Chronicle was a nice little surprise early this year, and the film is hitting Blu-ray and DVD this week. I’d recommend checking out Josh Trank‘s found-footage ‘kids with powers’ movie, as it is one of the better superhero films out there, packed with the spirit of early Marvel comics and Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, to boot. Plus, it has a good performance from Dane DeHaan as a kid who can’t quite handle his new power.

One of the bonus clips on the Blu-ray is a bit of test footage introduced by Trank. The director explains how Fox head honcho Tom Rothman wanted a test scene from the movie as a proof of concept, and goes on to show the scene interspersed with some commentary on how the effects were done. It’s a good compliment to an earlier video showing the origin of the film’s effects.

More than anything else I was impressed by the quality of this footage. Chronicle is a pretty low-fi affair, but it works well thanks to the way the characters are drawn. And while I’ve seen complaints about the found-footage aspect, I think that helped sell the movie as well. Here’s Trank talking about using that conceit:

What was great about doing ‘Chronicle’ at this very moment in time and where we’re at in movies and pop culture in both a combination of the evolution of reality television in the last ten years, as well as the iconic found footage movies that have been released in the last ten years… Audiences are essentially trained at this point to accept this vérité style film, in that we would be able to play off of certain conventions that have already been established but to which there are no pre-established rules, as far as how you’re supposed to do it, because it’s still an emerging aesthetic in a lot of ways.

While I don’t really agree that the found-footage idea is an emerging aesthetic — it is well-used at this point and really hasn’t been developed much beyond its real-life origins in shows like Cops — I do think that the rules are pretty loose with respect to establishing just where the footage came from and how it is assembled. There’s third act stuff in Chronicle that pushes the origin of the footage pretty far, and I was very willing to buy into the idea it put forward. [MTV]

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