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Chronicle



Review by Sean Lynch

chronicle

Chronicle

chronicle

There are very few ways to reinvent a genre. The Superhero thing has been mastered, remastered, rebooted and re imagined so many times by this stage - it's hard to tell what a definitive Superhero movie should be. 

The same goes for the, comparatively, new "found footage" genre. We've seen pretty much everything they have to offer.

So, what's the next stage? Simple : Mash Ups!

Much like Cowboys & Aliens, Chronicle takes the best aspects of two uniquely identifiable cinematic languages and sows them together in a seamless way that, somehow, allows the film to hold up as a straight Superhero movie, a stand alone "found footage" flick and a thrilling product that combines the two.

Chronicle follows the POV lives of  three high school classmates (one jock, one brooding hunk and one social outcast) who suddenly gain telekinetic powers and super strength after coming in contact with a mysterious glowing orb they find one drunken night in a nearby forest.

From here, what we get is quite a fun little look into the world of real life teens working out how to use their extraordinary powers. 

Starting out with innocent pranks, fun and general teenage tomfoolery it soon becomes apparent that "with great power comes great responsibility" and the three are soon faced with a newfound sense of immortality and impunity which forces them to evaluate their own morality to ultimately decide where to draw the line about how far they should go.

Theoretically, there is nothing particularly wrong with Chronicle. It's a fun and very fresh idea, the young cast (including Wasted On The Young's Alex Russell) are truly wonderful and engaging - yet there is something about it that just doesn't work as a film we are expected to sit through for more than 90 minutes.

Granted Smallville tread the same ground for over a decade and drew few complaints from its fans, but if we are really honest with ourselves, the only real appeal of  an origin story is that we know in the back of our minds how cool the eventual superhero will be. 

Whether audiences want to admit it or not... we want to see the fun parts of a Superhero adventure, not just the elongated and gritty years leading them there.

Without the bonus of nostalgia and iconic fore-knowledge fueling our interest in these particular characters, there isn't anything for the excitement to build towards.

Chronicle tries its best to build a back story, to paint a picture of how heroes and villains are created (although, again, this territory has already been explored with a lighter tone in Megamind). But, ultimately, it feels like the film would've been better served by being edited into a neat 7 Minute Prologue that either played prior to the actual action movie people are hoping to see or as online supplement material for what will eventually be Chronicle 2.

If we ever see a Chronicle sequel, this will ultimately be the film you go back to and watch on DVD to give your Chronicle universe more substance. Until then, you'll just have to wait for the silly fun (that you secretly enjoy the most and Superhero flicks were actually created for) that'll eventually make this endless, detailed back story worthwhile.

3.5 out of 5


Chronicle
Australian release: 2nd February, 2012
Official Site: Chronicle
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Dane DeHaan, Ashley Hinshaw, Alex Russell, Anna Wood, Joe Vaz
Director: Josh Trank



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