Ten Thousand Bytes of Cinematic Critique
Hancock. MacGuffin. Mirrors. Likability. I will explain how those four things tie into this film...but not now. Anticipation!
Oh, wow, it has been a long time since I promised to write about this. I will be brief. 1) Hancock. The film reminded me of "Hancock" because both were about the ramifications of superpowers in everyday, mundane life. While the X-Men franchise tried to humanize the people with superpowers, such as Rogue's inability to touch others, "Chronicle" tries to show what could really happen when teenagers are made into gods. Like anything with teenagers, the results aren't pretty. 2) MacGuffin. I don't quite remember what I wanted to talk about this, but I'll run with it. Three teenagers are exposed to cosmic radiation from a meteor or something, and then it's never really touched on again. The only purpose of the meteorite thingy mabob is to give the kids powers. I can accept that just to move on with the story, and so should you. 3) Mirrors. I loved the way director Josh Trank filmed mirrors. The style of this film is that everything is point of view from camcorders, smart phones, and other video recording devices in the world of the movie. The characters holding these cameras frequently look at themselves filming, sometimes using mirrors. I'm not sure if scenes were edited in post or if the director just set up some amazing shots, but either way, I was impressed. 4) Likability. Most of the people in this movie are not terribly likable. Maybe it has to do with most of them being teenagers, but I find it hard to champion the success of such twats. The character of Andrew Detmer (played by Dane DeHaan) is abused by his father and ridiculed by his classmates, yet I found him to be the worst person in the movie and actively supported his downfall. I sort of wish Trank and co-plotter & writer Max Landis would have taken the characters in a different direction, but the big confrontation in Seattle was certainly well done. One element of films I find fascinating is cost versus receipts. This film had a production budget of an incredibly low $12 million and grossed $95.8 million worldwide. That's a lesson that everyone from Brett Ratner to Adam Sandler should chew on. I don't think you need to see this film in theaters, if it's even still there, but I would definitely catch it from Redbox or Netflix or whatever your service of choice may be.
As an aside, getting older is sort of interesting for a young man. I have already made my peace with the fact that I am older than the best professional athletes, but director Josh Trank was born in 1984. He is, in fact, the youngest director to have a #1 film in the States, joining a 28 year old Spielberg for "Jaws." So, Trank has a box office smash and he probably is too young to have watched "Masters of the Universe" on TV. Where's my Metamucil?!
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