Chronicle has one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Unfortunately, the movie itself isn’t even a fraction as good as the trailer. I wanted this movie to be so much better.
If you could have any super power in the world, what would it be? It would be to fly, right? Well, I would have picked magnetism, but flying is cool too, I guess (plus, Magneto can also fly). Chronicle poses just that question to a trio of high school students in a film that could have been astounding, but instead ends up mediocre at best. I guess we’ll always have the trailer.
The biggest problem with this movie is that it’s another found-footage film. While it being a super-hero found-footage movie might have been its original appeal, all I can see is limitations now that I've watched it a second time. The conceit gets in the way of the story, especially towards the end. That said, I don’t think the movie would be anything at all without the whole found-footage thing. So it’s like a catch-22, really. It doesn’t work either way.
Another problem is the whole high school setting and characters. While The Wire's Michael B. Jordan does play a convincing cool-kid-at-school, the other two super-powered characters just feel like they’re missing something. They’re either too angst-ridden or too laid back. They also look like they’re acting, which is never a good sign. I had a hard time relating to these characters. Sure, I was in high school many moons ago, but placing this film in that setting makes it harder for me to connect to the events that follow. Again, it’s a catch-22. The best parts of the film are when the characters are just goofing off or playing football in the air like high school students would do, but then again, I found these characters annoying because of their reckless youth. This film really can’t win in my eyes.
Chronicle isn’t all bad, however. The airborne football scene is enthralling, and the gee-whiz-we-have-powers parts are really enjoyable the first time you see it, but the rest kind of falls apart, especially the ending, which is too much like Akira for its own good, and gets there too quickly, so it feels like a rush job.
Overall, the trailer for Chronicle was so much better than the final product. I really wanted to like this movie, but it was mediocre and leaning toward crummy. But hey, you might like it. It’s not for everybody, but for who it’s for, those people might really get a real kick out of it. It will find its audience. I just don’t happen to be it.
Chronicle’s special features aren’t bad, they’re just nothing special, much like the movie itself. This disc’s main special feature is an extended director’s cut, but, alas, like most “director’s cuts” (excluding Blade Runner’s, of course), it isn't very different from the theatrical version. There are some extra scenes of the boys just talking about their powers, but it doesn’t add much to the film. Next up is the deleted scene. That’s right, “scene,” not scenes. It’s only a few seconds long (I don’t even think it’s an entire minute), and it’s of that one moment with the blonde girl in the kid’s house that you can see in the trailer, but that was excluded from the theatrical version. The back of the box calls this scene, “incredible.” Well, it’s certainly not incredible, I can tell you that much.
There’s also something called, “Pre-Viz,” which I’ve come to learn is the term for showing scenes that are pre-rendered before the actual action is put in the movie. Think storyboarding, but moving, and all blocky. That’s actually pretty cool. It allows you to see just how the scenes were put together, and it reminds me of a first-generation Playstation game. I liked it. There’s also a “Camera Test,” which features scenes from the movie but with different actors playing the roles. And while I’m not too fond of the actors they eventually found for the picture, I’m glad they got rid of these guys. They pretty much suck. The excellent trailer rounds out the rest of the special features.