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Chronicle (Blu-ray Review)

12 May, 2012 By: John Latchem

Street 5/15/12
Box Office $64.47 million
$29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense action and violence, thematic material, some language, sexual content and teen drinking.
Stars Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly.

Attempts to take a realistic take on the superhero genre generally fall into two categories. Films such as Kick-Ass and Super lock in on the mindset of costumed vigilantes, while others such as Unbreakable, Hancock and Chronicle explore the idea of people with superpowers.

As a deconstruction of superhero movie tropes, Chronicle is one of the better films to utilize the found-footage format, which is designed to inherently add verisimilitude to whatever the subject matter is by presenting the story as being assembled from home video or security cameras that just happened to capture all the relevant action.

Still, the setup, involving three Seattle high schoolers who gain superpowers, stretches the believability of the presentation. Andrew (Dane DeHaan), whose mother is dying of cancer, decides to videotape every aspect of his life as a means of protecting himself from his abusive father (Michael Kelly). Andrew’s cousin, Matt (Alex Russell), drags him to a rave, where the pair join with Steve (Michael B. Jordan) in exploring a strange cave nearby where they find a glowing crystalline entity that knocks them out with a flash.

From here the film evolves along the lines of a comic book storyline, as each character reaches different conclusions as to the potential of their power. Andrew starts using it to retaliate against bullies and his father, but starts to take it too far when he steals money to pay for his mother’s medication. Matt emerges as a moral voice to try to rein him in, while Steve gets caught in the middle.

Needless to say, it leads to an epic battle around the Space Needle that is cleverly structured within the constraints of found-footage while slightly abandoning the attempt at realism. But the film is entertaining enough to overcome such nitpicks.

The disc doesn’t push any boundaries in terms of bonus materials, offering some test footage and CGI storyboards. The Blu-ray includes a deleted scene and an extended version of the movie.

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