It was only about two weeks ago that I saw the first trailer for Chronicle and I’ll admit it looked interesting. The idea of an alien artifact giving people powers is definitely not a new concept, but it is rare to see alien powers in a non-comic book superhero way. So when I saw the trailer I do admit that I was excited and yes I did think this would be a decent action flick to kind of kill some time with. Was my assumption right? Read on to find out.
As mentioned earlier, Chronicle is about three boys, Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell, and Steven (Alex Russell), who by chance one night stumble upon a strange artifact that somehow bestows upon them telekinetic powers. At first the trio use their new gifts for fun, but Andrew loses control and decides to use his powers for other reasons than what the trio originally intended.
Now if you are like me then when you saw the trailer you were expecting to see a cascade of scenes and sequences portraying the development of their powers and eventually ending in a fast paced action scene. Well my friends you get half of what you wished for. A majority of the movie does focus on watching the their powers develop. The movie is filled with various shots of the levitating objects, shifting of heavy objects without any touch, and of course high-flying soaring through the clouds. You heard me right; the trio eventually learn how to levitate their bodies to allow them to fly through the skies. These scenes were actually well done, being a good blend of fun and excitement. In fact I would say that these scenes were the perhaps the most action packed of the movie, but that’s not saying much. Unfortunately these scenes, like a good portion of the movie, are shot in that amateur cameraman style made famous in movies like Blair Witch and Cloverfield. The director decided to have Andrew be obsessed with filming life through a camera and thus the movie is shot as if we are watching through the lens of that camera.
This brings me to the first of my two major weaknesses of this movie. For me the camera work was once again bouncy and annoying and took away from the detail in the movie. Many of the faster scenes had plenty of bobbing, spinning, and shaking, while the slower scenes had more of a floating effect to them. Now this definitely wasn’t the worse camera work I’ve seen, but it still was not my ideal style for the trailer. Now there are some breaks from Andrew’s camera work in the movie, but a majority are just other cameras (i.e. security cameras, news choppers, other friends etc.), which are appropriate for the scenes, yet still annoying.
Despite the camera work, the movie still has some positive qualities to it. For one the visual effects are well-edited and not half bad graphic wise. Editing did a good job of blending the scenes together, and the graphic artists kept the power using scenes flowing and glitch free. The movie also didn’t drag too much for me as well even though there was little action or surprise in this film. I felt that they were able to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. The acting also wasn’t that bad as well, and the three main actors did a nice job capturing the teenage lifestyle down, while still maintaining some individuality in their characters. Perhaps the only exception to the acting would be DeHaan’s acting near the end, which was more ridiculous screaming than anything.
This brings me to my next big weakness, which is the “action” at the end. Instead of getting a flood of power attacks and clever use of powers, the audience gets a cascade of a screaming Andrew and a few floating cars from his temper tantrums. Matt manages to get a couple of moves in, but again it’s just constant images of the two on the ground and breathing heavily. The epic conclusion to this fight is also lame and is rather anti-climatic and let me down considerably. Other weaknesses to this movie include shallow plot line lacking any surprise or twist. casual dialog that is at points annoying, and the amount of darkness/depression in this film.
Chronicle is definitely what the title states, a collection of amateur camera work that portrays the evolution of Andrew. Although there is decent acting, smooth graphics, and some fun power scenes, the poor camera work and lack of story really diluted the film’s entertainment value. It’s not the worse movie I have seen in a while, but it also isn’t the best. I strongly recommend waiting to see this film on Netflix or Red box and only see it in theaters if there is no other movie for you. My scores for this movie are:
Action/Drama/Sci-fi (7.0 definitely more Drama and Sci-fi)
Movie overall: (5.0-5.5)
Check back later for my review on the Woman in Black and as always enjoy the movies!