Chronicle (2012) – 3.5/5

Poorly written, predictable, and kind of stupid, though a few scenes here and there are pretty good. Oh, and what terrible, terrible CGI throughout. I don’t normally care for such things, and probably wouldn’t have here had the story been better, or had they shown some restraint with the effects, but man. It was like watching live action and cartoons mixed together at times. Terrible.

The plot is the main problem, though. And the dialogue. It’s just bad, clichéd writing. One dimensional characters, poorly thought out scenes, things that just don’t make sense. And why did they have to film this as a “found footage” type movie, anyway? It adds very little to the story, and becomes really improbable by the end, and distracting. I just want to see the action, damn it. Stop changing perspectives on me every five seconds!

Anyway, the main character here is your typical loner loser nerd type who everyone seems to hate despite being a pretty nice guy initially. And, naturally his father is an abusive alcoholic and his mother is dying of cancer or something. Great. Start the waterworks, folks.

I understand that he’s given all these hurdles so his eventual **SPOILERS** turn to the dark side looks convincing, but it isn’t, really. It’s done in such a tired and lazy way that it just comes off boring, and the actual event that finally makes him snap is silly.**END SPOILERS** The father’s character is such an illogical, stupid stereotype. What, he didn’t think his skinny, malnutritioned looking son being able to somehow **SPOILERS** lift him up with one hand and throw him across the room during their final argument was a little odd? And why did the son call him stupid, anyway? He couldn’t even look him in the eye before, and suddenly he has a spine? Yeah, his new powers could have given him confidence, but they didn’t in any other aspect of his life, so why do they here? Totally out of character.

I thought the son had killed him after that scene, frankly, as the father is nowhere to be found afterward. But no, he conveniently returns at the end to spout his clichéd abusive dialogue one final time, to threaten him even, despite the aforementioned “throw him across the room with one hand” incident. What?!? **END SPOILERS** Yeah, he was drunk, okay. Dumb.

The movie is better visually than it is narratively, even with the crappy CGI. A small handful of scenes stand out: the crazy “tunnel” scene, the flying scenes, the last 10 minutes or so. The tunnel scene in particular is great: it’s confusing and weird, yet effective given what it represents, namely, the unknown. I was a bit annoyed that they never **SPOILERS** explain just what the hell was actually in that tunnel, **END SPOILERS** but it’s a small nitpick.

But the CGI, again, is terrible. Some scenes should have just been done practically, like the car moving scene. They couldn’t have just hooked the car up to a few cables, moved it, and removed the cables in post? Or shot the baseball, or the lego, or the rock scenes in such a way as to not make them so fake looking? Surely it can’t be that much more expensive? It would certainly have looked better.

Overall, eh. Poorly written and sporting very little depth of any kind, sure, but a few great scenes lift the movie up a bit. Just a bit, though. I had actually gone into this expecting a smart, entertaining, well written film as I had heard nothing but good things about the writing and the direction before doing so, but no, the whole thing is mediocre at best. It’s the kind of story a teenager comes up while bored in class. Tired structure, tired dialogue, tired characters. The typical crap we’ve seen thousands of times before, with a few touches of brilliance every now and then. Eh.

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