198 of 223 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2012
Perhaps no other phrase in the comic book genre applies to daily life as much as Spider-Man's famous, "With great power comes great responsibility." Such a phrase has guided Spider-Man throughout his career, but occasionally the thought comes up: what if he didn't follow this famous mantra, and instead used his powers for selfish reasons? While "Chronicle" may not be related to Spider-man, it perfectly explores what would happen if the famous saying was ignored.
"Chronicle" follows three high school kids who have pretty ordinary lives: one is running for class president, one is the shy type whom nobody likes, and the last is the outgoing, energetic type. One night, while at a rave, the three come across something mysterious, and find themselves in possession of powers that allow them to manipulate things with their minds. As expected, they start off doing pranks (like using a leaf blower on skirts, for example), but as time goes on, being in possession of so much power can be dangerous...and even deadly.
Even among the glut of superhero and found-footage films, "Chronicle" manages to stand out, in most-part, due to that it's not really a superhero film: rather, it's really a story about how absolute power corrupts absolutely. While I was watching the movie, I was really surprised to find myself being more interested in the teens, rather then the powers they wield. All three are best friends, and they're good at heart, but are not above using their powers to mess with people's heads. Andrew, in particular, is one of the most interesting film teenagers I've seen in recent memory, due to his miserable home life, and how he reacts with his new-found abilities. Yet, from the beginning, it's clear that the power is inevitably going to corrupt the teens, which leads to a extraordinarily powerful third act that that genuinely had me more interested in what Andrew and the others were going to do, and not in the action that was taking place around them.
Even though there have arguably been too many superhero and found footage films over the past few years, "Chronicle" manages to feel fresh and exciting. While it's faults are few (the CGI is at times a bit obvious), the strength of it's storytelling more then makes up for any flaws. It's an unexpectedly gripping and thrilling film that focuses on the emotional consequences of how extraordinary powers corrupt ordinary people, rather then on spectacle and action, as other films would have done, and for that, I highly recommend it.
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2012
Reading some of the other reviews of "Chronicle," I was a little reluctant to bother watching it. Yet another "found footage" film--maaannn, when are they going to realize that this technique has been done to death?--and there's not even any logical reason to use it here. Nevertheless, I was very impressed with what this film's creators were able to do. Really fine acting and storyline: The way the three very different protagonists interact is quite convincing. "Chronicle" also aptly portrays adolescent/high school existence, an age that so many films screw up with clichés and stereotypes. Very true-to-life dialogue: Whoever wrote the script did an outstanding job. All the Greek morality play elements, the theme of hubris, etc, add a great deal. Special effects are good but not too Hollywood-slick, which makes them all-the-more convincing. Humankind's common desire, unaided flight, is portrayed without strings attached: The flight scenes are, well, awesome, and they also capture the complications of achieving this dream. Plenty of surprises--love the ending.
Still, "Chronicle" would benefit from a little more-in-general (only 84 minutes?!), which is, I suppose, the best sort of flaw a film can have.
48 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2012
Another in a line of films portrayed as actual footage later found. Filmed documentary style, the movie tells the story of three high school boys who encounter some sort of alien ship or something, and then acquire superhuman powers of telekinesis. Predictably, things spiral out of control for the three. This is a realistic, and quite good film about a young man with problems who is unable to control the powers he discovers. His two friends try to help, but they are unable to control him. This one was a pleasant surprise and is the best movie of its kind since Paranormal Activity.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2012
Action/adventure, huh? More like suspense/horror with elements of drama! Chronicle is one of the craziest films I've seen in a while. It's about three teenage boys who happen to stumble across telekinesis powers hidden deep in the ground that was apparently brought to earth by aliens (though it was never actually stated but we can only assume since all logic points to alien creatures). When the teens leaves the hole... let's just say, they'll never be the same again! The movie takes the familiar theme of having one of the characters walk around holding a home video camera, which reminds me of the Blair Witch Project but a *thousand* times more exciting and suspenseful.
