By: Garrett Collins
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan, Alex Russell, Michael Kelly, Anna Wood, and Ashley Hinshaw
Well, you knew it had to happen eventually. After all, separately, both the super hero and found footage genres have generated a ton of scrap for studios over the last decade or so. However, there is a danger: super hero movies are expensive to do (for example, Iron Man 2 had a budget of $170 million), and found footage films are, well, cheap (last year’s Paranormal Activity 3 was produced for $5 million). So, why not do a film about guys who get powers, and have one of them filming it on one of their cameras. The result? A lot of non-finished conversations and scenes getting cut off because the camera turns off. How many genres are they going to do this to? However, the buzz around this one is that it was actually very good, and told a pretty good story all around. What did I think of it? Did it even come close to living up to what is being said about it?
Well, for the most part, no. First of all, the good things about it. The acting is so much better than this genre usually demonstrates. How good you may ask? Well, let’s just say that guys like DeHaan, Jordan, and Russell have more potential to end up like Joshua Leonard (from 1999’s Blair Witch Project, who still gets work and was actually in Shark Night 3D just last year) than Heather Donahue (also from Blair Witch, who has pretty much been non-existent in Hollywood for over a decade now and released a book about how to successfully grow a pot farm a couple months ago. No joke). Also, the scenes of them learning to fly were actually very well done. That is exactly how I would feel if I was able to do that! And, I am always a sucker for a ‘geek turns sheik’ kind of story, and this movie taps into it ever so slightly. The talent show and scenes immediately thereafter come to mind when I think of good feelings I had while watching this film.
Now, for the bad. I am sorry. I really must be out of the loop. Because, the ‘people using cameras to capture footage’ gig just does not intrigue me. Yes, there are always people saying, ‘turn it off,’ but the people holding the camera, no matter if they are high up in the sky or not, refuse to. It gets to the point of annoyance. Not as much as the plot holes in this thing, however. For example, if they can make a car fly off the road and into water, can’t they get it out if it’s upside down? Don’t give me the ‘he isn’t strong enough’ argument, as he made it go off the road with no problem. What, do they need Yoda to teach them how to get it out right? And, these guys are REALLY the first to find the hole from which they got their powers? A hole that, by the way, houses a light that looks like the underside of Stephen King’s IT in spider form? Finally, while I had heard raves about the finale, it really did nothing for me. Yes, it was refreshing to stop the documentary style of filming (like the switch that 2006’s Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon did), but, without giving anything away, think Cloverfield meets….Mr Smith from The Matrix. Cars flying and buildings crumbling. Sorry folks. I know it’s impressive to have scenes like this on a $12 million budget, but, the way all of it came to pass belonged in a different movie, and in this one they just had me rolling my eyes.
So, in conclusion, while Chronicle is better in a few regards than most found footage type films, it just comes off as a tired morality play about what dangers lie ahead for people that have powers and don’t know how to harness them. I’m sorry…if I wanted that, I would just read the thousands of comics that it originated from. Yes, I feel director Josh Trank has a really bright future in Hollywood. And, yes, this acting crew really showed they have good chops in this. But, like I said. Maybe it’s a sign of the times and I am getting too old to cover these things, but none, absolutely NONE, of the found footage stuff interests me. Even one about super heroes. Super heroes that…tear spiders from limb to limb and make teddy bears fly. No thanks. Now, where’s my latest issue of that one about the zombies…..
2.5 out of 5