Chronicle

  • Review Date: February 3, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2012

Common Sense Media says

Teens get super powers in relatable but violent thriller.
  • Review Date: February 3, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2012

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
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7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Three teens form a strong friendship that clearly makes a difference in their lives, though they don't always treat each other perfectly. The movie also suggests that when you're given a special talent or gift, it's important to treasure it and use it wisely; the story serves as a warning against the potentially corrupting influence of immense power.

Positive role models

Matt and Steve are clearly responsible, sensible teens who care for others, and even the troubled Andrew starts out as someone who's trying hard not to emulate his abusive father. That said, he struggles with this challenge.

Violence

Plentiful and sometimes quite brutal. Andrew's father hits him (with his fists) at the slightest provocation; he also says very hateful things that demean and hurt Andrew. When the three teens use their new powers, there's plenty mayhem (people are tossed and battered, cars are thrown, buildings explode) and destruction (blasts, explosions, etc.). Some scenes linger on the bloody aftermath of fights, and some characters die because of these face-offs. A teen is bullied at his high school; his camera is yanked away and tossed to the ground. A classmate tries to strangle him. Later, he gets his revenge.

Sex

Teen couples kiss; one scene shows a bungled sexual encounter. No outright nudity, but major hints at what has taken place. A teen boy is shown pulling up his pants and buckling his belt. Discussions about virginity (having lost it already, wanting to lose it).

Language

Pretty frequent use of words including "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "crap," "prick," "damn," "hell," "goddamn," "p---y," "oh my God," and more.

Consumerism

Labels/brands include Canon cameras, Pepsi cans, and Centrum vitamins.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teen drinking at parties (they hold tell-tale red cups in their hands); some drink to inebriation.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Chronicle is an action thriller about three teens who happen upon a strange discovery and, soon after, develop telekinesis and other powers. There's plenty of over-the-top violence (including deaths, the bloody aftermath of fights, explosions, and other mayhem), and the movie also deals with heavy themes -- chronic illness, abuse, rage, family dysfunction, financial distress, and more -- which makes it too intense for younger viewers. Still, it's surprisingly heartfelt, and it captures well the dynamics of teenage male friendships (especially the way they talk). Some scenes portray underage drinking (to the point of drunkenness), and there's also swearing, sexual innuendo, and implied sexual encounters.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Andrew (Dane Dehaan) is lost and in pain. His beloved mother is bedridden, wasting away with disease, her meds so expensive they can barely afford them. His unemployed father can't contain his anger and frustrations, preferring instead to use them as weapons against his son. Andrew's cousin, Matt (Alex Russell), is a help, but they're not that close. And hardly anyone at his school wants to be his friend; they're too busy making fun of him and his penchant for filming his daily life. Then, one day, Andrew, Matt, and their popular classmate, Steve (Michael B. Jordan), discover a hole in the ground that's vibrating with energy. Inside the cave to which it leads is an unexplained energy source that, after they encounter it, suffuses them with powers they could have only dreamed of: They can move objects, they can withstand heavy blows, and they can fly. At first, they use their talents for fun and games ... until the pressures of real life intervene, and one of them snaps.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Arguably, CHRONICLE's biggest triumph is how it authentically captures the nature of teenage male friendships -- their give and take, what makes them tick. This is what really makes the first half of this fascinating movie, which is part of the same "found-footage" genre as The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, succeed (though that conceit seems unnecessarily gimmicky in this case). Watching the three stars is like getting invited into their fraternity. All three actors share a believable rapport; what motivates and intrigues them is what we imagine fascinates high school seniors on the brink of great change in their lives.

The main storyline is also a good hook: What would happen if random teenagers were suddenly equipped with superhero/comic book abilities? It makes so much sense that they'd waste it on a parking lot prank (a hilarious scene), or by tossing a football at warp speed among the clouds. And it also makes so much sense that things would go awry in a hurry. (To quote another superhero: With great power comes great responsibility.) Can teenagers really be expected to act responsibly, especially when they're sitting on a tinderbox of rage? Sadly, it's when this tinderbox ignites that the film loses its focus. Chronicle's last third feels like a rush to tie up loose ends, with a moral lesson to boot. The movie poses an interesting question, but the answer it comes up with is half-baked.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. How does it compare to what you've seen in other movies about people with super powers? Is all of it necessary to the story?

  • Why are teenagers so cruel to each other sometimes? Parents, talk to your teens about handling bullying in real life.

  • What is Chronicle trying to say about male friendships? What about how strength can be used (or misused)?

  • Why do you think Andrew responds to the development of his powers differently from Steve and Matt? How do the unfolding events at home shape his reactions and decisions?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 3, 2012
DVD release date:May 15, 2012
Cast:Alex Russell, Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan
Director:Jay Alaimo
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Superheroes, Adventures
Run time:84 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense action and violence, thematic material, some language, sexual content and teen drinking

This review of Chronicle was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written bymikenoname February 19, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

A Legendary, Stunning, and Jaw-Dropping Final Action Sequence

This is an incredible film that shows what people with bad intentions can do with incredible power. The film features some party scenes with drinking and some sexual situations. There is lots of strong language used but not extremely inappropriate words (no F-bombs or anything, but lots of s--ts and words like that, nothing the average 13-year old hasn't heard). The film has violence with blood however it is not gory. Only one scene may have only a few kids turning away from the screen. For the plot, this thriller film is about 3 friends (Andrew, the strange, intraverted one, Steve the popular one, and Matt, Andrew's cousin) who have been gifted with strange psychic abilities form crystal-like objects found in a cave. SPOILER ALERT: The first half of the movie focuses on them learning of what they can do and fooling around with their powers, however the last half of the movie takes a dark turn. Andrew begins to deteriorate and coupled with the abuse from his father, the sickness of his mother, and many other things he cracks and begins to use his powers to try to become the "Apex Predator". SPOILER ALERT: he even kills Steve out of anger. He ends hospitalized after trying to rob a gas station and goes on a rampage, with Matt having to intervene. Let me tell you, the last sequence of the film has to be some of the greatest action in film history. I have seen many great action/thriller films such as Jaws, Terminators 1 and 2, Predator, Cloverfield, Iron Man, Independence Day, Avatar, the entire Star Wars series, and many others, but take my word for it, this film has a jaw dropping last half an hour. It honestly took a couple of hours for it to sink in after the movie. It is a must-see for all teens and adults alike who love or even kind of like action movies. It isnt a movie, Chronicle is an experience.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 7 and 14 year old Written bymervson February 8, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Most Depressing Movie I have ever Paid to see.

I love movies and I love Super hero / super power related movies.
This movie left me with an unpleasant feeling which did not encourage me to want to watch it again. A Loner with a drunk father and a dying mother begins filming his life. Goes to a party with his cousin, where they and another boy drop down into a tunnel which has an alien crystal meteor thing. They all get super powers and explore them on camera. The Boys appear to form a friendship, but the power corrupts the main character which spirals the story into oblivion. I watch movies to escape reality, not to watch hyper realism with no positive message. If you are looking for a story of redemption and self discovery you can skip this movie.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 10 years old February 19, 2012
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

AWESOME!!

You babies let them watch i am 10 years old and i watches it seven times

What other families should know
Too much consumerism

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