Review by Sean Lynch
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Australian release: 2nd February,
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Dane DeHaan, Ashley Hinshaw, Alex Russell, Anna Wood, Joe Vaz
Director: Josh Trank