Project Almanac – Movie Review by Frances Winston
Directed by: Dean Israelite
Starring: Jonny Weston, Sofia Black D’Elia, Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista, Virginia Gardner, Amy Landecker
In cinemas February 20th
This is yet another “found footage” style film which has become so popular in recent years. However, where the premise was once an original way of making a movie economically now it is starting to look somewhat tired. Audiences are fully aware that there is a director pulling the strings which detracts from the power of the film no matter what the story. This is especially true when it is a pretty complex time travel tale.
Aspiring inventor David (Weston) gets accepted into the prestigious MIT and goes through the belongings of his dead father (also an inventor) in an attempt to finds something he could use to secure a scholarship. When he finds an old camera with footage of a childhood birthday party he is stunned to see a reflection of his 17-year-old self in the mirror. Upon further investigation he and his friends find blueprints for a temporal relocation device or time machine to you and me. They build the device and when they realise that it works they decide to use it for personal gain provided they always use it together. Unfortunately they forget one of the basic rules of time travel which is that anything you change in the past has a ripple effect in the future. Pretty soon they are travelling back in time simply to rectify their mistakes and they realise that ultimately they must ensure that the machine never gets built.
The premise of this is pretty good and it starts off strongly but the found footage style of shooting is very distracting. This is the kind of movie that would have worked better shot in a conventional style. Once they realise the machine works the plot becomes somewhat complicated as you try to keep track of everything and it does seem to lose the sense of fun that it has at the opening. The young cast do a good job but the weak script coupled with the shooting style disengages the viewer hugely. Its biggest fault is its inconsistency. It manages to be witty in parts and tedious in others and it has some really original ideas which get lost in its ultimate predictability.
This is watchable but never as much fun as it should be. Unlikely to be more than a one time watch for most I’d like to see this remade with a bigger budget and conventional shooting style as it seems like there was a lot of potential wasted here.
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