Some of these segments will truly blow your mind. Everything from money being ejected from a cash register, to a bus way up high in the air flying through a building, to the teenagers learning they have the ability to fly, to windows exploding and police officers and cars flying backwards... everything that makes special effects entertaining is right here. These powers are also used to trick people such as a lady who comes out of a grocery store and discovers that her vehicle had been parked in another spot, lol. The boys also use these powers in a negative way such as pushing an impatient driver off the road and over a guardrail. Not to mention they find out the hard way what happens when they exploit these special powers and believe they're unstoppable. Let's just say, the consequences will HAVE to be taken into consideration then.
The one thing that sort of bugs me is that the teen whose mother was lying hopelessly sick in bed... shouldn't he have at least *tried* to use his special powers to save her life? Anyway this same boy has a father (or stepfather) who's an absolute jerk and doesn't mind smacking his son around, and the telekinesis powers are most rewarding during this segment. Whereas the first 10 minutes are really boring and lousy, the final 20 minutes that show the ultimate confrontation on the streets of Seattle are enough to elevate the overall rating to 5 solid stars. Really strange movie. I'll have nightmares tonight! Recommended to everyone!
26 of 35 people found the following review helpful
I'm pretty sure that I've seen most if not all of the genre now called "found footage" films, going back the grandmother of them all "The Blair Witch Project." I've liked some and not others pretty much like any other film. One common thread is a theme of dread, relatively unknown actors and filmmakers, and low budget. Fine, no problem. Director Josh Trank throws a few wrinkles into the camera footage by not limiting the filming to just one camera. This iteration incorporates a friend's use of a camera (school reporter doncha know), hospital security cameras, helicopter cameras, etc. and then shows it edited together to get the movie.
Our 3 teenage "heroes" being a little tipsy coming from a party find a big hole in the ground and decide to slip into it and see what's what. Some alien remnants (I guess) are discovered that put out some intergalactic emission that gives the 3 boys supernatural powers. As they discover their powers, they begin to innocently play tricks on each other and eventually other people. As their use increases, so does their strength. As one points out, the gift is like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it becomes. Eventually they do attain strength and even the ability to fly. In other words, Superman/boy without the costume.
One of the boys, Andrew (Dane DeHaan) has always been an outcast and socially shy. His mother is gravely ill with some undisclosed respiratory problem and his father is an out of work fireman who hits the bottle and his son. His cousin Matt (Alex Russell) is one of those cool kids but not in the athletic hierarchy. Finally there is Steve (Michael B. Jordan) who is at the peak of high school cool. An athlete, class president and on his way to a political career. Eventually, Andrew realizes by using his powers he too can become cool, but alas he stumbles when he tries to bed one of his classmates. He's never the same. He becomes violent and tragedy ensues.
Cousin Matt becomes the eventual voice of reason and tries to reel in Andrew. The film certainly has its moments. The interaction between the guys seems legit. Yet there is something not quite right about Andrew complete personality change. It's like Bruce Banner changing into The Hulk. The other two are not affected this way. Even at a crisp 84 minute running time, the final flying/destruction sequence seems to go on forever. And I couldn't help thinking; did we really need to use the "found footage" technique with this story?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2012
The DP from Cloverfield should watch this film. This is how you do a "found footage" movie. The storyline is excellent and the execution was flawless.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2012
This was an ejoyable film of the sci-fi genre. The three main characters were believable and engaging. By far, the most entertaining scene was the section about the talent show.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2012
I have recently watched three "found footage" films, and come to the conclusion that I will probably avoid them in future. This is a shame, as I am sure the genre is here to stay, like reality TV (which also ought to go away), thanks to its lower production costs. It's come to seem too gimmicky for my taste. I haven't seen one yet which, the story being good, wouldn't have been a lot more enjoyable had it been shot as a conventional film. This film is no exception. And it's a real shame, because I love the story. It's particularly timely with the spate of superhero films we've been treated to recently, and it's an interesting twist on the idea of a geeky, introverted, loner kid suddenly gifted with super powers that Stan Lee popularized back in the '60s with Peter Parker/Spider-Man. This time, the geeky, introverted, loner kid doesn't become the hero, he becomes the villain, and the film very believably depicts why this is. Andrew Detmer, like Peter Parker, is a shy, unpopular kid in his school, but that's about as far as the similarity goes. Unlike Peter Parker, Andrew doesn't have a loving, supportive family to hold him up, instill decent values and respect for others into him, and give him a solid moral foundation. His mother might do this, but the terminal illness she'd battling makes her unable to, and effectively isolates Andrew from the one person who would or could. Her eventual loss will only reinforce Andrew's sense of the world as a profoundly inhospitable and unfair place. Andrew's father, an abusive alcoholic, is as far from a loving and supportive parent as he could be, and the torrent of scorn and contempt he pours on the kid only increases Andrew's sense of isolation and alienation. Combine this with the bullying he undergoes at school, and it's no wonder that, as the film develops, Andrew displays a marked lack of empathy or respect for other people. When this embittered, isolated boy suddenly finds himself possessing godlike powers, it's no wonder that he feels little restraint in lashing out at what seems to him a cold, uncaring world. His cousin Matt, and popular fellow student Steve, with happier homes and upbringings, are better grounded morally, and better adjusted socially, and thus better able to resist the corrupting influence of this power.
