I love it when a good movie just sneaks up on me and falls in my lap. In this day and age where studios always want to over-hype their major releases that always leaves room for some of the lesser-knowns to get through. I managed to catch a trailer or two of "Chronicle" on television but the first exposure was online. Even though I've reached the saturation point where the "Cloverfield" recovered video footage technique has gotten old (thanks much "Apollo 18" for cementing that), a premise of teens with supernatural powers that get out of their control was too hard to pass up.
High school students Stephen (Michael B. Jordan), Matt (Alex Russell) and Andrew (Dane DeHaan) make an incredible discovery while snooping on someone's property during a party one night. It leads to the three of them developing extraordinary telekinetic powers none of them understand. They slowly learn to control the abilities to use them to their advantage, but the more that Andrew's home life gets out of control, the more he begins to use his powers maliciously.
I know I criticized some movies out there as being filler flicks and "Chronicle" could have easily fallen into that category. A "filler flick" is a movie that was obviously done and released just so that we would have something to tide us over until a major franchise releases their latest movie. Just like I said this new "Battleship" is with the "Transformers" franchise. Or how "I am Four" was for just about any Marvel film. However, there was something more appealing about this one.
Namely it was the fact that I see in "Chronicle" what could have been a class of X-Men that had not yet found Professor X. These are three kids that have super abilities and have no idea what to do with them or how to use them. It's not really a lot different from when young folks stumble into tons of money. They are not yet mature enough to know how to handle it responsibly. The same thing goes for the super powers. So what we end up witnessing is what happens when these kids get out of control with no one able to reign them in.
The archival video footage technique works well in this particular movie for the most part except for a couple of instances. Like when one of the boys takes the camera to his friend's funeral. Who would really do that? I can't even count the number of funerals I've been to and I have yet to see a video camera at any of them. I was even leery to take my regular camera to the ones that I did go to.
"Chronicle" hits it high point at its finale when things finally come to a head with Andrew. That's when they really showcase the full extent of the boy's abilities. Amazingly, it all looks pretty realistic. Especially the part when a news copter is in the scene shining a light on the entire thing. But more than that is how well the kid actors depict their emotions getting out of control while their powers do the same. It made for a very tense moment that had been built up to perfectly throughout the film. I wish they would have left it at that instead of a final few minutes that felt a bit tacked on for posterity sake.
If it won't be a while before I see another one of these mockumentary movies then I think I'll be just fine. Although something tells me I may still watch "Project X". Still, it was good to see that "Chronicle" did not disappoint by proving that it was more than just a filler flick. It was the perfect joint to see in theaters due to the special effects and a corresponding story to round it out.
My rating: B +