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    February 2, 2012

    MOVIE REVIEW: CHRONICLE

    CHRONICLE (PG13)

    Genre: Drama/Science Fiction/Thriller
    Release Date: 1 February 2012
    Running Time: 83 minutes
    Distributor: 20th Century Fox
    Director: Josh Trank
    Screenplay: Max Landis
    Starring: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Ashley Hinshaw

    Plot: Three high school students make an incredible discovery, leading to their developing uncanny powers beyond their understanding. As they learn to control their abilities and use them to their advantage, their lives start to spin out of control, and their darker sides begin to take over. REVIEWS AFTER THE JUMP

    Review: Found-footage genre is a convenient form of entertainment to be mashed with other genre. Practically true, found-footage genre has always been a ‘great’ success mashing up with the horror (read ‘Cloverfield’, ‘Blair Witch Project’ and ‘Paranormal Activity’) – that, until a new blend of this arrives now in the form of superhero. ‘Chronicle’ is the product of this new mash-up, been a unique presentation on the origin of the young superheroes, narrated from the first point-of-view. As it is nevertheless, could ‘Chronicle’ ended up been another movie that most audiences may feel falling out of this found-footage format leaving it yet another unappreciated film or will ended up been grandiose and delicate?


    ‘Chronicle’ tells the story about three high school seniors whom possessing unexplained superhero powers following their mysterious encounter of an unknown entity in the woods, one night. Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is a reclusive school whiz who has issues with abusive alcoholic father (Michael Kelly) and his terminally-ill mother; while opting to buy a cheap video camera to record his life events. Matt (Alex Russell) is Andrew’s cousin who is outgoing and bright; while Steve (Michael B. Jordan) is the popular figure in the school who is also running for student board’s president post. Three of them take their new found and raw power to the test on the video camera, starting off with ways to trick people with their talent up till when they realized that with them getting more powerful each day that could prove dangerous to people around them. Unfortunately, Andrew is getting more aggressive and obsessive with his growing power, leaving the two with no choice but to halt him.

    ‘Chronicle’ is written by Max Landis, a young screenwriter and the son of famous director John Landis. What you should know is that this is Max’s first screenplay that has been turned up into a movie and the result is relatively bizarre but a spectacular piece of work. I have plenty to admire and respect despite having read a lot of non-satisfaction among those who have attended the preview screening. ‘Chronicle’ is a story about teenagers adjusting their life with their new superpowers – in both nuisance and anguish at the same time. It would have easily been a slight ripped off from any episodes of ‘Heroes’ but with the addition some spices of the unexplainable elements of ‘Cloverfield’ forms the plot of ‘Chronicle’ neatly.


    This movie is divided into three columns and Andrew is our window into this movie. The first column is all about the set up and character introductions. By far, Andrew draws a sense of sympathy and empathy around his character. He is a smart boy but found him embroiled in troubling issues with family and school life. The movie then picks up at the second act when the trio found a strange entity in the wood leading to their telekinesis. Unlike most superhero movies in which we have our lead actors going around in a skin-tight outfit, the trio goes for an experiment filming it. Simple to the core, not only the kids are exploring their power – out of naivety and nuisance but also sees them enjoying their life to the fullness of this ability with honesty in each of its account.

    The third act becomes the main deciding factor whether you will enjoy it or not. The reason is relatively due to the odds that Trank and Landis have finally raised the stake to suit the contemporary superhero genre. It’s about superhero against the bandit or the world; while we see the kids are given to choice to use their abilities to the good or evil causes. What you see in the beginning give this climax a satisfying set up.


    Unfortunately, the climax does not justify what the audience has seen earlier because it loses the focus and direction – at least not really in my case. Instead of setting the indifferent, it eventually becomes nothing but more than a ‘Magneto’-fueled vendetta for our anguish teenager who decided to use his abilities to against the world. It is not something you have not seen before but it is not as cliché as some of you have said. The problem with the general audience is that found-footage is never an easy sell or attention grabbing enough for them. So, the general, satire and lay-back audiences will find it disappointing due to lack of exposition on certain things – particularly how they obtained the power. For once, UFO is in their mind –again. The sudden change from delighting first hour to a dark finale may not help at all.

    In the end, ‘Chronicle’ is the most honest, authentic and pure interpretation of how teenagers would probably do when they obtained raw super powers. With a decent plot set-up to the finale at the Seattle downtown and believable melodramatic teenager problems; ’Chronicle’ is the sleeper hit in the making.

    P/S: I didn't realize that the review elaborated to 893 words =/

    MY RATING:
    Story: 3.5
    Casts: 4.0
    Cinematography: 4.0
    Effects: 3.5
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 14.8/20.0

    'CHRONICLE' is now showing nationwide.
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