Remember being 17 and awkward? Having your underwear rearranged by a knuckle-dragging, pimply, hairy-backed cro-magnon descendant in the bathroom? Screaming for help and no one comes to your rescue? Being laughed at in the shower because you’re a grower, not a shower? Remember dreaming of that cute girl in the stone-washed jean skirt whose panties you saw that one time, then the teacher calls on you and you have to solve that math problem at the chalkboard with a raging boner? It hurt (not the boner, your pride) and you vowed someday to get revenge in your head. You cursed the heavens and claimed you would one day rule the universe and make that knuckle dragger clean your house! You vowed one day to stuff your now man-boner in now grown Susie Pink-Panties and she would thank you!
Sooo, none of that happened, but it so totally would have….if you had superpowers like those awesome kids in the new movie ‘Chronicle’! Chronicle is directed by Josh Trank. I’ve never heard of this guy, but after watching this movie I imagine we will be seeing his name attached to a lot more superhero film projects in the future. Chronicle follows three high school seniors as they discover a meteor that gives them telekinetic powers. It is never explained where the meteor came from and it doesn’t really matter. I just assumed it was some awesome lost alien rock. Andrew, played fairly well by Dane DeHaan, is the awkward loner kid with the terrible home life who is picked on at school. He’s just misunderstood and is socially inept as most teenagers are. He carries around a video camera and films his everyday life….his sad, depressing, terrible, and heartbreaking life. His only friend at the beginning of the movie is his cousin Matt, played by Alex Russell. Matt is the proverbial ‘too cool to care about being cool, but secretly he cares about being cool by trying not to be cool’ kid. He tolerates his cousin because they used to be really close and well, he’s family. Within the first 20 minutes of the movie they go to a party and meet the school’s super jock (Why, yes, he is black. How did you guess?) and all around smooth guy, Steve, played by Michael B. Jordan. Steve is the one that discovers the meteor, or ‘the thingy that furthers the plot along by giving these kids powers’. He needs Andrew’s camera to film he and Matt dicking around with the meteor. They all go in the hole in the ground, touch the glowing rock, pass out, and………
Shenanigans ensue!!!!! They all develop telekinetic abilities that get stronger and more fine tuned the more they use them. Their antics start out innocently enough as they do things you’d expect teenage boys to do if they could control shit with their minds. There weren’t any breasts popping out of shirts like I would have done, but this was PG-13. They are of course filming all of this. They make toys float and scare kids, they move people’s cars, and generally act like telekinetic douchebags. Things start to escalate when Andrew wants to do more powerful things. Andrew’s life has complications in it that make him slowly unravel until he realizes he has all the power to gain the upper hand that he has always dreamed about. Like most superhero/villiain origin stories, there are events that occur that drive the characters to make choices that guide them to their eventual success or ruination. Without being spoilery, one of them suffers a tragedy that breaks them so to speak. I find it fascinating when a villain’s motives aren’t clear cut like wanting world domination or to ‘Kill everything just because I wanna!!!!”. That’s where I think this movie works well. You don’t have to work hard to figure out who falls to the darkside, so to speak, but it’s their initial flirtation then slow descent to villainy that is riveting.
The three boys are all different, but familiar character archetypes who are bonded by amazing circumstances and become as tight of friends as you’d expect gaining powers together could make them. That’s why it’s sad to see the eventual fracture of their relationship and their lives. Well, you only really feel bad for Andrew. The other two are really there just to make Andrew look even sadder by comparison. You could all but tell he was gonna lose his shit, but it was still fun to watch. Even though these characters are formulaic, you are shown enough underneath the surface to retain interest long enough to get to the parts with the superpowers. Telekinesis!!!!! Hands free shenanigans!!!
Oh, they were kick ass. I enjoyed the portrayal of telekinesis. Usually it’s always ‘move this huge thing here’ or “Ha Ha, I have you held in place, villain!”. but this was detailed. The smart, awkward kid Andrew could use it better than his dumb cousin. He could manipulate the smallest objects or the biggest equally well with a delicate touch or an iron fist as he wished. He understood the nuance of it. The dumb cousin Matt had difficulties because he just didn’t think on the level of Andrew. The jock kid Steve was all about brute force and trying to overpower everything like he was playing football still. Each person used their powers to their comfort level and specific skill level. I found that very cool. The movie did what it was supposed to. It did enough right to make me like it. I find a movie really good if I pay to watch it at the theater more than once. While not quite at that level, I’d totally go with someone else to see it again if they paid my ticket. It was an entertaining movie. Better than Green Lantern.
I did have a small issue with the whole ‘handheld camera’ footage film style that has become all the rage these days, but it wasn’t something that ruined my enjoyment of the film. I thought it was appropriately used in this instance. I’ll say 3.5 out of 5.