Anthology of Interest: He’s got teen angst and he’s not afraid to use it
Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
By Mike Girard
Chronicle is a story about three kids from different backgrounds who gain superpowers and learn the importance of responsibility. In other words, it’s every film ever made about young heroes with powers. But, much like scripted reality television, the story isn’t what I like about it.
From the first scene of the film (featuring a startlingly real and disturbing exchange between an abusive father and his lacking-in-confidence son), I am led to believe that this movie will have a dark, intrinsic mood. But as the film progresses, I find myself laughing at the antics of three high school seniors who have stumbled upon supernatural powers. The movie’s writer, Max Landis, should be proud of his natural and infectious dialogue.
Director John Landis is also clever in his cinematography. The telekinetic powers of Andrew (played by Dane DeHaan) make Landis a regular Alfred Hitchcock, allowing for great still shots and views of the character behind the camera as well. But enough about boring director stuff.
Movies about the origins of super-powered people never spend enough time on the mechanics of their powers. We never see Spiderman’s web-spinners in a quantifiable situation, and most of the time (at least in comic books), the quantification of a hero’s powers are what makes the comic interesting. Marvel even has a database devoted to how much weight each of their heroes can lift (Iron Man can lift 100 tons, incidentally). In that respect, the tale of Steve (Michael B. Jordan), Matt (Alex Russell), and Andrew quenches my thirst for understanding. The three surmise that telekinesis can be strengthened like a muscle, and they presumably spend a lot of time off-camera lifting cars or something. The on-screen power usage is always memorable.
Of course, superhero movies suffer from a predictable formula – it’s a blessing and a curse. The audience knows that a villain must eventually creep up out of the rich, insane, or in this case, angst-ridden woodwork, and it is the director’s job to make each moment in the evolution of his characters’ identities memorable. This includes the good moments, too – I swear the whole theater was smiling when the three high school seniors realized their new found powers enable them to fly. The found-footage style of the film made the boys’ joy all the more real; playing football at 10,000 feet never looked so fun (or cold and wet). Still, it doesn’t take much to figure that Andrew (who spends his time disassembling spiders like clockwork) has villainous attributes.
The ticket for this film cost the usual $8.50, and it was money well spent.
A webcomic that’s not about pop culture or farts
It seems like everyone and his mother makes web comics nowadays. One day last month, I saw six different professional-looking web comics that I had never seen before. The vast majority of web comics are either too boring or overrated, but I’ve seen a few genuinely funny ones like Dinosaur Comics or Dr. McNinja .
My favorite, though, has to be xkcd . In a sentence, it’s made by smart people for smart people (not that I’m smart enough to understand all of them). For example: here’s one that everyone can understand, here’s one that I could understand given a few minutes, and here’s one that I’m probably still researching on Wikipedia as you’re reading this. Here’s one more for good measure.