Welcome to Chronical: 2067. Welcome to the future. Mankind is fucked. The planet is fucked. The air is mostly toxic and cold fusion nuclear reactors are distressingly unreliable. Everything is, well, proper fucked and the human race is teetering on the edge of complete extinction.
In this dystopian future, Ethan Whyte (Kodi Smit-McPhee – ParaNorman, X-Men: Apocalypse) is just a regular shmoe doing a regular job, only to find himself plucked from the tunnels he normally inhabits and dropped into a desperate plan to save the world from extinction.
A message has been received from the future, a message that asks for him by name. Before you can say “wibbly wobbly timey wimey”, Ethan is drafted into this last attempt to save the world and gets shot into the future where, if people are still around to send messages, they must have found some way to save themselves and the planet. Ethan has to find who these people are, find out why they’re asking for him specifically, and come back with a way to save the planet from destruction.
Now before we go any further, let’s talk about the “bootstrap paradox” which is what the plot of this movie hinges on. This is where one event causes a second event which was actually the cause of the first. The best explanation is from that long running destroyer of timelines and relativity – Doctor Who. Let’s say you have a massive fan of Beethoven who also happens to have access to a time machine (this is more common than you might think). They travel back in time to meet the composer and realise he hasn’t written the Fifth Symphony yet. So the fan writes it down for him, Beethoven goes “That’s amazing!” and publishes it under his name. So who wrote it in the first place?
In this instance we have Ethan going into the future to find a cure to bring back to the present. But if he goes into the future to get it and brings it back… who created it? That’s only one of the issues with time travel this film raises. Honestly, just don’t think too hard about it. There’s some dabbling into issues of predestination and paradox but this isn’t a science-heavy story. This is a story about people and the things they’re willing to do to survive and protect the ones who matter to them.
So what about our characters? Well, Ethan certainly doesn’t fit the heroic archetype. He’s a weedy kind of guy, more concerned with looking after his wife than the fate of the world. He cries a lot. In fact, pretty much everyone cries in this movie for various reasons. That said, as the film progresses you begin to empathise with Ethan and understand exactly what drives him and how circumstances have shaped him. In truth he’s probably far closer to how most of us would be in this situation!
He’s accompanied through most of the film by his brother/guardian Jude (Ryan Kwanten – True Blood, Apollo Gauntlet) who comes across as being a bit more of your archetypical hero. Strong, brave, a bit swaggering. Initially his reactions to things are somewhat confusing to put it mildly, but as the story unfolds we learn more about his character and the pivotal part he has to play in events.
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There’s also a really rather good soundtrack by composers Kenneth Lampl and Kirsten Axelholm. (The two of them also provided the music for horror The Furies as well as the short film Whale Heart.) It’s a purely orchestral score that works as a piece to listen to on its own. Standout tracks include the thundering and ominous ‘The Landing’, the wistful strains of ‘Apotheosis’ and the rousing, hopeful brass and strings of ‘Flashback’. It reminds me of something else, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. (Wait! I got it! The Day After Tomorrow! It reminds me of the main theme. Phew. Got there in the end.)
So, was this a good film? Well… no. Was it an okay film? Yes. It’s got some good moments, some good music, but the acting is ropey in places, the VFX occasionally jarring and the whole time travel aspect doesn’t really make a massive amount of sense if you think too hard about it. It’s not the best thing I’ve ever watched but it is by no means the worst. Definitely check it out when it hits your streaming service of choice and give the soundtrack a listen if you can.
Chronical: 2067 is out on DVD and Digital HD on 7th December from Signature Entertainment.