I am not a fan of the “found-footage” genre. Though the idea was introduced in 1980 with “Cannibal Holocaust,” it was the monstrous success of “The Blair Witch Project” that compelled Hollywood to relentlessly pump out film after film with the same home video camera concept since its release in 1999 (The “Paranormal Activity” series, “Apollo 18,” “Cloverfield”).
My gripe is not with the style itself but rather how it is used. Though the found footage perspective communicates an excellent sense of realism because it presents the viewer with a display he is familiar viewing his personal reality with, the potential for story-telling epicness is usually squandered because all of the action happens off screen.
This renders the found-footage style more of a gimmick, a cover up for a low budget, a way of manipulating the audience to see something we otherwise would not. For this, the found-footage genre mostly contains horror movies, lots of them, and bad ones.
Worried? Don’t be; because “Chronicle” is the best found footage film so far.
From the trailer, “Chronicle” follows three high school kids—the popular jock, the withdrawn nerd and the complacent but good-natured jerk, who become close friends after they mysteriously gain telekinetic super powers.
Where Clark Kent would take to the streets fighting crime, these guys use their powers in ways high school kids would: to impress girls, excel in sports and play in other ways I always dreamed about in math class.
However, as the story unfolds, their powers get stronger and the picked on nerd of the group cannot restrain his will to “even the score.”
Without spoiling anything, the jock and the jerk leap into action as the only ones who can stop their friend and hijinks ensue.
This superiority complex creates a rift between the friends that harkens to the rivalry between Doctor Magneto and Professor Xavier from the “Magnificent X-men” comics, but as the film begins to reach its climax in the third act, it begins to more closely resemble the anime epic, “Akira.”
If you know what I am talking about, this movie is right up your alley, but if you don’t, it’s still worth seeing for a couple of reasons.
The found-footage aspect of the film really drew me in, and it actually allows the film to shine as an action movie.
The action develops well onscreen and pulls no punches, particularly when things begin to speed up; the director throws unexpected but effective shifts in perspective and style that keep the action from becoming run-of-the-mill and boring.
It has an excellent script and actors, however, that give the action scenes any weight.
The dialogue and interactions between the three friends offer realistic insight into teenage students and their relationships, and as a result, crafts characters that viewers can actually care about. This builds tension and ultimately enhances the action segments of the movie.
I’d give it a: See it in theatres! This movie is worth the ticket price.
Though it is aimed at an action hungry demographic, the story offers enough emotional depth to please any movie fan.
“Star Wars Episode 1 The Phantom Menace” in 3D
It’s still bad.
Ian Storey/For the Review
Ian Storey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.