Chronicle Blu-ray Review
Three high school students find a glowing meteor under the ground. When they get home they discover they have telekinetic powers – the ability to move things with their mind.
Much like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT or CLOVERFIELD, CHRONICLE is filmed in a found footage documentary style. Meaning all the footage is pieced together either by characters filming with their own camera or security cameras. It’s meant to look real. Obviously as mentioned this technique has been done before, but those for the most part have always been horror films. And while those aforementioned have been creative and ground breaking, the technique is beginning to wear thin. What uniquely separates CHRONICLE from the bad is that it explores the teenage angst, insecurities and selfishness all while being an origins superhero film.
As the one with the camera documenting their new gifts, the majority of our time is spent with Andrew (Dane DeHaan). With a bed ridden mother dying of cancer and an abusive drunken father, Andrew is understandably a social outcast. School is just as bad as he has never had a girlfriend and gets bullied regularly. Andrew’s only friend is his level headed Cousin Matt (Alex Russell) who has a desire to do good in the world but lacks motivation. This observation is made by the popular class president Steve (Michael B. Jordan) who always applies himself. Regularly strangers the three form a tight bond after their abnormal experience and agree to not let others in on their secret.
CHRONICLE opens our eyes to a reality version of a young person gaining super powers. What would a kid do if he discovered he was able to move things with his mind? First they toy around with each other by throwing baseballs at one another’s face while the other tries to stop it. Then they switch to pranking strangers by moving cars, grocery carts or little kids stuffed animals. Slowly branching themselves out, they realize the length their powers can reach – particularly Andrew who has a special finesse with his control. Pretty soon they discover flight. What do they do next? Go as fast as they can and throw a football around.
These teenage reactions are funny and relatable. But when bullied Andrew begins to take his gifted powers a little too far, the seriousness sets in and the importance of responsibility and reason becomes a driving factor. Since Andrew is usually the one in control of the camera, the audience is able to witness firsthand the terrible treatment he receives. This allows CHRONICLE the ability to achieve the difficult feat of having the audience understand and sympathize with the birth of a super villain. It’s actually quite heartbreaking as Andrew clearly pushes away the new friendships and trust.
CHRONICLE is not without its faults. Despite the clever use of Andrew using his powers to control the camera so he can be in the shots as well, there is an all too convenient camera wielding love interest for Matt so we can get some extra camera shots elsewhere and care a little more about him. A lot of these moments were noticeably forced and some perhaps could have even been left out. But the unique commentary about teenagers, family and bullying brings a welcomed freshness to a redundant genre. This unconventional superhero film is much more similar to UNBREAKABLE with a mix of CARRIE than the peppy comic book styles of SPIDERMAN. So keep that in mind. For me I would choose this “with great power comes great responsibility” story anytime.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1.85:1) The video quality in CHRONICLE is great and that works just fine as found footage home video quality has become near flawless.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound is equally wonderful in CHRONICLE adding the right sound mixing for the desired powers in use. Although the great quality is a little unbelievable if this was actual found footage of home videos.
Deleted Scene (1:10): A very unimportant scene of Matt and Casey making breakfast.
Pre-Viz (7:48): This is strictly CGI animatics with voice over during the first flight sequence and the entire ending of CHRONICLE.
Camera Test (3:58): A basic shot for shot scene during CHRONICLE’s diner scene with the boys using their powers. However this has three different actors standing in.
Theatrical Trailer and Sneak Peaks