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February 2012

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dannylionthe1st in moviewins

Chronicle (2012)

Movie win for me, movie fail for my mom. Chronicle is not a movie for everyone. Quite honestly, it shouldn't have been a movie that I enjoyed. I'm not a fan of "found footage" or "shaky cam" movies. In fact, I try to stay away as much as possible from them. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. This one works for me.

Summary: Three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.

Style: The movie is filmed basically first person handheld camera style. But it's not like Paranormal Activity where the camera is pretty linear. Instead, the movie  is much more spliced together. So it cuts a lot. For example: It starts out that the main character, Andrew, is in his room and next scene he's in the car with his cousin going to school. You don't see how he gets there, only that he's there. It does that a lot. One instant they're in a bed room, next their at school. It's almost as if these little snips of his life were the few that someone could find and they put it all together to get the story of what happened. This type of editing and filming works for this film. And I'll explain why in the story.

Story: The story mainly focuses around our Anti-hero Andrew. Quite honestly, there isn't a set protagonist or antagonist until the very end. And even then it's almost reluctant. Anyway, Andrew is the focus of the movie. So most of the scenes are either from his point of view (as he is the one who holds the camera) or pointed at him. The camera style works, because for most of the movie Andrew is the camera man. He's a kid, of course it'll be shaky and cuts in and out.

Characters: The very first scene shows us about Andrew and why he carries a camera with him. It starts out black and then you hear his dad beating at the door. Immediately, you know that his dad is drunk and is abusive toward him. And shortly after that you find out that his mother is bed ridden and severely ill. I felt sorry for the kid. Then you meet his cousin, Matt. Matt clearly comes from the exact opposite type home. You don't have to see his home to know he's good. He's very well adjusted and clearly doesn't have a problem at school or with friends as Andrew does. Andrew is the loner. The third and last of the three boys is Steve. He is introduced by paper first. It's clear that he's very popular and he's running for class president. He doesn't get physically introduced until later on. There is a little back story. A semi-love interest is introduced, but you can tell that that is not going to be a real big focus on the story. The three boys find something (never explained) underground and then much later you find out that they have powers. When did they discover their powers? It's never shown. One second they're underground, next they are playing in the yard and showing off their powers to one another. 

This is what I found interesting. These three boys are teenagers. Instead of going the typical route and deciding to become superheroes and saving people they don't. In fact, they don't even mention that fact. To me, they acted as any normal teenager would act. They didn't immediately show off their talents. In fact, the three decided to not tell anyone because they were afraid. I would be too. That's not to say they didn't use their powers in public. The trailer shows them using them and they do. They use their powers to pull pranks and have fun. Typical teenage pranks. They think about themselves and not about others, which I found pretty realistic, when it came to their powers. They were out to have fun. I'm not going to go further, because I don't want to spoil anything.

One of my favorite scenes is when they "reveal" their powers to their school. But they do it in such a clever way that the students don't even realize that these kids have powers. I really enjoyed that scene.

I liked the three boys and even the abusive father. I thought that the abusive father was very much in character the entire time even at the end. I can't say what happens, but my jaw was dropping at the scene. Steve's character was pretty consistent. I liked him because he was kind, and light hearted. He was one of those characters that when you're his friend he's your friend. Matt, however, was kind of dull character wise (and he actually got a lot more screen time than Steve did). The only reason why I found Matt's character interesting was because of his powers. Andrew (especially) and Steve had an easier time developing theirs, but Matt had a harder time. I really liked that. I liked that there was one person that the powers didn't come naturally too. You can see him work hard to develop his, but at the same time he doesn't care to use them as much as the other two. Which goes against him in a way. And Andrew, the main character, is the tortured soul of the movie. There were times when he got a little bit annoying, but at the same time it was understandable.

That being said, the rest of the few characters that were in there were pretty weak. Matt gets a love interest and she's rarely shown and there really is no reason for her to be around. Well, only one and that's as "the damsel in distress". Even that they don't play out (thank God!). They could have got rid of her character and expanded on Andrew's scenes toward the end. The others that have a few lines are very cliché. You have the brief bully, school slut (not joking. Sadly, this one is in the movie), gang members, and a few others.  

The Effects: Are okay. Don't really want to get into this one. Sometimes they're good and sometimes they aren't, but it didn't really take away from the movie for me. There was one scene where the effects weren't all that great, but the rest of the time it was okay.

Anything wrong with the movie? Yes, there are a few plot holes, questions and characters who really didn't need to be in it. But I personally didn't find them that distracting that I didn't enjoy the film. One question that never gets answers is what was it that gave them their powers. I mean, you see it, but it's never explained what it is. But I didn't mind because, for me, I find that there are things in life that never get explained. 

Verdict: I'm not a fan of handheld camera style or shaky cam and both are all over this movie. But it works for this type of film. I think they did a good job in making the teenagers "teenagers who discover they have super powers". It was fun watching in the theater, so, if you can I say you should. Maybe not after matinee, up to you. I saw it first show (which was the cheapest) and I didn't mind spending the money. This is a superhero(ish) movie. I think they did a pretty good job telling the story and I quite enjoyed it. I think the movie will probably have a greater effect if you watch it in theaters than at home. It's not a perfect movie, but I think it's enjoyable. I say this movie is a win.