A week into its big screen life, things are looking good for Josh Trank’s ‘Chronicle’. So far, it’s more than doubled its estimated budget of $12 million while garnering 80%+ Fresh ratings on Rotten Tomatoes from both critics and moviegoers. Early or not, those are the type of numbers that has studio execs taking a hard look at green lighting a sequel. And while studios seem to view the numbers as the primary driver and not the storytelling, the question one has to ask about ‘Chronicle’ is did Trank provide enough creative narrative for a ‘Chronicle 2’? Based on my take of the movie, the answer is a resounding yes.
In today’s society, it often feels like the quickest buck in movies lie in reimagings, adaptations, or sequels. In some ways, Hollywood has lost its creativity and drive, focusing more on the sure thing (or what they perceive as such) before pouring on the financial backing. There are precious few ‘Inception’s being made; an original and creative story without origins coming from previous film or print media. That’s not to say ‘Chronicle’ is super-original. After all, it takes elements from a handful of successful entries (‘The Blair Witch Project’, ‘Spider-Man’, and any teen movie where the popular kid meshes with the nerds) but it blends these elements into a sharp, fun, and daring ride that’s as refreshing as Chris Nolan’s tour-de-force (without ‘Inception’s deserving Oscar nomination, mind you).
Telling the tale of three high school students who come across an unexplained artifact that grants them powerful telekinetic abilities, ‘Chronicle’ and it’s “found footage”, is an examination into how much power can corrupt. And while not everyone survives the climatic battle, Trank has left quite a few gaps a sequel could fill.
“I’m just so curious how this is going to resonate,” Trank told PopWatch. “If it feels like the demand is there and the desire to see how this story can continue is there, we definitely have ideas.”
That’s good to hear. The best stories are those that, while giving us a satisfying ending, don’t tie up all the loose ends in a pretty bow. To me, this is ‘Chronicle’. There are many questions that go unanswered as the final scene fades to black with the most probable one being where did the artifact imbuing Andrew, Matt, and Steve with such fantastic powers come from? Is it one-of-a-kind or are there others like it buried throughout the world? If the latter, have others been touched by its power? How have they been able to remain unnoticed? Who are the creators of this fantastic device? Was it by accident that they left the artifact here or was it a test on a grander scale to determine humanity’s worth?
There are so many open ended questions left that could be explored in a sequel but Trank and company need to be careful. Sometimes a story should be told in a single volume, allowing the audience to create their own worlds by way of discussion boards or fanfiction. Sometimes having the question answered by our imaginations is better than receiving a failed answer (see ‘Underworld: Awakening’ as an example). As a fan of Trank’s storytelling, I’m all in for a second helping of ‘Chronicle’ so long as he finds a way to connect the sequel to its predecessor and maintain the wonder and magic of the first installment.