Superpowers lead to troubles in Chronicle
What would you do if you found a strange hidden crystal that contained superpowers? Well, if you tried to touch it and obtain those powers, you would probably have the same fate that Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Steve (Michael B. Jordan), and Matt (Alex Russell) had in the latest “found footage” superhero flick “Chronicle.” This is the first feature film made by new film director, Josh Trank.
“Chronicle” is the story of three high school teenagers who find a strange crystal in an underground cavern that is near a rave party the three boys attended earlier in the film. When the boys find this crystal, they are intrigued by it, and like anybody who has found something appealing, they want to have a good look at it so they can examine and possibly touch this unusual gem. Once the boys touch this crystal, they suddenly possess the powers of telekinesis, flight and increased strength. However, those powers don’t come into play until later in the film.
Instead of saving the world from evildoers like most superhero films do, “Chronicle” takes a different approach. It asks an interesting question to its viewer that not a lot of films that deal with superpowers try to do: “What if these characters use their superpowers to pull pranks on others, and to improve those certain individuals’ lives, rather than the people around them?” “Chronicle” does just that; it takes on the story approach that is unique and feels original, rather than just going with the generic superhero tale.
These high-school teens decide to use their powers to pull some light pranks on some customers at a local toy store, rather than finding the nearest bank robber in town and imprisoning them. After a few scary events occur with the super powered teens, the group decides only to use their powers for safe fun among themselves, and stay away from potential trouble. This agreement is quickly broken when Andrew’s home life becomes worse than it was near the beginning of the film.
Andrew lives with a mother who has had a long-term illness for quite some time, and he also lives with a drunk and abusive father (Michael Kelly.) When Andrew starts to believe the world is coming down on him, that both Steve and Matt are no longer his friends, and that he is slowly becoming a joke at school, Andrew slowly turns to the dark side. Several unfortunate outcomes strike him after he makes these poor decisions.
The film was impressive and had an interesting take on the traditional superhero mythology that many moviegoers would want to see. It manages to be original by taking some chances that not a lot of lower-end superhero films try to attempt.
The three lead characters of this film were very interesting to see on the screen together. Andrew had a unique personality with a dark side that we get to see later in the film. Steve is a reminder of the “cool guy” with all the right moves in almost any group of friends. Matt was a very likable guy since he was the cousin of Andrew, so whenever Andrew started to have a bad attitude, he not only had a close friend, but a close family member nearby as well.
Another impressive element of “Chronicle” is the way that Trank chose to have the “found footage” look to it, while also having two other film perspectives. One such perspective was the security camera’s point-of-view in certain parts of the film, and the other a traditional movie camera look that served as a purpose whenever Andrew was not filming the present event.
It was interesting seeing the super teens fly and use their super powers, whether it was for a good or bad reason. We also get to see the realistic consequences and rewards to these characters whenever they try to use their powers in public.
One flaw of the film was that the editing was a little choppy. There are scenes where it’s noticeable that there had to be at least two takes for certain lines since the character would either be in a different spot on the camera, or some of their dialogue would get cut off randomly. Trank might have been going for an amateur look to the film with this process, but it seemed unprofessional.
Another problem was that there are times when you don’t know who’s perspective you are watching. Even though that is unique, and we get to see the story from several different characters and different kinds of cameras, it gets a little confusing after awhile.
Overall, “Chronicle” is a great film that has something interesting and new to say about superhero movies and the “found footage” genre.