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Chronicle

Chronicle 2012

It’s the first new superhero movie of the year to be released in theaters and I was able to watch it… kinda. I’ll just leave it at that. I’ve actually done something I almost never do before watching a movie, I read a bunch of reviews for it. Which is kind of funny coming from someone who is now spending their free time writing reviews for movies. Not any real critics, mostly just other blogs, and Roger Ebert. The one person that really seems to come out on top the most out of all those reviews is Max Landis who turns out to be John Landis’s son, and creator/narrator of this funny and weird recreation of the Death and Return of Superman comic series. He’s the writer of this movie and is credited with making the dialog of the teenagers fresh, natural, and overall believable.

Anyway as you probably know, this is another in the realm of the “found footage” movement that is being loved and hated across America right now. It’s getting pretty tired on the horror side so it’s being expanded into other genres of movies, and this movie uses it to create a superhero movie. Kinda. In a way it reminds me of Unbreakable as it feels like the first act of a typical origin story of a superhero. It goes from the discovery of their superpowers, or in this case the creation of their superpowers, to the testing of those powers, to their first heroic act taking out their villain. And in both movies the villain is closer than you think. Just from the trailer, it’s pretty obvious that Andrew becomes the villain of the piece, but it’s not quite as clear who becomes the hero of the piece so I won’t spoil that bit of information for you if you haven’t seen it yet.

As far as the actual style of the handheld cameras throughout the movie, it’s occasionally distracting but they use enough explained cheats and other excuses for different video sources that it comes off pretty well overall. I found that the movie was a little slow to get moving along but once it got going it flowed through to the ending very enjoyably. I found that with this specific movie, it’s a great excuse to get the teenagers talking to the camera and there’s thankfully little to no overly shaky, motion sickness inducing camerawork that literally made me sick the first time I watched Blair Witch in theaters.

The other thing that’s talked about almost universally when I was reading about this movie is the flying. Yes the teens soon learn how to fly and they do it with a believable amount of trial, error, and lack of finesse. It’s not like the first time Neo figures out he can fly and suddenly becomes a Superman bullet rocketing through the sky. It’s a lot more like a baby bird first learning to fly without the advantage of instincts to help them out. They’re clumsy at first, yet completely ecstatic, and the method used to pull this off on camera is excellent. We’ve come a long way from Catwoman’s shiny videogamesque CGI actor replacement. The flying scenes are very realistic and believable.

I think my biggest problem with the movie is that while it seems like it’s the first act of a superhero movie, it’s much more focused on the villain of the piece. Yes, it is Andrew’s camera that’s filming most of the movie, and yes he’s the one that takes the dark path as foreshadowed by his shaky home life. And then at the end the hero becomes a hero by doing what has to be done and goes away. It would have been great to see more of his journey and what happened to make him choose the right path and make the right decisions. But at the same time it’s a morbid fascination that makes it almost more interesting to see how Andrew makes the decisions that take him further and further down the path of destruction, and most of them almost seem like they’re the right decisions, or at least the only decisions he has based on what he’s been through. I can’t put my finger on it, but I think somewhere it strays a little too far or too quickly for the audience to root for him throughout the last half of the movie even though he’s a very sympathetic character.

I’m glad I caught wind of this movie, it really came out of the blue for me and I enjoyed watching it pretty well. If I wasn’t doing this movie blog I might have let it fall by the wayside and I would have missed it altogether. It’s not a perfect movie by any means, but it’s still a pretty great movie. I definitely recommend checking this out if you have the chance. Thursday I’m back to my regularly scheduled theme for the month with Hancock. Until next time this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.

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Should I watch Chronicle?

Even with having a Tuesday bonus review, I thought I’d still write up a short blog post like I’ve been doing every Tuesday. As far as a quick movie update/preview goes, I just got done with watching my rental haul, and I bought a bunch of movies for this month and later this year. I think I’ve spent a total of about $60 for the purposes of this blog. Aside from rental fees though, these are all movies that I bought because I enjoyed them in the first place, or a couple that were cheap and I was pretty sure I would like them. Coming up in the next couple weeks is my reviews of Super, Kick-Ass, Catwoman, and Spawn. And I picked up the Blade Trilogy, Hancock, Ghost Rider, and the Incredible Hulk to watch soon.

But the question of the blog is Chronicle. I only just recently learned about this movie from the City of Heroes message board. It looks pretty interesting, but the question I have is should I include it in a movie review blog about superheroes? Just going from what I see in the trailer, and a couple minor things I’ve heard online about it, here’s what I’ve got: It’s set pretty much in the real world using the “found footage” style like Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch Project. It involves three teenagers who gain superpowers in the traditional superhero sense of the word. They get telekinesis, invulnerability, flight, and possibly other similar minor powers. They don’t become superheroes with this ability, in fact at least one if not more of them become more or less a villain. There is the chance that one or two of the other kids step up to become a hero and stop him, but there are no costumes or secret identities.

So what do you think? I believe it comes out February 3rd. I already have more than enough movies that I plan to get to in the entire month of February. It does look like an interesting movie that I wouldn’t mind watching regardless of this blog. But that’s the question of the day. Do you think I should review Chronicle in this blog? Or do you think it looks too sci-fi, too unheroic, too anything to fall into the realm of superheroes? Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Until Next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.