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Movie Review – Chronicle

It is not enough for us to want to see reality in television and movies anymore. We want to pretend reality is better than it really is. We have explored the mockumentary format in horror, comedy, and drama, but there has been one genre that remains untouched. That is, until now. Chronicle finally takes the almost over-used point-of-view technique into the world of super powers. However the rise of a villain that makes this story different from the average comic book.

***Spoilers Ahead***

The movie begins with a teenager, Andrew Detmer (played by Dane DeHaan), turning on his new camera. An early morning for Andrew seems to start with the prompt abuse from his drunk ex-firefighter father. To steer it from being its usual physical abuse, he bought a camera and threatens to always have it recording from now on. Apparently this scares the father enough to leave Andrew alone. I think that’s a reasonable enough reason for everything that happens in this movie to be caught on a camera, but that is not the only source. It includes an interesting collaboration of clips from Andrew’s camera as well as security footage, traffic monitoring, and even camera phones from various bystanders.

The story does an excellent job of making the audience feel sorry for Andrew Detmer. He is young, damaged and anti-social. He is constantly nervous in the same way you would expect an abused puppy to be nervous. But the movie picks up your spirits when you meet Andrew’s cousin, Matt Garetty (Alex Russell), who seems to be Andrew’s only friend. That is changed when Matt forces Andrew to attend a rave that a majority of his high school is attending and where he is introduced to Steve Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan). Steve is an aspiring political candidate who will complete this triforce.

Together they explore a weird underground cave where there is some kind of frozen or suspended foreign object. The camera starts freaking out and there is an explosion of light. At this point the feed ends. In the next scene, Andrew turns on a brand new camera and begins filming the three of them as they show off their new-found telekinetic abilities. One major thing that stuck out in this movie for me was the lack of importance on how they got the powers and it’s not brought up at all during the film because it just doesn’t mean anything to the story. I sometimes feel like the explanation of certain things can be very daunting but it annoys me the most when the subject being explained does not progress the story at all and really just wastes our time.

Through the integration of a new commonality, Andrew gains a friendship that would appear to be impenetrable, but instead will inevitably be the conflict of the film. The next several scenes are exactly what I, along with any other self-respecting nerd, was hoping for: every possible thing the average teenager would do with telekinesis. We see them playing mind catch, screwing with kids at the mall, coming close to killing a road-rager…but that isn’t the end of this ride.

They start getting other abilities, like near invulnerability, and the one power that every audience member can relate to dreaming about: Flying. I’m not talking simply hovering over the ground, I mean high-altitude turbo flight on par with airplanes. I have actually had a dream of playing football in the clouds with my friends. It is so easy to get hyped about the scenes in this movie because they are deep-seeded dreams of the majority of the audience members. The comparison is that much easier because of the way the movie was shot. It’s just really simple to understand when you uncontrollably imagine yourself as the one holding the camera.

The effects were really brag-worthy as well. Even parts where they were just testing the limits of their powers were shown in interesting ways. Simple bubbling in the water can go a long way to express the urgency the character feels. Especially an angst-driven teenager. Most of the feelings the characters were going through were expressed with their abilities, and the person who came up with the interesting use of effects to get these points across had to have a unique idea in mind, because I especially enjoyed this aspect of the movie.

Sometimes I feel I can be too nice when it comes to reviews. I can see good in a lot of different movies. But this one needs no leniency. You will definitely enjoy the different perspectives of the superhero narrative and you will relate to the impulse-control issues of the common teenager. This movie proved that there could be an origin story without making the source important, and that, given the talented young actors they were lucky enough to get, a clever writer, and unique direction, they could produce a solid found footage film that people will want to see more of. While they ended it on a peaceful note, it was also left open for a sequel. I am definitely rooting/hoping for this but I will be content simply with more mockumentary films about super powers.

I’m going to give this heart-wrenching-yet-action-filled movie 4 out of 5 Nerdskulls. The only reason it’s not getting 5 out of 5 is because there were one-too-many scenes where Andrew was off crying by himself with the camera on. That’s just sad and pathetic and I don’t do that…not very often, anyway.

I'm a man of tomorrow still holding onto the joys of yesterday. I miss Nick cartoons, and Power Rangers but I cant get enough of the Time Lords, and Serial Killers we have now. My many distractions include computers, movies, comics, and I like to imagine my life story would be scored with a mixture of Death Cab, A3, and a lot of Kid Cudi. We've entered the Geekological Revolution. A time of Vulcan Death Grips, drinks with friends on Tatooine, and attempting to build a freeze ray. Things have changed, muscle headed bullies. The Nerds rule the world now, and we reign SUPREME!