high school boy who with his cousin and a friend make a discovery which changes all of their lives and their understanding of human capabilities.
The film worked on two levels for me, the development of the main character, Andrew (Dane DeHaan) as a smart, introverted young man who feels outside of society's boundaries helps us to really understand his behaviour as the film develops, he tries to integrate but after being pushed away again he reacts, secondly the concept of normal people developing telekinetic powers is handled brilliantly, the effects are excellent and the film is visually brilliant, I can't remember the last time I lost myself so easily in a film concept.
Whilst the ending is slightly weak, the character development is interesting and this is a step above most teen films i've seen. I found this interesting, innovative and the three main actors are all excellent, i'd recommend this to anyone who loves indie films or sci-fi, just don't go into it expecting a found footage film, it's simply a film told from the point of view of one particular character.
5.0 out of 5 starsBluray transfer and extended cut: amazingness
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 14, 2012
This is a review of the Extended Edition (Blu Ray).
Review of the movie: there are plenty of other reviews about the plot and how amazing this new take on superhero powers is. So I won't review the movie.
Blu Ray transfer and Extended Edition scenes:
1. Great transfer to Bluray - very crisp and with deep colours. The only grain you get is the grain that was intended to be there anyway so it looks perfect.
2. Extended scenes: I found that the additional scenes that weren't on the theatrical release really gave the story a deeper meaning. You get to know the characters in more detail... It really added to the story and I think that you will enjoy watching this movie again even if you'd seen it quite recently.
5.0 out of 5 starsThoroughly, thunderously cracking entertainment, seriously, sincerely spectacular visual actioner with drama too
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 14, 2014
I wasn't sure what I was gonna be in for with this feature but BOY! am I damn sure I KNOW that I made THE right decision. If you have not already seen this film then YOU NEED TO! Mere words cannot begin to describe what a treat you're in for but I can attempt to describe.
Amazing, brilliant, cool, dazzling, exciting, fantastic, great, horrifying (in the good way), ingenious, kick ass
Okay so not the full A to Z but a genuinely wonderful film with excellent performances. I cannot fault this film. Truly wondrous and affecting film. Cannot recommend enough. One of thee best films I've seen in a good long while. 10/10
I quite liked this. You might not. Most films are just personal opinion. I mean let's face it, Gravity won all those awards and it was atrocious! This is a cool little story of friends who gain super powers but don't become superheros. One of them is nuts and starts going even nuttier. Well acted but the ending was a bit on the schmaltzy side so I took off 1 star for not having an ending that involved death, zombies and duct tape.
"What are you capable of?" That's the tagline question,and it does make you think; What would I do if I had these powers? I think this film asks these questions in a manner unlike any I've seen in a film of this type. The three protagonists are excellent in the roles of the suped-up teens. I did laugh, after discovering they have the power of flight,they still need to wear warm clothing when flying above the clouds!(They're not impervious to the cold despite their powers).One of my top DVDs for 2012.
5.0 out of 5 starsGood Film (digital copy for itunes!)
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 7, 2013
I thought this was a very interesting film and different take on a superhero film, i'm a big fan of the superhero franchise and thought this was a great addition to my superhero collection and to the superhero genre.
very interesting and different.
also one plus which i love is the digital copy to be used for itunes.
First I must admit that I haven't seen the film for a very long time. I bought it as a dvd a year ago and saw it then. It has nothing to do with reality, it is pure fantasy, but it is well filmed. The film is not a block buster go an academy winner, just a film to enjoy on a lonely night. I hope you will enjoy it like I did.