Project Almanac is a film about a group of teens who discover the blueprint to a time machine. They proceed to build it and then things start to go out of control as they try and change things that have happened to them in the weeks leading up to the build.
The whole film is shot in the found footage style and for the story being told it works incredibly well. The visual effects, when they come in when the time machine is powered up look great too. The found footage works because the story is about how these teens want to experience this as friends and they do it all undetected by their parents and other friends. The power of the found footage aesthetic draws you into their circle.
I do think that I am probably about ten years past the target audience of this film but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. It’s definitely aimed at teens as the plot is a bit too convoluted for younger crowds but not as complicated as some time travelling films that older viewers such as myself would watch. It seems more like a film that you would watch as a teenager to ease you into complex story before you are allowed to watch an 18 rated film or one of the more confusing films. A gateway film perhaps? Let’s face it, any film with time travel can get confusing. It also seemed quite teen related as the main things they want to do are go back and win the lottery, resit and pass tests at school, act out revenge on a bully and go to a festival. All very worthy causes, but it doesn’t quite have the maturity that other time travel films have.
There are some brilliant set pieces in this film that stood out for me. Sam Lerner who plays Quinn stuck out in particular for me. I know he is the funny one of the group so he is probably meant to. When he kept going back to try and pass his test I did find myself laughing out loud. Viewers may enjoy references to Groundhog Day. When Christina gets revenge on her tormentors at school it’s a very satisfying scene.
Overall the story is very engaging and isn’t hard to follow. There is a constant pace to this film as well so you don’t find yourself nodding off or getting bored. You do want to keep with it and follow the story of this incredibly likeable group of friends. I think it is a definite watch for a family and I can see everyone enjoying it.
Dir: Dean Israelite
Scr: Jason Pagan, Andrew Deutschman
Starring: Johnny Weston, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista
Prd: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller
DOP: Matthew J. Lord
Run time: 106 mins
Project Almanac is available on Blu-Ray, DVD and digital from 15 June 2015 via Paramount Home Media Distribution. Here’s a link if you fancy buying it.
Check out this ‘alternate ending’ of the film.