This is a great story idea, and it builds up to an appropriately dramatic climax. What a pity then that the makers of this film chose to tell it through the limited lens of "found footage." I dislike FF films because, for starters, they simply don't move as smoothly. Far too many scenes (no doubt for verisimilitude) are of boring people doing boring things, like the vast majority of home movies. I also miss the musical score of a traditional film, which, when good, can enormously enhance the drama, suspense, scariness, or humor of any given scene. Another problem is that the nature of medium makes it harder to identify with the characters; ordinary people always act different when talking to a camera, and so the characters come across different. FF, therefore, tends to make effective character development much harder. FF limits the perspective to the single, supposedly amateur camera, which often causes problems in exposition. And finally, the number one problem with these films is that I have yet to see one that didn't reach a point (usually pretty early in the film at that) where I didn't ask "why would anyone still be filming at this point?" Either you have to wonder at people who are ALWAYS filming, no matter how boring, trivial, or mundane the activity they are recording (and most people don't know anyone who does this), or when the action really gets going, and lives are in danger, you wonder why the character behind the camera would still be concerned about continuing the filming when his very life is on the line. Either way, it doesn't seem very credible, and hurts suspension of disbelief. I can't think of a single found footage film that I REALLY enjoyed. The style always seems not only to limit the way in which the story can be told, it also seems to magnify problems like bad acting and bad direction. It simply doesn't work for me, and the final result never feels believable in the way that it seems like it should be, and the makers obviously intend it to be. Even in the case of this movie, the end result was a film whose story I liked, but I probably won't ever care to watch again, whereas if it had been shot as a conventional movie, I'd probably eagerly add it to my video library.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2014
Chronicle, like Unbreakable, Kick-Ass, and Sam Raimi's Spiderman trilogy, deals with ordinary people who gain extraordinary powers and their struggle to use them responsibly. The key difference with Chronicle is the presentation, which is filmed in a found footage style.
The documentary camera work lends itself well to the first act, which is a very believable interpretation of a typical high school experience. A shy kid Andrew records his life on film, and we slowly get to know him through a variety of scenes that depict his classmates, abusive drunk of a dad, and everday struggles.
Andrew's teen woes take an unusual turn the night him and a couple of buddies stumble upon a glowing rock in an underground cavern them imbues them with otherworldly abilities. All 3 gain superhuman strength, the ability to levitate objects, and finally the ability to fly.
This is where Andrew's turbulent personal life takes a toll. His rage towards his dad and the predicament of his dying mother quickly turns to violence. All havoc breaks loose as Andrew takes on his self-proclaimed identity of an "apex predator." It's up to his 2 superhero friends to bring this destruction to a peaceful resolution.
Chronicle may not break new ground in comparison to the genre films that came before it, but it's simple style and unambitious story make for enough entertainment that I can easily rate it 4 stars and recommend it all Sci-Fi fans.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2014
I enjoyed this strange, chaotic tale of alien (or perhaps some other) influence that renders three high school boys telekinetic powers. As their confusion and power grows, so also does their strife with each other. With increasing power, they invariably commit more and more powerful mistakes. A genuine inspection of the ancient concept of "hubris", defined herein as the pride in one's own power or abilities which eventually brings their inevitable downfall.