Category Archives: found footage
Apollo 18 ~ Much like my earlier review of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, this movie pulls at my nostalgic heartstrings. NASA, the Apollo program, the moon landings, Skylab, Tang, all that stuff is a part of my childhood, and monumental to the 1970s. It’s worth noting that even Steve Austin was an astronaut, that’s how tied together this all is. And a movie about a mysterious Apollo 18 mission fits right in with my recent flights of nostalgia.
From the opening moments of Apollo 18 where it portends to be a found footage film, my heart sank. This type of filmmaking rarely works, and if it does, it usually falls apart at the end. Blair Witch and Chronicle are the rare exceptions to the rule. I hoped this would be as well. Just don’t think about how it is you’re watching this film. It’s apparently edited together after the fact, takes advantage of the poor video quality of the missions, and also spotlights bits of film the viewer is supposed to pay attention to. For me, that kind of ruins it. Don’t oversell, and don’t underestimate your audience.
We see lots of the cast, but sadly the film doesn’t give us enough of the astronauts for us to care about them. This probably remains the biggest fault of the film. That said, once into the premise and watching the movie, you can’t take your eyes off it. So settle in, dim the lights, and add some vodka to your Tang, you’re in for an intriguing and startling ride. Not what I expected at all. Relax and enjoy.
Chronicle ~ The famous tagline of the Amazing Spider-Man legend is “With great power comes great responsibility”, and that’s really what this ‘found footage’ scifi horror adventure flick is about. Or maybe that’s what the tagline for Chronicle should be, because as we see as the movie proceeds, we need to add a word to the saying – “With great power should come great responsibility.”
In the film, Michael B. Jordan (“Friday Night Lights”) the popular guy, Alex Russell the regular guy, and Dane DeHaan (“In Treatment”) the picked-on misfit nerd with family troubles all get super powers, specifically telekinesis. This commonality bonds them to each other in an unorthodox friendship. Much like M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, the best part here is the boys learning to use their powers. One particularly wonderful scene shows them learning to fly. It’s breathtaking. If “Smallville” had done it this well, it would still be on the air, and if The Man of Steel (telling the origin again) does it like this, it will be a hit. Worthwhile just for these scenes.
Things break down of course each one subjected to their own inner struggles. Guess which one becomes the villain, kinda telegraphed, but still well done. The ending battle is pretty cool as far as special effects go, but the found footage format makes it difficult to follow. As much as I usually dislike that kind of flick, the end is the only place it doesn’t work. This was much better than I thought it would be. Recommended for the genre crowd.