Chronicle Blu-ray reviewPosted 2:57 pm on Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 by John 'Spartan' Nguyen
Chronicle is one of those movies that completely took me by surprise. When I first saw the trailer, I thought it was going to be another teenage flick trying to capitalize on the whole found-footage craze while jumping on the generic superhero (Jumper, Push) bandwagon. Boy was I wrong. This is one of the best comic book/found-footage films out.
We’re introduced to Andrew, a troubled teen with a crappy life. His dad is an abusive drunk and his mom is really ill. He decides that from now on, he’d videotape everything to keep him sane and to document everything that’s happening in his life. So through most of the movie, we’re following his journey as he goes from zero to popular. He’s joined by his cousin Matt and new friend Steve as they discover a tunnel that leads to a mysterious giant alien crystal. Because they came into contact with it, the three friends gained the ability of telekinesis, which allowed them to move objects using their mind.
Once they discovered their powers, the movie starts to get really fun. What I love about this movie is that it shows teenagers using the powers to mess with people. Other superhero films would always have the main character become a hero right away, and we never truly get to explore their newfound powers with them. The found-footage style and the focus on mastering their powers make you feel like you’re discovering the excitement with them. My favorite scene is when they found out they can fly. And that’s what worked with this movie. It’s the camaraderie with our main characters and how relatable they are that makes you feel like you’re one of them.
I was really happy to see Andrew having fun with his friends and becoming popular at school, but as you can tell from the trailer, things start to go downhill. This is where it starts to feel like a superhero film, with good vs. bad. The last act felt like DragonBall and big epic comic book fights like Superman vs. Doomsday.
Chronicle has all the right ingredients for a very fun and entertaining found-footage superhero movie. Even though the movie is considered a superhero movie, it doesn’t really feel like one, since it reminded me of NBC’s Heroes. What would happen if real people had extraordinary powers? You have characters that you care about, cool superpowers, exciting journey, and the power of friendship and family. Yeah, sounds cheesy, but it moved me. So if you’re a fan of superheroes, you should definitely check this out.
The movie first starts out with Andrew using a crappy camera. The quality on the video was intentionally bad on purpose. Once Andrew upgrades his camera after losing the first one, the quality gets better. Even though it’s not believable that the movie can look this good with what Andrew can afford, it’s better than the alternative. The picture looks crisp and the imagery looks great. It’s so great that you start to think that there’s no way it would look this good with the camera Andrew has. The scene that really shows off how nice the film looks was the cemetery scene. It had a lot of closeups of different people attending and shows off the color palette quite nicely.
The extras are really lacking in this Blu-ray/DVD combo. All you get is a director’s cut with around 5 minutes of footage added, a deleted scene, a pre-viz, and camera test footage. The extra scenes are definitely interesting to watch, as we get to dive in deeper into the back history of each character and watch a scene of the trio doing more pranks. The deleted scene is kind of pointless, as it shows Matt and his girlfriend at the house. The pre-viz shows all the complex digital effects shots in the movie. The most interesting extra is the camera test footage, as this was the one that convinced people that this movie could be made.
Movie Grade: A
Blu-ray Grade: B
John “Spartan” Nguyen is the editor-in-chief at Nerd Reactor and is based in Orange County, CA. He is a graphic designer and illustrator.