The rain has been hitting the Bay Area hard the last couple of days, which means I stay at work until noon. And with all those idiots on the roads who forget you can’t drive 80 mph on the freeway in the rain, the traffic problems come in fast and furious. And it’s exhausting.
So when I got home today, I just didn’t have the strength to work on LUCY. Instead, I opted to read the Black List script CHRONICLE by Max Landis, son of director John Landis.
The basic premise is that three teens in suburban Portland, Oregon gain superpowers. The only way this could be considered a comic book movie is if it were written by Warren Ellis, Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore. If you know comics, and those writers in particular, then you know this can’t end well.
I’ll get to the story in a second, but think it’s really important to comment on HOW the story is presented. The whole thing, all 92 pages, is seen via video footage. A docu-drama, like PARANORMAL ACTIVITY or CLOVERFIELD. Everything is from the camera’s point of view. The events have been CHRONICLED. Hence the title. Clever, no?
At first, I wasn’t sure if it was just a gimmick, or if it would eventually go to a ‘regular’ look, but Landis keeps it going throughout the whole thing. And after a while, I could see why.
Using the video footage and breaks between filming, as well as smart dialogue and well-written wide margins, helps the reader understand what’s transpiring onscreen. Sometimes you read something that may seem unfilmable, but after giving it a second read-through, it still works. Quite nicely, actually.
Regarding the story, the main character is Andrew, a loser with a video camera. He films everything. We get a glimpse into his harsh home life, as well as his own personal hell that is high school. We also meet his cousin Matt and school golden boy Steve.
Somehow they find themselves in an underground cave, where they acquire telekinetic powers. This was the only confusing part of the story for me. The cave is never explained. It’s just there. I’ll have to read through it again. Maybe I missed it.
Anyway. Their powers start out small, but get stronger, including the ability to fly. But like the late Ben Parker said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Especially for main character Andrew. While the ability to move things with his mind is at first thrilling and exciting, the more he uses them and the stronger his powers get, the darker he and his world become, culminating in the surprise death of a main character and what a full, all-out super-battle in a major metropolis would really look like.
And while I’m not a big fan of onscreen gore, there were two scenes that, if done properly, would look absolutely brutal.
What I really liked about the script was how you could read more into what was going on, just by how a phrase or sentence is worded. Really effective stuff. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading it, but it was definitely unique and didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. Which is always a nice surprise.
According to the Internets, Fox picked it up last August and it’s in pre-production now with a tentative release date of sometime next year. Thrilling stuff.
Movie of the Moment: GI JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA. Cinematic Velveeta. Campy. Silly. Fun, especially if you’re 12 or under. I’m really glad I did this on Netflix, rather than paid to see it. I mean, really. Acceleration suits? Puh-leeze.
Is this why Christopher Eccleston left DOCTOR WHO? Jeez, I hope not.