Chronicle Director's Cut arrived on Blu-ray this week from Fox Home Entertainment. Having seen this in theaters and loving it, I was very excited to see what the Director's Cut had in store. Chronicle is the best entry into the found-footage genre. Josh Trank did a fantastic job of directing based on a script by Max Landis. What made the film was the story and the great cast, which includes Dane DeHaan (True Blood), Michael B. Jordan (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood), Alex Russell (Almost Kings), and Michael Kelly (The Adjustment Bureau). Don’t look at this as just a superhero movie, it has a strong human element and is a great origin story for what will hopefully be more to come!
The film follows three high school students (DeHaan, Jordan and Russell) as they accidentally discover a mysterious hole in the woods, which leads to them developing out-of-this-world telekinetic powers. Their special powers control them at first, but they soon gain control of their powers. What starts off as fun and games quickly spins out-of-control.
Trank is the key to the success of this film. His ability to deliver an entertaining film with such a tight budget makes me excited to see what he is capable of with a large budget. The film starts off with a lower quality picture, which is explained by Andrew's low budget camera. The quality gets much better throughout the remainder of the film after Andrew gets a high end camera. My favorite part of this found footage film was the use of other cameras to keep the action going. Unlike most films in this genre, the action is filmed on one camera. In Chronicle the action is also shown through the lens of multiple cameras, including closed circuit cameras and the cameras of of people filming in the movie.
The film is much more than just your typical found footage film full of gimmicks. Landis' script and the fantastic cast of up and coming actors work wonderfully together. DeHaan, Jordan and Russell have great chemistry together. Each has great range, and can handle the dramatic and comedic moments of the story. It is so cool seeing their characters learn to master their skills and develop on screen. Some of the scenes are really hilarious. My favorite has to be when Steve moves the car in the parking lot, and when they learn to fly. There are some new scenes that are really funny that are included in this new cut of the film. On the flip side, the scenes where they are coming to terms with the extent of their powers is very dramatic and real.
The interaction between Andrew and his father (Michael Kelly) is so heartbreaking. It may be hard to watch, but is important to see why Andrew becomes what he becomes in the film. As far as origin stories go, I can equate Chronicle to X-Men: First Class. The way that we get to see Magneto from the time when he was a young boy having his parents taken from him during WWII is similar to the way Andrew's home life shatters after his mothers sickness.
The Director's Cut Blu-ray combo pack is full of awesome bonus content. The disc includes a deleted scene called "Matt and Casey in the Kitchen", Pre-Viz, Camera Test, the theatrical trailer, and soundtrack info. What was missing for me was audio commentary tracks by Trank, Landis or the actors. My personal favorite of the extras is the Pre-Viz. It is only shown in SD, but shows CGI animatics of some of the scenes with heavy visual effects.
The colors and sound was great in the theater, and is fantastic on this Blu-ray. That is partly due to the 1080p and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. If you are wondering why the movie looks so good, it's because it was actually filmed using an Arri Alexa digital video camera, which is not a camera that a high school student could afford. This is one of those movies to turn off the lights and the home theater up and enjoy.
Chronicle is available now on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD. If you are a fan of super hero origin movies, I highly recommend you check this out. Do not let the fact that it is a found footage film dissuade you from enjoying such a fantastic film. Trank, Landis and the cast are all ones to watch in the future.