I don’t hear a lot from FOX. I give them a lot of strife, mainly because with the properties they have and the potential they have as a studio, I want them to kick ass. Last year, with X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES… things got real interesting at Fox. So when the studio called saying they wanted to show me CHRONICLE early… last week in fact, I was curious. Director Josh Trank is apparently going to be helming my personal favorite Marvel Comic franchise. FANTASTIC FOUR. Now, Fox stumbled the first time out of the gate. But man, I don’t like bitching all the time. I want some valid reason to actually hope and believe that Fox will make a great FANTASTIC FOUR film some day.
Well… if they trust and completely support Josh Trank after CHRONICLE… we might have something fairly extraordinary. Because CHRONICLE kicks fucking ass.
Yes, it is one of those, “FOUND FOOTAGE” movies… BUT, where that usually means a combination of static tripod shots, taping the camera to an oscillating fan… or shaky handheld work… HERE, because you’re dealing with the camera man being one of the 3 budding Super Individuals… he telekinetically begins controlling the camera, and you start getting shots that are absolutely fucking awesome.
Let’s back up.
CHRONICLE is a chronicle started by a kid that is abused at home, where his mother is dying and the father, who was injured as a Fireman, takes out all his grief on Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan). He is also picked on at school. But he begins to retreat behind a camera, putting something between him and the world. As a result, I began thinking of this kid as being a bit of a Peter Parker type. Only, if he never had Aunt May & Uncle Ben. This kid never heard, with great power comes great responsibility. No. He has learned to duck his head and try to survive. Being the weakest amongst us. But his cousin and the star athlete student at school. Because of his camera, they’re going to invite him on something that will change all of their lives forever.
Let’s talk about those two for a bit. Alex Russell plays Matt Garetty, he’s Andrew’s cousin. While Andrew looks like a three quarter morph from BASKETBALL DIARIES DiCaprio and EMPIRE STRIKES BACK’s Mark Hamill… My dream to play Anakin in a remake Prequel by Fincher btw. But Alex Russell comes across like a less cynical young James Van Der Beek. He’s a good guy. Not excellent. He gets by in High School, read philosophy, hatches theories, bit of a joker, but he does try to take care of his cousin. Then there’s Michael B. Jordan as Steve Montgomery – and I love this kid. While Dan DeHaan has the angsty awesome show role, Michael B Jordan is the kid we all want our kids to grow up to be. Charismatic, charming, hopeful and cool. Without a doubt you believe in all 3 of these kids as being exactly what they’re supposed to be.
They’re 3 kids that happened to come together at a party to experience an event, kinda like BREAKFAST CLUB, but instead of it just being an amazing afternoon of detention… it’s a something, burrowed in the Earth, that activates that thing in our brain that would make us all really powerful fucking Jedi Knights. Like, fuck up Yoda and shit.
It starts small. Moving small things. Moving bigger things. Tearing things apart. Pranking folks. Perform magic tricks. Fun & Games. Then you learn you can fly. This sequence in the film. Dear God, it’ll give you dreams. Serious flying dreams. It’s just friggin perfect, scary and awesome. Because let’s face it, if you could fly… that first time, it’d be scary as hell… and awesome.
Where it goes from there… you don’t really need or want to know. There’s hints in the trailers of a darkening cloud – and folks, this film does turn and the one thing it doesn’t stop doing through out is… KICKING ASS!
Josh Trank has managed to take the “FOUND FOOTAGE” genre, and instead of telling a very limited tale of occasional things happening, he’s turned it into a first person Superhero Origin story that is absolutely cinematic and intimate.
How could this be? Well, I’ve heard that Josh Trank is something of a special filmmaker from folks that know him. But in addition, he and Max Landis put together this story, and Max wound up with the credit for the screenplay. And yes, Max’s dad is JOHN LANDIS.
The dialogue in this is not only note perfect, but it is delivered as it all should. Josh Trank has got my attention. I just hope he gets to team up with Max Landis for FANTASTIC FOUR, if they nail the casting of those iconic characters as well as they put together their cast for this. If they nail their characters and given the budget to deliver the action that this small film gave us, but with that group… Maybe we’ll have a great FANTASTIC FOUR film.
I can’t wait to show Austin Geeks this film next Wednesday! This is one helluva movie. Go into it unspoiled, not knowing the twists and turns, relish this first experience. Then take some friends so you can see them react. It’s that kind of fun!
When trends come around, there's a few films that come out of it that are really what it was invented for. We've been conditioned to think of the limitations of the P.O.V. film. Cinematically, there was always a limited of grandeur, because the camera was always moving by human hands. Here, when Andrew telepathically uses the camera as his avatar eye view, this film becomes something to be in awe of. But when that gets amplified by other cameras recording things, the cinema of this film explodes and really makes it exciting as hell. As if every comic panel had a person with a camera there. And all those pieces became the film. And really big things happen. In many ways there are Kirby perspectives at play here. And I really really like that. A lot! As you can see.
Can not wait to see it again!