Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chronicle


Chronicle (now in theaters) tells the story of three teenagers that encounter something crystalline (maybe something from the movie version of Krypton given its appearance) that seems burrowed underground. This strange event leads them to developing super-powers--specifically telekinesis at a fairly powerful level.  After some exuberant experimentation and sophmoric goofing around, Lord Acton's aphorism plays out in the way expected by anyone who's familiar with "Where No Man Has Gone Before", The Korvac Saga, or Zapped!.

Chronicle is a found footage sort of film, but this is better handled than a lot of other films of this type.  While the movie would probably have worked just as well without it, it adds a first person immediacy to the display of super-powers that someone makes it seem more real.  The flight sequences in particular seem to capture a bit of what it would feel like to fly moreso maybe any other superhero film.  Chronicle's final battle (informed, I think, by Akira and possibly Alan Moore's Marvelman) isn't quite as flashy as what you see in more typical superhero films, but it has a visceralness they often lack.

So how might Chronicle inform gaming?  Well, it seems well-suited as fodder for a "super-powers in the real world" sort of supers game, like Mutants & Masterminds: Paragons or the more grounded mechanics of GURPS Supers. That would be the obvious inspiration.

I think Chronicle might give some inspiration for fantasy gaming, too.  A lot of the wonder and horror that surely would be evoked by the sort of power wielded by rpg mages is blunted by its ubiquity (Harry Potter) or drown out by the surrounding worldbuilding (The Lord of the Rings films).  It might be worth thinking about this some to see if there's a way the "more than motal"-ness of magic-users can be portrayed.  Also, the power corrupting trope is perhaps under-utlized in fantasy.  Maybe there are so many evil wizards because corruption is an occupational hazard?  If so, how would that effect how adventuring parties view their resident mage?

8 comments:

Tim Shorts said...

Thanks for the review. I'm still not quite sold on the movie, but I guess it would be a good popcorn movie.

Trey said...

I would say it's a good movie, period. The couple of friends I know who have seen it, liked it and msot reviews are essentially positive (Ebert liked it, for instance), but of course, YMMV.

Brutorz Bill said...

Thanks for the info. I had forgotten this movie was out.

EvilDM said...

Excellent point - puts me in mind of that phrase, 'power corrupts' :)

purestrainhuman said...

Just got back from it, and my better half, who was dragged along unwillingly, enjoyed it much more than she thought she would. I did too, but I was the target demographic.

gcbrowni said...

I got a VERY strong marvelman/miracleman vibe to that final fight sequence.

One of the best comics ever, and similarities of the movie to it can only to the movie well.

Peter Robbins said...

I thought it was very well done overall. It is the best amateur camera footage film I've seen to date. It got in a good amount of character development even it's 1 1/2 hour run time. I had Akira flashbacks during the final scenes as well. Overall, both my thumbs up. Worth seeing in the theater; if not eventually owning on DVD. For a teenage character based film, it got into a reasonable level of development throughout.

Brendan said...

That looks really good. Thanks for the heads up.