Chronicle (2012) Review: You’ll Like It So Much That You’ll Throw Yourself Down The Stairs

And here’s the best part: each one of the characters is totally identifiable and charismatic in his own way – this is extra important when giving them powers that you wish you had.

But what is it that they do with them at first? Try to fight evil and the usual pablum?

No.

NO, DAMN IT!

No, that would be stupid! They use their powers to screw around at the mall and such! Why? Because you totally would too, and you totally know it! Don’t lie! In fact, none of them really try to use it to fight any sort of crime whatsoever. It just never crosses their minds because, well, they’re just a clique of teenagers.

And so when they just goof off with their newfound abilities, it’s just all the more entertaining. They really resonate; they’re likeable. They’re not necessarily people you revere in awe, but when they’re shown trying to use their powers to build lego towers, make toys float around the toy store to scare little girls, or even to enhance their skills at beer pong, they’re definitely no-less than captivating.

Hell, at one point, they come to the realization that they can freaking fly. After a bit of haphazard accelerated jumps and bails, they throw on some full-blown ski-gear and take to the stratosphere.

BECAUSE SO WOULD YOU.

Chronicle (2012) picture
Andrew uses his telekinesis to cop a feel.

As an added bonus, Andrew even takes to levitating the camera around himself so that he can be included in shots wherein he’s alone. This is just one of the clever quirks thrown in by director Josh Trank. Naturally, it does away with the usual “first-person character” a la Hud from Cloverfield, in which the vantage point and manner in which the camera is held becomes part of the character, and leaves him as this weird, invisible composite. The only proper remedy is to have your character never shut his noise hole. It has to be, because you rarely see him – it’s tough to identify with a character without a face. On that, you can trust me.

As another interesting example of casual but enjoyable dialogue tossed between characters, upon seeing his friend’s skill at moving cameras, one character quips “See? That’s really cool. I can’t do stuff that takes, you know – finesse. Yesterday, I tried to type my name and split my keyboard in half.”

See? It’s cool because we’re stupid, and we’d do that too.

But what starts off as the psychic equivalent to Internet trolling eventually gains some momentum, and by the third act, we finish things with an epic brawl, akin to the likes Dragon Ball, Akira, or any video game that meets similar qualifications. It’s built up really well, has an excellent pay-off in terms of seeing the true extent of the powers, and is once again shot in a way that’s both stylistically congruent and innovative.

Chronicle (2012) picture
They even trash talk in mid-air.

Obviously, if you saw two guys flying through the city, throwing buses at each other, you’d film it on one of the many devices available today with a built in camera, be it a laptop, cell phone or something of the sort. In the end, it leads to the requisite achievement of wide-shots, but each perspective is unique in terms of quality. Even the news and police helicopters lend an excuse for a bird’s-eye-view.

But is it perfect? No, the low budget becomes kind of obvious during the flying scenes, but that’s really the only gripe toward this movie. Yes, you could say that the characters never do anything truly relevant with their powers, but that’s the point. It’s not about having a higher purpose, it’s about the close relationship between the characters. Here, the intimate undercurrents are made all the more tangible through – you guessed it – handheld style.

The Verdict: [rating:4.5]

Goddamn it, reader – this one is a definite watch. I don’t care who you are; if someone stands between you and this movie, FIGHT THEM. That’s the only way to go about it, really. It’s a movie that gives us a fresh look at something trite, and as such, it stands on its own. It’s tailored to a YouTube generation raised on vlogs, video games and anime, but still manages to cement its premise in an execution most excellent. It’ll hold your attention from start to finish, without even being in 3-D.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-M5Qx57_UU

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