Chronicle: The Apex Predator
If you didn’t see the movie because the commercials looked way over-the-top and dumb, I don’t blame you. It’s really hard to find a good movie these days that doesn’t botch the commercial. Allow me to clarify the depth and purpose of the movie before those commercial instilled sentiments solidify.
Chronicle is about a high school senior named Andrew, his cousin Matt, and Matt’s friend Steve. It’s not so much about their fight to grow more powerful and conquer humanity as it is their struggle to keep their power in check while trying to control themselves. Before you can know why things happen the way they do, you’d need to know a fair bit about the characters.
Andrew is the only child of a drunken, abusive father and a deathly ill mother. His home life is horrible, and his school life is no better. Due to his withdrawn, timid nature, he’s the victim of hardcore bullying. Matt is his cousin, and he’s a down-to-earth blend of philosopher and bro, leaning towards the former. His character is set rigidly as the rational, stay-positive good guy, the control to Andrew’s chaos. Steve is less relevant to Andrew, as he is the soon-to-be-elected class president of his high school, setting him a peg above the rest in regards to popularity and respect.
Early on in the movie Andrew is barely willingly taken to a party by Matt in order to get out and meet people. Some bullying occurs in the party, so Andrew decides to spend his time outside. This is fortunate for him, in a way, because Steve finds him and leads him to a far-off underground micro-cavern. He and Matt wanted to get some footage of whatever was inside. They get it alright. At the end of the long, winding tunnel, a turquoise, glowing clump of crystals lay embedded in the stone wall. Steve goes ahead to touch it, and the camera dies.
From then on, the three begin to experiment with their newfound power, their telekinesis. Through steady practice, they learn how to move objects of all shape and mass, and even gain the ability to fly. As it was said in the movie, the power is like a muscle; elastic, and capable of growing stronger if trained. Matt sees it as an impractical but curious gimmick to be kept a secret. Steve sees it as a handy tool for everyday life and entertainment. Andrew, unfortunately, shifts into a darker chain of thought.
This is where the more psychological portion of the movie kicks in. Andrew has no guidance, no closest friend of mutual respect that can keep him from his path of destruction. Inevitably, his thoughts turn to vengeance. Vengeance on the people that have harmed and humiliated him all his life. One might think it sounds wasteful or poorly thought out, but what else is there for a guy with no friends and no loving family? His mother would have offered advice, but she died due to her drunken husband’s absence. He was far too busy snooping around, trying to uncover one conspiracy or another with Andrew. With no one there to administer her medication, she didn’t last the night. And guess who Andrew’s dad blamed it on? That was the final straw. The downward spiral began.
In retrospect, I couldn’t think of anything the movie could have improved on right-out. The plot was solid, the ending was melancholy yet positive, and the characters were consistently realistic. I suppose the special effects were a bit lacking in some places, particularly the talent show portion where Andrew tries to gain some popularity. The balls he was juggling looked cartoony, and the cards didn’t quite seem real. Don’t let that turn you away, though. The movie’s positives are stronger.
Closing notes: Don’t judge a movie based on its commercials. It’s true, Chronicle might not appeal to everyone due to its tone and characterization, but that’s what DVD rental is for. If you don’t want to gamble with the theatre, you can watch for free later on. I’d recommend seeing it in theatre, though. I liked it a lot. Happy viewing, guys ‘n’ gals.