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Chronicle Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), English Descriptive Audio 5.1 (Theatrical Version), French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: PG-13/NR
  • Run Time: 84 Mins./90 Mins.
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 15, 2012
  • List Price: $39.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:2.5/5]

Director Josh Trank made his feature film directorial view with this film that he co-wrote with John Landis’ son Max. You can think of Chronicle as an attempt to bring the short-lived television series Heroes to the big screen, only with elements of the “found footage” sub-genre that we’ve seen by now in everything from Cloverfield to Apollo 18 and, of course, The Blair Witch Project.

This film attempts to graft the superhero mythos onto its story, taking three high school teens – Andrew (Dane DeHaan), his cousin Matt (Alex Russell), and their friend Steve (Michael B. Jordan) – and imbuing them with superpowers after they make a strange discovery one night while attending a party. That’s where any similarities to real superhero stories, including the aforementioned Heroes, ends. These guys develop their powers and do nothing with them but get involved in hijinks, there is no higher purpose, no sense of justice, or no moral code – at least until the one odd man out, Andrew, begins to let his bad side rule.

This film could have been so much better, but Josh Trank and Max Landis failed to see their vision through to its fullest. It meanders for far too long with no purpose and draws to an obvious close. The fact that there are hardly no consequences to the actions of these youngsters with powers is almost as detrimental to the film as this “found footage” device that stretches believability too far. At every moment a video camera is rolling and capturing all the action, even when it seems highly unlikely, one wonders how much more it can go on. Thankfully the theatrical cut runs just a little over eighty-minutes, so, obviously, it couldn’t go on for too long.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Chronicle was captured in HD on an Arri Alexa, but special effects were heavily applied to the image in order to make it look like lower quality standard definition video and consumer quality HD video. As a result of that, this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer from Fox is hardly reference material, but probably represents the film as it was intended. With that being said, you should prepare yourself for less than accurate flesh tones, weak contrast levels and lots of video noise.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Just as the quality of video is purposely lowered, the quality of the audio is in this DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. You’ll hear the squeezed, nasally sound of dialogue made to sound like it was caught on handheld video cameras, and clipping of sounds. With that being said, it is often effective of somewhat annoying. Stereo imaging isn’t always as precise as I would like it and low frequencies are strong, but they could have been a bit better.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Although both theatrical and Director’s Cut versions are provided on this disc, the supplements are rather weak, including one deleted scene and some brief pre-visualizations and a camera test.

The supplements:

  • Theatrical and Director’s Cut
  • Deleted Scene – Matt and Casey in Kitchen (1.85:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:10)
  • Pre-Viz (1.78:1; 00:07:48)
  • Camera Test (1.85:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:58)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1.85:1; 1080p/24; Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Live Extras
  • DVD
  • Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

I am unimpressed with this entry into the superpowers and “found footage” sub-genre. Granted, this was done on a rather low budget, as most of the special effects attest to, but, still, Chronicle loses its sheen very soon into viewing.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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