Chronicle (Blu-ray)

May 16, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

With all the movies that come out year after year, it’s a rarity that one actually becomes a success. The millions of dollars it takes to produce, shoot, cast and market films is through the roof. So when a film like Chronicle comes along and actually makes a profit – it’s a good thing. The movie was released in early February, right around the time when the studios dumped their other movies on the general public. This is also the time when we were treated to the films considered for Oscars (i.e. The Artist and others) as they’re in wider release. I’d seen the ads for Chronicle but with me being spoiled with countless Blu-rays, it’s once in a blue moon that I’ll actually make it out to the theater to see a film (and this one wasn’t one of those times). But after reading positive reviews and hearing good things, I was anxiously awaiting this on Blu-ray. I had no idea what to expect and that’s good as it made the film that much more enjoyable to watch.

The film follows three Seattle high school Seniors. Andrew (Dane DeHaan), a loner who has now taken to filming everything in his daily life. Matt (Alex Russell), Andrew’s cousin and one-time best friend, who continues to distance himself. And Steve (Michael Jordan), the jock who’s also running for class President. At a party these three find a rather unique hole in the ground and decide to explore (who wouldn’t). They come across a strange, glowing crystal and we flash forward a few weeks. It would seem that these three now how the ability to move object with their thoughts (telekinesis) and aren’t really sure what to do with their newfound powers. As they become more familiar with their “gifts”, they begin to change. Andrew gains more confidence, Matt pursues Casey (Ashley Hinshaw) and Steve learns that they also have the ability to fly. Truthfully there seems to be no downside to these powers save for some nosebleeds. But “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Things can’t go on like this forever…or can they?

The new trend in Hollywood seems to be these POV films in which the characters have their own cameras and we see things through their eyes. This heightens the experience for the viewer as it makes it feel a bit more realistic and brings the audience member closer into the story being told. Chronicle could have gone several ways, but I like the direction it took. It showed how three different people were given the same gift, yet the paths they chose were very different. It’s the ultimate morality tale in human nature, if you will. The cast is plastered with some very unrecognizable faces, but I’m sure that more than one of these young actors will take off (pardon the pun). I found the film interesting and enjoyable and one that managed to avoid the pratfalls that some other films might have. It’s a nice, refreshing change of pace and proof that even though these kids could be considered superheroes – there’s no need to wear a costume.

Video: How does it look?

Set in Seattle, we get a few views of the city that are rather unique. I say “unique” in that I don’t recall too many films in which two high school students are sitting on top of a building eating lunch. The 1.85:1 AVC HD image has varying degrees of quality, though it’s at the filmmakers’ discretion and not a fault of the transfer. By and large, the image looks clear and clean – void of any issues that might be associated with an older film. Some of the earlier scenes (on Andrew’s camera) tend to look a bit odd and have the slightest bit of edge enhancement, but as the movie progresses we do get a much clearer image. Detail looks good as do contrast and black levels. The CGI effects in this film look pretty good as well, I had a hard time figuring out where the effects began and ended. This is a good-looking presentation on Blu-ray.

Audio: How does it sound?

The included DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack has a few moments where it really shines, but the front stage really takes the brunt of the sound. Dialogue is at the heart of this film with a lot of first person narrative. Vocals are very crisp and well-centered. Towards the end of the film we do get a lot more action from the surrounds and the LFE. Cars fly around, buildings are destroyed and windows are shattered and it all sounds great in surround sound! While Chronicle isn’t the strongest mix out there, I found nothing that really detracted from it and I doubt viewers will be disappointed.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Unfortunately the supplements included aren’t really that robust or, well, interesting. I’d have loved to hear a commentary track for this film but alas it wasn’t meant to be. We do get a Director’s Cut of the film that runs about 5 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. Having never seen the movie in theaters (and not wanting to watch the Theatrical Cut and then the Director’s Cut) I don’t really know what was added, but both versions are there. We get one deleted scene with Matt and Casey in the kitchen (and another near topless scene of Casey), but it doesn’t add much. “Pre-Viz” is just some crude CGI animation that shows some sequences from the movie. “Camera Test” seems to be the same quality as the final cut of the film, but with different actors running the lines. I wasn’t really sure what this was or why it was included, but again – it’s there. We also get the original theatrical trailer as well as a DVD of the film on a second disc.

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