After finding his fathers old camcorder in the loft, David finds footage of his seventh birthday party. But then he spots his eighteen year old self in the background!
Project Almanac (2014)
Project Almanac was first bought to my attention in one of our trailer round ups earlier in the year. A film about a group of time travelling teenagers looked intriguing but the executive producer credit of Michael Bay triggered my caution flags.
It’s easy to see why I decided to watch ‘Project Almanac’ as it deals with the theme of time travel, a true staple of the science fiction genre of which I’m a big fan. But with so many other big blockbuster and small independent films already have tackled the subject, what can this film bring to an already overfilled table?
“A brilliant high school student and his friends uncover blueprints for a mysterious device with limitless potential, inadvertently putting lives in danger.”
Where do I begin?
Maybe the first warning should be that this is a MTV Films production. That should already give you an idea of the level of content. A huge chunk of the middle of the film is set at a music concert and it really needs trimming down. But I’m starting to rant, lets start again.
‘Project Almanac’ is the tale of a young man, David, who along with his friends discovers the blueprints of a ‘temporal relocation’ device in his basement. David’s father had hidden it there before his untimely death.
Seeing as how David has been accepted at MIT, he’s got the right technical know how to put the machine together and get it working. For some odd reason this involves merging it with an Xbox360 because that has a GPU (Graphic Processor Unit). Product placement, you betcha! By the way, its takes the film thirty minutes to reach this point of the story and I’ve been muttering, “come on!” several times already.
David and his friends then start to travel through time, with each jump progressively becoming further in the past. Despite laying down ground rules, they act like typical teenagers and start to use it for their advantage to gain money, popularity at school and so on.
It’s after another forty minutes in that everything starts to deteriorate. Messing with the timeline as Doc Brown would say, has serious repercussions in the space-time continuum.
Without going into further details and spoiling the plot, this is when the film finally starts becoming more interesting but unfortunately doesn’t take it anywhere that we haven’t seen before in other films.
Whilst watching I couldn’t help thinking of ‘The Butterfly Effect’ (Note: If you haven’t seen it, do please watch the directors cut for a better viewing experience.). In fact it felt more like a loose remake at times. I haven’t seen ‘The Butterfly Effect’ for several years but from I remember both of this films were very similar in tone.
Another point, that I think should be taken into consideration is that this film has been produced as a ‘found footage’ style film. Everything in the film has been shot by David’s sister who likes to record everything. Whilst this works for the majority of the time, it does mean she comes across as a voyeur.
Why would you record literally every part of your waking day? The more you think about it, the odder it gets. If she’s not in the scene then that means someone else is doing it for her or she left the camera on in a room hoping to capture something. Perhaps I’m over analyzing this too much!
‘Project Almanac’ is a perfectly serviceable time travel film but offers nothing new, runs for too long and was ultimately a disappointment.
P.S. Don’t get me started on the fact they find a camcorder that hasn’t been used for eleven years and works perfectly when they turn it on!