Wednesday Movie Review: Chronicle

Chronicle, released early 2012 by 20th Century Fox, Davis Entertainment, Dune Entertainment

My Personal Rating: 4 out of 5 *'s(bear in mind, my ratings for books and movies are based on enjoyment factor, not cinematography, power of musical score, or other such artsy nonsense. I either enjoyed the movie, or I didn't, I leave the nit-picky critiques to the art film buffs and columnists).

Synopsis: Andrew is a troubled but creative teen with a keen visual eye and a high-quality HD camera. He is introverted and socially awkward. Along with his friends, Matt and Steve, they make a discovery that leads them all to acquire powerful telekinetic abilities. They're now capable of, well, almost anything. But things take a dark turn. (As per 'anonymously' written blurb on IMDB.com)

Opinion: I'm going to start this by saying that this movie wasn't 'great', or 'spectacular', and, as explained, I don't have an artsy, film-critic point of view of most things, but being that the entire movie is shot in an as it happens, from the eye of the camera perspective, I can understand that this might not be some people's cup of tea. 

That being said, I personally thought it was actually pretty well done and was more true to life than most 'teenagers get super powers' stories, movies and what-not that are out there.  Just as the synopsis states, the movie revolves around 3 high school boys- Andrew (a quiet introvert who's abused by his alcoholic dad, has a bed-ridden, dying mother and is bullied at school), Matt (Andrew's stoner cousin & friend-out-of-convenience), and Steve (the all-around nice guy, who's popular, well-liked and is running for student body president) who, during a 'barn-party' [high school rave] find a bizarre artifact and develop what at first appears to be mild telekinesis from contact with the object.

In the aftermath of this event, they become friends and are actually pretty insular, only really hanging out with each other and working to develop powers that they realize are getting stronger.  This is where things get fun for a time- they learn to fly, goof off with their powers, and pull pranks.  Which, if we're honest about it, is exactly what a teenager who suddenly finds himself with super powers would do- they wouldn't be donning masks and running out to save the day (unless they were emulating what they've seen in comic books) and even if they did go that route, I'm pretty sure that testing themselves with stupid pranks and dodging airplanes as they toss a football back and forth in the clouds would come first. I'm going to end the spoilers there, I think.

Not to sound clinical, but it could be considered a 'study in the truth of absolute power corrupting absolutely' as we watch Andrew, an initially powerless person finally coming to grips with his immense, super-human powers and proceeding to lose his friggin' mind as he allows his pent up anger and frustration at his lot in life to drive him to wreak havoc, chaos and destruction throughout Seattle. Steve is the middle ground, the balance, while Matt becomes the mature and sensible older cousin he should have probably been from the beginning, attempting to protect them all (and protect others from them) by instilling rules to the usage of their new abilities.  Ultimately it does come down to a battle of good-versus-evil . . . only not in such black and white terms.  Evil in this case is a boy pushed to the breaking point by life and lashing back and good is the person that is forced, almost against his will to stop him, because while he knows that the boy must be stopped because of the amount of harm being caused, he also undestands the very painful root of this 'evil'.

A great way to break this down for the modern generation  (and yes, even us slightly older folk XD) would be to say it's an 'our world' story of George Lucas' Jedi and Sith, where the 'dark side' comes about not because of greed or lust for power, but in letting your darker emotions, like anger and emotional pain, guide your decisions and that making the 'correct, moral' decision- rather than the one we want to make- is almost never the easier path, but is often a difficult to accept necessity.  This is actually funny in a creepy way, seeing as when Andrew loses it his face twists up and he is the spitting image of young Mark Hamill portraying Luke Skywalker's darker moments.

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