Rated PG-13 for intense action and violence, thematic material, some language, sexual content and teen drinking
Chronicle was a surprisingly entertaining film that was helped by good special effects and a short running time.
Friends Andrew, Matt and Steve happen upon what appears to be some kind of alien meteor in the middle of the woods. After touching it, they develop special mind control powers that they have a lot of fun with. But while Matt and Steve have happy-go-lucky lives, Andrew's life isn't as fun. His mother is dying and his father hates him and beats him. All the pressures in the world start to build up and finally Andrew cracks, unleashing a storm of hell upon Seattle.
I didn't go in expecting much from Chronicle so I was happy with what I got. The trailers lead you to believe it'll be a hate-filled violent film, but it really was mostly fun until the end. You see three guys who end up with these tremendous powers just going out and enjoying them like you would expect teenagers to do. They don't turn into super heroes, they instead impress their friends with 'magic' tricks and lift up girls skirts and once they learn to fly, play football in the sky. They don't use their powers for good or evil, they use them for fun. But Andrew's past gives him a darker side that comes out early in the film when he accidentally (?) shoves a car into a lake. He is definitely the most moody of the group and once he snaps, it's all over for everyone. That's the stuff you see in the trailers. Cars flying through the sky, buildings exploding, fire and lightning... all good stuff but all within the last 20 minutes of a short film. And I liked that it was short because if it were any longer - if they had to throw in more of a story - it wouldn't have held up nearly as well. As much as I enjoyed the CGI and the three characters, if I had to deal with any more of them I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much. It's a throwaway film, but one of high caliber. The special effects were really well done. Certainly better than some movies with budgets 100x the size of this one.
Here's one thing I noticed after watching this film and Paranormal Activity 3 this weekend. There seem to be a lot of times during these found footage films, where the camera jumps, but the dialogue doesn't. How does that happen? If you turn off the camera to cause a picture jump, wouldn't the conversation also be chopped? And there were at least two points during Chronicle where it looked like we weren't seeing footage from either Andrew's camera or hot blond Casey's camera. I have to imagine that was a mistake on the filmmaker's part. And there was nothing in Chronicle that made me think we weren't in present day, so why was Andrew using a camera from the 1990s? My cell phone takes better video these days. I did enjoy his explanation for the whole videotaping... he just kind of felt like doing it. The movie didn't bother setting up the story nor explaining what this thing that gave them powers was, but I'm OK with that. Like I said before, this is a throwaway film - take it for what it is and enjoy it or don't. Just don't think too much about it.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked Chronicle. It wasn't an award winning film, but it was enjoyable for what it was. Good special effects and a short running time make this worth seeing.