I typically dislike the “found footage” genre. It’s one of the weakest forms of cinematic entertainment – not to mention one of the cheapest, since the filmmakers don’t have to polish the look of their movie and can get away with casting no-name actors. ‘Chronicle’ doesn’t quite use the gimmick in the newest of fashions and it’s filled with unrecognizable actors, but it’s a whole lot better than other recent entries in this genre such as ‘The Devil Inside’ or ‘Paranormal Activity’.
‘Chronicle’ follows three teenagers who find a hole in the ground in the middle of a wooded meadow. One of the kids is a loner who aspires to one day make movies, so he carries his camera around with him everywhere he goes. As he documents their journey into the strange cave, the teens find a massive glowing system of crystals that resembles Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. After touching the crystals, each kid begins to develop super powers with unlimited possibilities.
Imagine what it would be like if three immature teenage boys suddenly obtained super powers. That’s what the fun first two-thirds of ‘Chronicle’ is like – dumb teenage boys being dumb teenage boys who can fly, control objects with their minds and avert pain and injury. Having spent a good chunk of my life in absolute immaturity, I enjoyed watching these kids do the same things that I would have done in that period of my life. Unfortunately, the third act falls apart. It’s not completely wasted, but could have been so much better.
The majority of this origin story is spent showing how the kids develop and exercise their new strengths. However, the final act divides them into superheroes and supervillains, which wouldn’t be a bad idea had the road to villainy been one that actually inspired such instant cruelty and hatred. The motive for going evil is hardly believable and even less entertaining to watch. The climactic confrontation is about 50% fun and excitement and 50% ham and cheese. Had it not been this way, ‘Chronicle’ would easily be a four-star film. As is, it’s a whole star less.