Adam Cook’s review:
Chronicle combines two of the biggest trends in Hollywood today - the superhero and found footage movies - to help create something that feels surprisingly fresh. Sure, it is easy to make reference to Akira but I was pleased to see it was a film that neatly blended its influences to create something a little different along the way.
There really aren’t too many original avenues to explore for the superhero movie. We’ve had the big spectacles, the brooding avengers and even the regular Joe nutjobs but what we haven’t really seen is what teenagers would really do with these unlimited powers. Chronicle is at its most entertaining when these kids are just messing around being obnoxious dick heads and testing out how powerful they really are. Compared to many superheroes the three leads are pleasingly believable. They are awkward, selfish, annoying and brash: basically like most teens and they act out in the same ways most their age would after being granted God-like abilities. As Uncle Ben once said, “with great power comes great responsibility”, but he never said you couldn’t have fun with them too.
As the story progresses and goes down darker paths it loses its steam a little. The film’s original hook is sidelined for a more traditional story which, whilst still engaging, lacks the energy of the first half. I don’t want to be too critical though as the climactic showdown is still full of many memorable and well conceived moments.
It is true that the found footage conceit adds little to the experience bar a lower production cost (it also stretches the concept to breaking point in the climax but not enough to seriously impact on the enjoyment) but it isn’t quite as intrusive as I had expected. The special effects are not always convincing but they hold up well for the most part and the performances are solid too. It isn’t a film I’m likely to return to again but it was a fun, and pleasingly brisk, ride while it lasted.