Jacob Martin (formally known as The Movie King)’s review published on Letterboxd:
So I had heard for the past two years about a superhero film called Chronicle, a film that sets superheroes in "reality" and filmed in found-footage, and directed by an up-and-coming filmmaker that's going to be groundbreaking, and all the critics and audiences loved it, and it had amazing performances, but yeah, if you haven't looked at my rating by now, I was very displeased with the so-called masterpiece that was Chronicle.
The film is about a group of teens who discover a mysterious cave one night, and while exploring, they discover a mysterious object that gives them superhuman abilities. As their powers developed, each figure out what they want to do with them, which can lead to serious consequences. As mentioned already, Chronicle is filmed in found-footage (used mostly in recent horror films) that makes it look like the entire film is a home movie. Chronicle was the first non-horror film to use this growing format, and with this being my first experience with found-footage, you guessed it, I don't see why this is popular to begin with. When I want to watch a movie, I expect high serious quality cinematographers who know how to hold a camera professionally to create a mesmerizing experience. I didn't get that with found-footage; all I got out of it was that it felt like I was watching my grandma's low-quality home movies.
My other problem with found-footage is that, although I admit filming Chronicle in this format is "unique", it also insults any form of intelligence in the process. The entire film is supposed to be shot by one of the teenagers, but throughout the film, we see shots where it alternates between different cameras, various security cameras, and get this... There's a scene where the main character places his camera on the table during a key scene, and as the scene unfolds, the camera zooms in on the main character's face. Who's holding the camera during a found-footage movie? It's STUPID GARBAGE THAT ONLY DUMBS DOWN ANY FORM OF HUMAN INTELLIGANCE AS SOCIETY GETS WORSE AND WORSE AND WORSE IN EACH PASSING GENERATION!!! And in other stupidity, there's another shot that puts the camera in a birds-eye view in a film that's supposed to be shot by the main character. Need I say more? The more I think about this, found-footage is more irritating than the worst form of shaky cam!
I also didn't care for any of the characters in this film. I don't know if it's that the main characters are all teens or what, but there's virtually no reason to root for any of these three characters who gain superpowers. Especially in the fact that they only use their powers on obnoxious pranks; who wants to root for these people anyway? There's one character that Dane DeHaan plays that has an abusive alcoholic dad and a dying mom, and it's only played for sympathetic fluff. There's one scene where the dad character calls DeHaan a "total loser", and that's how I feel on the film. When your main character is whack that "films" everything he does in his life, that's when I draw the line. I guess the actors did their best in the material given, but it doesn't do enough for me to like anything remotely good in this film. Filming it in found-footage only lowers it down to complete absurdity.
With the film proving to be a success for director Josh Trank, this new filmmaker is now working on an upcoming Star Wars spinoff and the Fantastic Four reboot coming out next year. If Trank goes as far as turning my all-time favorite film franchise (and if you know me well-enough, you know it involves lightsabers) into a found-footage piece of junk, then Trank will officially make the worst Star Wars film since Phantom Menace. AND I EVEN LIKED SAID SO-CALLED GARBAGE!
"Oh, wow, look. A nerd with a camera."