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Chronicle - Blu-ray Review

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Chronicle - Movie Review

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5 Stars

Ah, the wonders that a spoonful of some good ol’ philosophy can do to a person.  How long has it been since celluloid science fiction actually resonated with its audience in a meaningful way?  Chronicle, directed by Josh Trank (who is already burning up Hollywood with rumors of his next project), might look a little meager and juvenile, but it’s not.  Blame the studio who absolutely has no idea how to market the magnificently engaged film they have on their hands.  Chronicle is a win-win.

While the marketing on this mother suggests that Chronicle has a target audience only, trust me when I say that the movie is not for teenagers alone.  This is a film for anyone who has ever wanted to possess superhuman powers and was ever curious as to what the consequences would be.  Yes, it’s Clark Kent in the real world; a world free of the red cape and blue tights.  Indeed, Chronicle has the makings to be a certifiable hit; it knows what it is and plays upon its found-footage style with brains and brawn.

Up, up, up and away indeed.

Written by Max Landis (son of filmmaker John Landis), Chronicle explores the idea of sudden power corrupting any regular Tom, Dick, or Harry.  No, it seems you don’t have to be a government official to be enticed by the dark side of the force.  Yet, Darth Vader and son they are not.  These kids are classifiable, yes, but they are the beaten and bullied, the shy and quirky, and the sporst-centered stud.  These guys - Matt (Alex Russell), Steve (Michael B. Jordan), and tech-savvy Drew (Dane DeHaan) stumble upon a mysterious cave with an alien artifact inside and discover – much to their surprise – that they suddenly have pretty supremely cool abilities.

At first, in typical angst-ridden teenage fashion, they have fun with their abilities.  They quote Plato and Arthur Schopenhauer while exploring morality with their new found super-human powers.  They tempt fate and record themselves doing awesome things/stunts, but – because this is a morality play – they decide that there must be rules to follow.

Faster than a speeding bullet, one teen’s logic loses out to pure emotion.

Drew’s caged anger grows – all stemming from his domestic stress and abuse - causing palpable tension between the trio of friends to build.  Suddenly, everything snaps and it’s a full-on Battle Royale…complete with a soul-shattering ending for the ages.  No reveals here, though.  Watch for yourself.

Tired of the whole ‘you-are-there’ feeling of these movies?  Don’t be.  Chronicle is a legitimate game changer; a masterwork that breathes fresh energy into the whole super hero origin film and the found-footage phenomenon.  From the faux realism to the special effects, writer Landis and director Trank have their basis covered.  Catch them on one thing and – BAM – they have a creative reason for its existence.  Ultimately, what Landis and Trank have delivered is a character-driven science fiction piece that is guided by questions of faith, family, and ethics in light of special abilities granted to those who fear others out of abuse and neglect.  It’s complex and completely wonderful in its dynamics that, at times, you’ll forget Chronicle’s alien origins.  It feels too human to be anything extraterrestrial.

With its angsty The Breakfast Club vibe perfectly matched with its solemn Unbreakable tone, Chronicle should make more than one head turn and take notice of what it has to say.  I know it did mine.  The film isn’t a gimmick.  It isn’t a well-practiced stunt either.  Chronicle is an earnest attempt to make sense of an imperfect world with a little help from the cosmos.

You will believe a noob can fly.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Chronicle - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense action and violence, thematic material, some language, sexual content and teen drinking.
Director
: Josh Trank
Writer
: Max Landis
Cast:
Dane DeHaan; Alex Russell; Michael B. Jordan; Michael Kelly; Ashley Hinshaw
Genre: sci-fi | Thriller
Tagline:
What are you capable of?
Memorable Movie Quote: "This is my theory though. That it's like a muscle."
Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Official Site: www.facebook.com/Chronicle
Release Date: February 3, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 15, 2012

Synopsis: Three high school students make an incredible discovery, leading to them developing uncanny powers beyond their understanding. As they learn to control their abilities, and use them to their advantage, their lives start to spin out of control, and their darker sides begin to take over.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Chronicle - Movie Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - May 15, 2012
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (on disc); DVD copy; BD-Live

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment supplies fans of Chronicle with two different versions of the film.  The difference is about 6 minutes of dialogue that brings a bit more character to the screen for the dramatic tension to build upon.  Both versions have been readied for HD and, as a result, both look superb.  The filmmakers used a digital camera to replicate the “found” footage, but the results of the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode are actually quite good.  There is perfect clarity when it comes to fine detail and faces.  Clothing fabric is rendered in near fine detail, too.  Colors are never at an eye-popping level, but remain natural throughout the presentation.  Dark levels are strong, but there is some noticeable minute noise during the climax.  Never close to cinematic levels, but that was the filmmaker’s intent with this release.  Most impressive with this release is the audio – presented in a thundering DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack – as it owns the picture.  Bass levels are heavy and commanding.  Dialogue is clean.  Overall, a good release from 20th Century Fox.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Keep looking, I’m sure you’ll find one somewhere…just not on this disc.

Special Features:

The disappointment in supplemental material continues here in the special features.  Included are some raw behind the scenes look at a couple of sequences without special effects and another dubbed the camera test.  There’s a deleted scene that teases some skin wrapped around some dialogue between Matt and Casey.  Neither featurette is at all that interesting.  Boo.

  • Pre-Viz (8 min)
  • Camera Test (4 min)
  • Deleted Scene (1 min)

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