As if we haven’t had enough of the found footage thrillers, “Project Almanac” reinforces the trend and places #2 for the Box Office sales last weekend. After discovering hidden plans for the world’s first time machine in his dead scientist father’s basement, lead David Raskin (Jonny Weston) puts it together with his friends and adventure ensues. This movie follows high school sci-fi cliches as they use the machine for their personal gain, like winning the lottery, being popular and getting girlfriends. Obviously, this cliche rips a hole in the space time continuum and really bad things start happening. Once the friends start to disappear one by one, they must go back in time and stop the machine from ever being created.
“Project Almanac” has a lot of qualities that typically turn audiences off. Found footage movies are irritating to most people and leaves them questioning, “Would a normal person keep filming when something catastrophic like that happens?” The plot of the film is also one of the most recycled in sci-fi movie history, and the actors are not well known. Despite these hardships, “Project Almanac” is interesting to watch. The characters are well rounded and interact with each other like real people. The girls (Sofia Black-D’Elia, Virginia Gardner) are not there to serve as the typical “loyal girl friends” but have actual character development. The movie is meticulous in building the group dynamics. When the teens start disappearing, the audience really feels the hurt. “Project Almanac” also manages to follow the precedential “time rules” laid by past time travel movies.
On the flip side, the found footage is choppy and lessens the impact of good characters by confining the story to the shots on the camera. The plot is pretty unoriginal and slow getting to the time travel action. Overall, though, the film is stylish and decently marketed for the young adult age group. It’s a good balance of funny and serious when things start going downhill for the group, and will entertain the average moviegoer with a good adventure.
“Project Almanac” is rated PG-13.