Monday, 6 February 2012

Xcursus: Chronicling the Chronicle Movie (Review)

What would you do if you happened to develop superpowers? This is exactly the crux of Chronicle. Directed by Josh Trank, the movie revolves around three Seattle high school boys. The starting of the movie basically deals with the different worlds that these 3 guys come from & once they begin developing their powers is when the film really gets the ball rolling.

The movie is filmed in a "found-footage" style a la Cloverfield & Paranormal Activity. But I think it makes use of the medium a lot more effectively than either of those films because the screenwriter Max Landis & director cleverly: a) found a way to get rid of the shaky shots that plagued Cloverfield (though I know that's part of this genre of filming, it still irked me a great deal) & b) it doesn't stick to just one or two sources for the footage like PA, but automatically switches to a different source as soon as the first one is deemed unusable.

The first half of the film is a thrilling joyride that has loads of "Oooh" & "Aaah" moments that continue to keep things interesting. The interactions between all the characters, their situations & everything that gets them to their respective destinations in their stories don't feel contrived or "formulaic" in any way as most superpower movies tend to be. It all feels very real & this makes you empathize with the characters even more even if you know they aren't going on the right path.

This all is of course, due to Trank's fantastic direction & the commendable acting by the lead trio Michael B. Jordan (Steve) & especially Dane DeHaan (Andrew) & Alex Russell (Matt). After the initial buzz generated by Chronicle, Trank was tipped as being a possible director for the Fantastic 4 reboot & I think if Marvel was actually thinking about it (which we now know might not be true as Trank had absolutely no intimation about the same) that it would be a step in a right direction. I think he's really made an engaging gritty movie & brought out the best in all the actors especially Dane imo did a really top-notch job for a teen action movie like this. Even though his character does some pretty crazy shit, you know where he's coming from & you feel for his character. To some extent. :) I loved the entire friendship track of the movie as it didn't feel like the trio was acting at all & seemed very natural- which definitely helped the found-footage aspect of the film. That whole segment supplied PLENTY of laughs to keep you satisfied, & unprepared for the dark second half.

The cinematography & editing also needed to be given credit as some shots are REALLY well done & simply take your breath away- so much so I was actually thinking that this movie needed to be in 3D- & I'm one of those who actually think that 3D has now just become an overused Hollywood gimmick. The way some shots are cut & edited lighten the sometimes emotionally heavy moments.

Now onto the visual effects- one word: Splendid. I think whatever you've seen in the trailers should be enough testament to that- the flying, the car crushing, all of it is really well executed & hence doesn't distract you away from the movie.

The only main grouse that I did have with the movie? Towards the end of the film I think certain scenes & moments were added to just amplify the drama that was already present. There's some pretty unnecessary excess damage in some scenes for no reason but pure spectacle imo.

Now if you're wondering why I've posted this movie review on my X-Men blog, it's pretty much because of the obvious parallels between the two. Towards the climax of the film the intense midair dialogue between cousins Andrew & Matt reminded me SO MUCH of the clashing arguments of Magneto & Professor X! And one of my friends with whom I went for the movie also brought up the similarities in the psychotic madness of Phoenix in X3 & that of Andrew here.

What I did love in this flick that you won't get in any X-Men movie or any comic book movie for that matter is this- just cos you got your leading characters developing superpowers doesn't mean you'll find them fighting crime, making sacrifices for the greater good no matter what. That's just not how it would roll in real life. We are human after all. I was just thinking to myself while watching the movie that it's probably the reason why we weren't born with such powers after all- cos someone somewhere would most definitely try to abuse it.

One of the taglines for Chronicle is "Not all heroes are super". Well if you are into this whole genre of movies, then this flick will unmistakably be super for you! Definitely catch it at your local cinema! I'd rate this movie a B+

Seen Chronicle yourself & have something to say about this review or the movie itself? Leave your comments below.

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