The New Chronicles: The Journey Begins is a 1999 El Kadsreian kadsresatsu film written by Sung Gim and directed by Pasi Peure, produced by BTV Films and distributed in the United States by USA Films and internationally by Castle Rock Entertainment. Released on October 15, 1999, it is the first installment of the The New Chronicles series and the first of the TH2 franchise. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, who praised its visual effects and soundtrack, and character designs, but criticized the plot, the film was a moderate box office success, grossing $115.7 million worldwide against its $107 million budget. It spawned a TV spin-off series The New Chronicles: The Story Continues, which aired from 2000 to 2002 in El Kadsre on Banushen Television and in the US on Sci Fi, as well as six more sequels. It has also been considered a cult classic.
In the year 2005 in Capulco, El Kadsre, a meteor collides into the CPN Media Tower, harming several people and disrupting all CPN broadcasts in the process. The meteor is filled with Turectillium, a rare element from the planet Karrak, which has the ability to grant armor which can be activated by will, superhuman strength and eternal youth to the carrier of the element. The meteor is taken into custody at the hands of the UEKN's government and is placed in the basement of the Sentan Government House in Fusa, Sentan. One week later, though, a thief, Katrina Mills (Janet Myeong), a friend of Sentanese-El Kadsreian scientist, Hisato Hashimoto (Hideki Hamasaki), manages to steal the meteor's element, which was made easy after Samuel Jones (Arnold Minstrom) hacked into the Government House’s security systems and disabled all of the security cameras. Katrina rushes back to Samuel’s van, which drives back to Hisato's lab. At Hisato's lab at Tyran University, Katrina, Samuel, and Hisato's fun-loving nephew, Daniel Hiroto (Michael Hamasaki) enter the lab giving Hisato the Turrectillium for him to analyze and try and use as an energy source. As Katrina, Samuel and Daniel leave, though, Hisato gets a garbled message from a Karrakan leader sent through his monitors, and he tries hard enough to decipher it and see what it is.
When Hisato fails to decipher the message, he sends his time-travelling personal droid, SAM (Mark Korvyn) to 30 minutes before the message and travel to the location the message was sent from. SAM finds himself on Karrak, which is currently ruled by a tyrannical leader named Tunar from the planet Ekanxi, Tunar is then revealed to be the one who sent this message, and the message reveals that unless the Turectillium shard is returned to Karrak in 5 days, his army will destroy Earth, and throughout each of the five days, he will send waves of his minions to destroy the El Kadsreian Islands, and take the humans hostage. SAM is then caught by Tunar's assistant Rosiah, who commands elder imprisoned scientist and former Karrakan leader, Kanark to dissect and destroy SAM. Kanark then goes to his lab and secretly spares him, then gives him knowledge of Karrak's warriors born from the Turectillium, the Chronicles: Martukex, Meikin, Ontus, and Brauru, Martukex can manipulate sound, Meikin, lightning, Ontus, water, and Brauru, stone. He then inserts a chip into SAM that allows him to contact Kanark from Earth, and then sends him back home. When SAM arrives at Hisato's lab in the morning he explains the message sent by Tunar and introduces him to Kanark, who tells him the backstory of the Chronicles.
Once, the Chronicles were Kanark's royal guardians born from four Karrakans touching a Turectillium crystal, and for eons, have protected Karrak from evil armies bound on taking over Kanark, both from Karrak and other planets. One day, after stopping an army from infiltrating Kanark's royal laboratories, Tunar and his army came to invade Karrak, and began destroying the Karrakan capital, Amalos. The Chronicles had fought with all of their might, but were immediately thwarted by Tunar and his army, and Kanark was overthrown, imprisoned, and demoted to being a royal scientist. The dying warriors then channeled their form and powers into a Turectillium shard, which was the one encased in the meteor that fell to Earth. Using the last of their strength, they threw the shard into space onto a meteor, hoping that a new race will take their place and return Kanark to his throne. Knowing how the meteor landed on Earth, Kanark believes that Hisato and 3 other people may be the humans the original Chronicles hoped would take their place. After hearing the story, Hisato asks Kanark how to reject the ability of eternal youth out of the shard. Kanark begins to explain, but hearing that he will be assigned onto a task soon, he instead sends the instructions through SAM for extracting out the Turectillium's ability for immortality before ending the transmission.
After hearing the transmission, Hisato invites Katrina, Samuel and Daniel back to his lab, where he tells them the story of the Chronicles. After telling them the story, they all touch the Turectillium shard together and gain the Chronicles' abilities and forms. While examining their new abilities, they discover that Tunar's first wave of minions are attacking Capulco and set out to battle against the minions while still learning their new powers. After defeating Tunar's soldiers and droids and rescuing people, the first wave retreats, and the warriors, dubbing themselves, the "New Chronicles", are hailed as heroes to El Kadsre. Afterwards, however, Tunar transmits another message to every screen in Capulco, this time more clearer than the last one Hisato received, where he warns the residents and the New Chronicles that the first wave was only the beginning, as his next wave tomorrow will be more powerful, and he will send his assistant Rosiah into battle as the next wave's leader.
- Hideki Hamasaki as Hisato Hashimoto/Martukex
- Janet Myeong as Katrina Mills/Meikin
- Arnold Minstrom as Samuel Jones/Ontus
- Michael Hamasaki as Daniel Hiroto/Brauru
- William Benter as Tunar
- Lindsay Smith as Rosiah
- Mitsuomi Ekomoto as Kanark
- Mark Korvyn as SAM
In 1996, after leaving El TV Kadsre, Darren Cody moved to Banushen Media Corporation. He wanted to take Sung Gim's script for the unfinished Technic Heroes film B11: Bionicle: The Next Generation 2 and retooled the script and characters and created the concept for The New Chronicles, and pitched it to BTV Films.
October Films purchased the U.S. distribution rights for $20 million, after a contract battle with Fox Searchlight Pictures, Miramax and R.A. Releasing. TimeWarner also bought international distribution rights outside of the El Kadsreian Islands and the United States in conjunction with Sony Pictures Entertainment. Both Sony and TimeWarner released it through Castle Rock Entertainment and Columbia Pictures theatrically.
Filming occurred in the Capulco, Dallas and Houston metropolitan areas in the summer of 1998. Many scenes at Tyran University were filmed at Fort Worth's Texas Christian University. The interior shots of the Tyran University auditorium were filmed at Music Hall at Fair Park in Dallas' Fair Park complex. The production also shot interior sequences at The Studios at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.
The scenes at the Sanbe Space Center are a combination of establishing shots at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston and shots with the actors at the Texas Instruments plant in Richardson, Texas. Due to scheduling issues, they could not close down the plant for filming, and thus, much of those in the background of these shots were Texas Instruments employees. The scenes at the Allways Mall were filmed in the Houston tunnel system and the Houston Galleria. The McDonald's is on North Belt Line Road in Irving.
The film also employs computer-generated imagery and special effects created by Fuse Special Effects and the Plano-based VFX house Lone Star VFX Productions. The costumes for the Chronicles were designed by Susumu Bramley, who also designed the majority of the characters from Bionicle and Hero Factory.
The films was released by El TV Kadsre Home Entertainment in 2000 in the El Kadsreian Islands on VHS, Betamax, TVD, Laserdisc, and on DVD. It was also released in VHS by USA Home Entertainment the same year in the US. It was released in VHS and DVD by Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment the 2001 in the Australia, Canada, rest of Europe countries, Japan, Latin America, and New Zealand.