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Chronicle

Chronicle

What She said:

She

Chronicle is a 2012 flick about three boys who find some sort of alien rock and afterwards begin to develop superhuman telekinetic powers.  Sounds awesome, right?  Well, it’s not.  It’s really, really not.

While is presents with an 86% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I’d say that this movie is about as rotten as they come.  First of all, it’s your classic shaky-cam, found footage type of film.  Strike one.  And the found footage style isn’t even done well here—it’s cheesy, of poor quality, and is not particularly compelling.  Secondly, despite the critics’ cheers, I thought the performances were pretty bad in this movie.  Strike two.  Considering we’re supposed to be watching these boys be boys, I thought they were somewhat forced and contrived.  To top it off, this movie doesn’t even benefit from continually decent special effects.  Strike three.  There were moments when the kids were making things fly around, but it looked like bad cartoon artwork.  Sorry, three strikes is all I’m giving you.

And that is a disappointment for me, because I like the concept of this film.  Kids finding something alien and taking on superpowers—it feels so E.T. to me.  But it’s so poorly executed in this film that there’s really nothing magical about the skills these kids acquire.  On the upside, we do get to see a sort of origins story of the supervillain.  But you also see that twist coming a mile away, and so it’s not particularly insightful.  These kids seem like jerks and punks from the outset, and so they’re hardly worthy of receiving superpowers.  I actually spent most of the movie wanting to punch these teenagers instead of feeling enthralled by what they were encountering.

Chronicle

So many moments in this film feel forced, and that’s due, in part, to the found footage styling.  Important details are left out, seemingly out of laziness, and yet it’s ok because well, we just didn’t have the footage that explains that bit.  The general premise is that the one kid decides to document his existence and so he starts carrying a camera around with him all the time.  Even with today’s narcissistic teenage generation of Snapchat and the like, we don’t see kids filming every moment of their mundane lives.  Beyond that, we actually meet another girl who is working on her own self-indulgent blog.  We learn nothing in particular about this blog, other than that she, too, documents her entire life by camera for it.  Must be riveting to watch her do her hair and makeup in the morning.  Oh, who am I kidding, she was effortlessly pretty and probably has to do none of that to look amazing for school.  So, you get it.  These kids are not interesting and they’re not likable.  And that’s actually shocking, considering that the three main characters here can fly. 

Way too much is left open-ended and up to the viewer’s imagination.  I don’t want to just watch kids goof off for an hour and a half.  I want a little more insight, richer character and plot development.  You’ll notice that I didn’t even go into the details of the names of the characters or the actors who portrayed them because, well, who cares?  I just want to forget this movie happened and move on.  Don’t waste your time, unless you’re the super “outside the box” type who might like creating your own movie in your head while watching boring images on screen.

Thumbs down.

Chronicle

What He said:

He

Every once and a while a movie comes along that surprises audiences and critics alike. Chronicle is one of those movies. The movie was made for $12 million dollars and brought in almost $127 million in return. It also received good reviews from critics and the public. I didn’t think themovie looked like anything special at all to be completely honest, but when it got all that good press, I definitely noticed.

Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) has a pretty shitty life. There’s really no other way to put it. He gets picked on at school, his mom has cancer, and his dad is an alcoholic who is both verbally and physically abusive.
He has recently bought an old video camera and has decided to document his life. At first it seems like he does it to get proof of his father’s abuse, but considering he never shows it to anybody I can’t say I completely understood what his motivation was. Whatever his reasoning was, it doesn’t matter, because the new hobby only draws more attention. Kids at school pick on him even more. They think he is creepy and weird for walking around recording everything he does. I can’t say that I blame them either. When he does stuff like filming the girls at cheerleading practice, it does give off a little bit of a pervy vibe.

His cousin Matt, whom he drives to school with every day, invites him to a party one day. Matt isn’t too crazy about the whole camera thing either and when they get to the party Matt ditches him. I couldn’t tell if Matt didn’t want to be seen with him period or because of the whole “he’s a weirdo who films everything” factor. Regardless, Matt – more specifically a guy named Steve via Matt – comes a calling when he finds something strange.

Chronicle

Matt(Alex Russell)and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) found a mysterious object in a hole in the ground. It’s big, bright, and…well kind of hard to describe. So to make up for my lack of ability to describe it, I’m just going to link to an image of it. Long story short, it gives them telekinetic abilities. If you aren’t up on your nerd speak, it basically means they can move things with their mind.

Initially, the guys just goof off with it. Moving people’s cars, blowing girls skirts up, and screwing with people in Walmart are some of the things they do with their newly fund powers (it went on for too long and quickly got old). After a while, one of them starts to let the power go to his head and slowly becomes unhinged. After a while we’ve got a good old-fashioned superhero vs. villain scenario.

I’m going to just put it out there. I really didn’t like this movie at all. I thought it was awful. It felt amateur from top-to-bottom. I felt like I was watching a made for TV version of a superhero flick. The acting was distractingly bad. All three of the main actors were extremely annoying. Both their characters and performances were irritating. I didn’t buy that these kids were going through that at all. To quote the kids, I just wasn’t feelin’ it. I didn’t believe what I was seeing and it wasn’t because of the supernatural aspect of this movie, it was because the execution of the performances was so unbelievable. I truly felt like all three of the main actor’s performances was distractingly bad.

The effects started to get bad after a while too. The smaller scale displays of the characters powers looked fantastic. It looked like they were really moving objects with their minds. But as their abilities increased and the things they did became bigger-and-bigger the physics of it all simply looked fake. At the climax of the movie when the action is at its highest, I just couldn’t get into it, because it looked so fake.

Like I said before, the whole movie just felt very amateur to me. The movie had a decent premise – the whole evolution of a super villain as the main storyline was fairly unique – but the execution was as lame as it gets. I cannot fathom what it is people liked about this movie, because I didn’t like it one bit.

Oh and I really hate the found footage style. It just doesn’t work for me at all.

Rating: Thumbs down.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on January 7, 2013.

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