‘Chronicle’ does found footage genre right, sets a tone for future

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With “Chronicle” the latest film to capitalize on the “found footage” popularity, a viewer gets the feeling it should have been released in the summer.

It’s likely that because of a $15 million budget and a cast of talented, but no name actors, it was shoved into a February release.

Compared to last year’s $200 million dollar train-wreck “Green Lantern,” which competed against other blockbusters, “Chronicle” is now against low quality genre films and romantic comedies.

That’s a shame because every other super hero film out this year has to hold a candle to this film.

A reviewer should avoid hyperbole. But “Chronicle” may well be the best superhero film since “The Dark Knight,” all the more impressive given the film is the directorial debut of Josh Trank, who is only 26.

In a nutshell the movie is the story of three teenage boys: Andrew, Matt and Steve.

All three gain telekinetic abilities from a chance encounter.

Much of the success of the film relies not on impressive effects, which it most certainly has, but on how real the boys relationship is with one another.

The audience gets the sense of awe and experimentation the boys have when seeing what they are capable of — the flying sequence alone is worth the ticket price.

We’re given the personal view point of Andrew’s camera to see how close these boys are, which makes the last act of the film all the more tense and heartbreaking when things head towards darker roads.

The last act is especially memorable.

Think “Carrie” meets “Cloverfield” and the hell-spawn they birthed grew up watching “Akira.”

The level of action matched by the internal struggle shows off a level of destruction and scale almost never seen in films like this, made all the more real with the shaky camera gimmick, where the entirety of the action set piece spans across Seattle from the perspective of security cams, the recording mounts on police cars, news helicopters and simple spectators filming on cell phones.

20th Century Fox, the company responsible for “Chronicle,” has been on a sci-fi roll since last year with the surprise critical AND commercial hits with “X-men First Class” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” but those could have easily been flukes.
Fox is notorious for bearing down hard on genre films making creative decisions that ultimately damage the validity of the property as seen in past train wrecks such as “Percy Jackson,” “Daredevil,” “Fantastic Four,” half of the “X-men” movies and “Alien Vs. Predator.”

Now is the film perfect, no but not a film out there is, I feel it could have benefited from a slightly larger budget to iron out some of the more shaky effects and one can tell content was cut in regards to the matt character but these are still ultimately nitpicks.

If anything “Chronicle” gives the promise of great things from fox in the years to come.

CHRONICLE

DIRECTOR: Josh Trank
ACTORS: Dane DeHaan (Andrew), Alex Russell (Matt) and Michael B. Jordan (Steve)
RELEASE DATE: Now in theaters