Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chronicle (2012)

PG-13, 1 hr. 23 min.  Directed By:  Josh Trank.  Release Date:  Feb 3, 2012.

I had some reservations when I grudgingly decided Chronicle was going to bat clean-up on my double feature today.  A bunch of teenage boys getting super powers?  Yeah, I’m getting too old for that.  At least, that’s what I told myself.  Really, I shouldn’t have worried.  Chronicle was what the original three X-Men movies should have been: kids learning to redefine their world once an event beyond their control changes everything in their lives. 

I was frowning until the boys learn to fly.  That single scene started a major uphill event for me in terms of my appreciation for the movie.  It was… perfect.  If you’ve ever dreamed of learning to fly, this will probably look much like the event in your head.  Hesitant at first, then increasingly bold in tricks and abilities, until you’re playing chicken with inbound 747s.  I loved the way we see these guys develop their abilities, and I liked it even more that they (well, at least most of them) realize that there have to be some sort of boundaries that they couldn’t cross, a la Abe Lincoln’s “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  But that probably comes as no surprise since I’m nearly always bitching about how movies a complete lack of moral consideration. 

It’s been a few years since I’ve found a movie like this, one I’ll call a “super hero” movie, but even I realize that I had this much fun watching.  There have been a few that I thought were better movies overall, notably X-Men: First Class, but First Class should have been this kind of fun.  I’m a little interested to see where critics (professional and amateur) come in on this movie.

There are a ton of things to like about this movie.  Personally, I like that the story line is relatively tight, with the major hole being what happens between the event that gives the boys telekinetic abilities and the discovery that they have those powers.  It’s not like you’re just going to attempt to move something using the powers of your mind.  But we go from the event to the boys clearly having made the discover (and gone forward with some practice) off camera, which inevitably makes me frown.  I also like that they’ve created the best kind of villain:  one we can empathize with.  He’s still a crazy mo’fo, but we get WHY he’s a crazy mo’fo.  The only character type I like better is the tragic hero.  I also like that the fate of these three boys isn’t quite what you might think.

This movie could have been improved by a better cast, but these three guys were all right.  Otherwise, I’m not sure I could complain.  I laughed, I got all nervous, and I will be buying this when it comes out on DVD.  You should certainly see this, although the effects won't suffer on your TV at home if you have to wait for video.