The Score: "Chronicle"

Friday, Feb 3, 2012 9:00AM

Written by J. Bachelor

Watch Trailer
  • Chronicle
  • Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly
  • February 3, 2011
IGN Movies 4/5
Post Crescent 3/4
Adelaide Now 3.5/5
TVNZ 7/10
Empire Online 4/5

Movie fans looking for a little action and carnage are invited to kick off the new month in high gear as the alternative superhero movie Chronicle forces its way into theaters today.

Although superhero movies have become somewhat common as of late, Chronicle offers viewers a different perspective on an oft-told tale.

The superhero movie has had countless reboots and reinventions over the years, transitioning from light to campy to dark and then back again. The genre has been deconstructed by M. Night Shyamalan and turned into an art-form by Christopher Nolan, while in recent years it has become a staple of the summer movie season, with comic book adaptations dominating the multiplexes. But it's never been given the found footage treatment - until now that is.(IGN Movies)

The film's main characters begin as typical high school kids who stumble upon something that changes their lives forever.

All you need to know is that three teenage friends will be never be the same again physically or mentally after exploring a hole in the ground that has appeared in the woods on the outskirts of town. Two of the trio are mid-level jocks in the pecking order at high school. Steve (Michael B. Jordan) is a gregarious, anything-goes kind of guy. Matt (Australian up-and-comer Alex Russell) is arguably the most well-read party animal in America. The third player in proceedings, Matt's cousin Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is a loner, a loser and a lost cause in the eyes of virtually everyone. Until he re-emerges from that hole with, err, certain abilities he never had before.(Adelaide Now)

Trouble arises after one of the characters takes his newfound powers to a very dark place. The film raises the bar then raises it again, offering audiences more than the usual "fly around and break stuff" hero flick.

But then, after one of the trio abuses his powers in manipulating a car accident, causing a rift in the already fractious friendship, the movie accelerates astronomically, building and building and building again, to a climax so spectacular it borderline demands a standing ovation. In a world where trailers routinely give away the whole package in under three minutes, here is that rare thing: a movie that makes its promise and then over-delivers on it in a way that genuinely takes your breath away.(Empire)

Critics praised the special effects as well as the film's cast, who manage to draw viewers into the film without ever seeming cheesy.

The young actors are charismatic, sympathetic and charming. The flying effects are first-rate, a marvelous next-generation version of something we've seen done reasonably well since "Superman." This film strips that "Spider-Man" animation away and shows us human beings frolicking in the clouds -- convincingly. The video gimmick has been done to death, and on a couple of occasions, how we get the footage we're watching falls outside of the movie's own logic loop. The gimmick never lets you forget that this is "Cloverfield" meets "Fantastic Four."(Post Crescent)

Critics say that while it is no masterpiece, Chronicle's interesting characters, cool special effects and fresh spin on the superhero genre keeps the film interesting enough to be enjoyable.

It's actually fresh, dark and a clever approach to what essentially could be a tired genre - we've all seen the superheroes having fun with their powers kind of films before; but by giving this one a slightly more disturbed and psychotic take on it (thanks to the performance of DeHaan who manages to juggle the life of an abused and angry teen as a troubled Andrew), it feels a lot more plausible and realistic because of the original take and cliché avoidance. The effects (for the most part) are pretty well done too - and while the climax feels a little over the top at times, Chronicle represents an intelligent, smartly made new entry into the genre.(TVNZ)
The story moves along from a John Hughes-tinged high school "what would I do" fantasy fulfilment, as the boys come to grips with their powers, onto something considerably less heroic, with moments of genuine shock and acts sat firmly in the grey area of morality. If each generation gets the superhero they deserve, this generation is in trouble. Batman may be a psychopath, but he at least sets out to protect the innocent; you most likely wouldn't want these Seattle super-kids to come to your rescue. And they probably wouldn't anyway. Spider-Man's mantra has always been "with great power comes great responsibility". But in Chronicle these "heroes" aim to misbehave. This is a sharp, prickly and mean-spirited shot in the arm to the superhero genre.(Wired)

Check out a trailer for "Chronicle" below:

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