Superheroes! Zap! Biff! Pow! They seem so put-together when they’re covered in spandex, but as we all know from Smallville, it takes a while to get from having powers to being super. Chronicle is the latest “Found Footage” film to hit the theaters, and it shows three boys trying to become super-men after they get their powers on. It’s a film with tons of trippy, amazing scenes of superhero derring-do, but all the special effects in the world can’t cover for a weak storyline. As a wannabe comic book nerd, I’m bummed that a movie that came up with such a great premise failed to deliver a movie I cared about past the closing credits.
Remember high school? You either hated it, or it was the Best Time Ever and now you’re pumping gas or ghostwriting YA novels. Andrew, the male version of Carrie White of his local high school, has just bought a camera and has decided to film his day-to-day life. Cool burnout cousin Matt thinks that’s a lame way to hide from the world (and hey, it kinda is) but since Matt has no real interest in spending time with his cuz beyond the token morning ride to school, it’s a non-issue. That is until senior class uberdude Steve finds something in the woods during a party Matt dragged Andrew and Andrew’s camera to. When these three guys head down the rabbit hole — literally — they find something way cooler than Peter Parker’s radioactive spider. The next day, they’ve got powers. Powers that seem to get stronger and stronger every day. But the guys react to these powers differently; wanna guess what happens when they stop getting along?
How do you review a movie that wasn’t great, but didn’t suck? A movie that pulled you in, but not far enough in that you were absorbed? A film that wasn’t bad, but didn’t feel like it was made for you? Such were the questions I asked myself before I sat down to review The Grey, a movie about a group of men trying to survive in the cold harsh winter (of their discontent) of Alaska, wolves circling around them ready for dinner. It’s an interesting character study, with the group of tough guys slowly breaking down one by one. But gorgeous views of Alaska and the well-done animatronic wolves weren’t enough. For me, I wanted more.
The Grey is a man vs. nature film, and you need to be a dude (or in a dude frame of mind) to really get into this film. Or perhaps it just that this film suffers from a lack of dramatic structure. You can easily pick out the movies director/screenwriter Joe Carnahan (The A Team, Smokin’ Aces) loves as this movie unspools. Go ahead; you won’t miss much if your mind wanders. The Thing (scary!cold), Alive (dudes survive a plane crash!), Ghost and the Darkness (scary!animals), Wolfen (wolves! eek!), Solaris (dead wife visions!) Cliffhanger (daring feats of ice bravery!) But I like to think of The Grey as Deliverance. With wolves. Cue the banjo music…oh wait, wolves don’t have opposable thumbs. No wonder they’re pissed.