I didn’t know what to expect when I put the Chronicle disc into my blu-ray player. It had been a while since I had seen the trailer, and didn’t know much about the plot. However, once I started watching, I was completely drawn in.
When the film opens, we meet Andrew (Dane DeHaan of In Treatment and True Blood), a shy, depressed teenager with an abusive father and a dying mother. Andrew has decided that he his going to chronicle his life using his video camera. His cousin Matt (Alex Russell) is far more outgoing and tries to get Andrew to come out of his shell more, which includes dragging him to a rave. While at the party, Matt and his friend Steve (Michael B. Jordan of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood) discover a strange hole in the ground out in the woods and call Andrew over to get it on camera. In the hole is a huge glowing star that emits a high-pitched sound and makes their noses bleed.
Cut to the next day and we see the three guys recording themselves trying out their newly-developed telekinetic powers. At first it’s all fun and games, each day seeing if they can push their abilities further. But when someone accidentally gets hurt, they decide they need to take things more seriously. However, as their powers grow stronger and they discover new abilities, emotions start to rule over ethics.
While at its core, Chronicle is about three teenagers with superpowers, it didn’t feel like that was really the focus of the main story. Rather, it was more about the relationships between these three main characters and the drama in their personal lives. In your typical superhero film, once the hero gains his powers, he rushes out stop bank robbers and saves the world from a super villain, while rescuing the girl. The way these guys react to their new abilities felt way more realistic. They just think it’s cool, and use their powers to have some fun. They are excited about each new ability they discover, and want to test it out. While there are elements of your typical superhero film, it certainly doesn’t feel like the same old formulaic approach.
Chronicle is told almost entirely via footage from Andrew’s camera. However, this doesn’t mean the film is completely first person POV. The creators found an organic way to have the camera moving throughout the film, and also utilize footage from additional cameras into the film so that we get a full view of the action. I found this to be a very creative and fresh approach for the film.
One of the main things that made this film so enjoyable to watch was that it was constantly surprising me and reinventing itself. Just when you think the film is going to go in one direction, something happens which sends it off into a completely unexpected direction. There were several times while watching that I thought I had it figured out, and then it all changed! Chronicle was a good mix of drama, thriller and action with a touch of sci-fi.
What’s Included on the Blu-ray:
- Director’s Cut (1:29:31) and Theatrical Cut (1:23:53) of the film
- Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Descriptive Audio (Theatrical Only), Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD
- English SDH, Spanish subtitles
- Theatrical Cut (1:23:53) of the film
- Audio: English 5.1 DD, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround
- English SDH, Spanish subtitles
- Digital Copy for iTunes/Android
Extras (Blu-ray Only):
- Deleted Scene – Matt and Casey in Kitchen (1:10)
An alternate scene that didn’t really add anything.
- Pre-Viz (7:48)
Low-res computer-generated versions of some scenes, with audio over 3D models of actors and locations.
- Camera Test (3:58)
Diner and parking lot scenes, complete with special effects but with other actors playing the 3 main roles.
- Theatrical Trailer (2:08)
- Sneak Peek
Trailers for Prometheus, The Blu-ray Experience, Act of Valor, American Horror Story Season 1, Get the Gringo, Martha Marcy May Marlene, and Bad Ass.
- Chronicle Soundtrack Info
Still with URL for Milan Records
I only watched the extended cut of the film, so I’m not sure what difference the extra five and a half minutes makes.
The picture was good, especially once Andrew gets a new camera. However, for some of the special effects, there was evidence of green screening and that kind of took away from the experience. The sound was excellent, and really made things come alive and brought the action and effects to life.
I was really disappointed by the lack of bonus features. There were very few features included, and none of them had any kind of intro or description telling you the purpose. It would have been nice to get a commentary on the Pre-Viz and Camera Test sequences describing what those were used for. For such a creative film, it would have been great to get a commentary track from the actors and/or creators, or some making-of featurette interviewing those involved in the film.
That said, the film itself was fresh and entertaining, and definitely worth checking out.