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I love Sci-Fi movies, and fortunately Chronicle was a great, exciting film to see in the theater this weekend. We follow the story of the discovery of a mysterious source of power that has a life-changing impact on the trio that finds it. ‘Teenagers getting super powers’ isn’t exactly new territory, but Chronicle uses the found-footage device in a creatively awesome way.
1. Awesome Trio; the three teenage boys who discover a mysterious source of telekinetic ability have a great group dynamic. Andrew (DeHaan), the troubled teenager who begins obsessively documenting his day-to-day life, begins to crack under the pressure of an alcoholic father and extremely ill mother. He quickly masters the gift, gaining a stronger relationship with both his cousin, Matt (Russell) and Steve (Jordan). It’s not hard to like Steve, the popular and handsome soon-to-be president. He’s extremely charming, and genuinely a nice guy. Pretty early on, it’s clear that Andrew’s a disturbed kid dealing with some personal demons. He never quite wins my sympathy over, but he’s a pretty complex character. Matt really surprises me though; he initially starts out more annoying than charming, but ultimately wins me over.
2. Multiple Found Footage; the film executes the found-footage device in a way that I haven’t quite seen before. The film not only pulls from one source of found-footage, but multiple sources. When we first meet the character Casey (Hinshaw), a video blogger (and Matt’s love interest); we begin to see that the film readily jumps from one lens to another. If there’s a camera present, we’ll mostly likely see through it at least once. The way it weaves into the larger narrative as a whole is pretty cool, and luckily enough for the audience Andrew becomes very obsessed with the idea of constantly recording.
3. It feels realistic… well almost. Perhaps the effect of the film being found-footage possibly helped, but the film feels like a realistic take on “What if I got super powers?” All three teenagers test their powers, first starting out as harmless pranks and as the powers heighten so do the stakes. It progresses in a steady pace, although Andrew’s desperation felt a little rushed. The film also isn’t extremely careful with the handheld camera illusion, as sometimes I question how stable a camera can be in the hands of someone who’s scared for their life, but most found-footage films seem to fail at keeping that in mind.
Overall this movie was a sci-fi joyride that utilized the found-footage effect in a way that had me on the edge of the seat. Although there were some moments that were a little dramatic and predictable, like the somewhat expected showdown between the fallen and the righteous, it’s an exciting thrill-ride that leaves you satisfied.