PROJECT ALMANAC | REVIEW

PROJECT ALMANAC is the latest “found footage”movie that will no doubt make some people throw items across the room and some others (literally) throw up in the cinema. Found footage has been done to death and then done again. But this time they have combined it with teenagers and time travel, from the first trailer I was very keen to see it, it looked like arrogant brats were about to get themselves in trouble. I had to go interstate for work and Kernel Kerryn stepped in to review this one. I have to apologise if the review appears somewhat patchy, sad news is Kerryn has been in hospital with pneumonia and had not completed the review, he is home now and recovering and his mum got his first draft for us. I have edited it to the point of coherence but since I have not seen it I can do little to add more content. Still reads much better than anything bloody Wilkins has published 🙂 Best wishes from all at Salty in a speedy recovery Kernel. PROJECT ALMANAC released today (25th Feb) in Australia from Paramount Pictures Australia, is rated M and runs for 106mins. While Kerryn was not a huge fan, I am still somewhat keen to see this – hey, I loved JUMPER 🙂 All the best………………JK.

 

PROJECT ALMANAC MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
PROJECT ALMANAC | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY KERRYN WILLIAMS

I went into this film not knowing anything about it and then I saw it……….produced by Michael Bay, suddenly all my hopes and dreams of enjoying this film came crashing down faster than Micheal Keaton’s Oscar dream. The start of the film centres on a group of teenage school kids putting together a video submission for MIT, showing us upfront and immediately that David Raskin played by relatively unknown Jonny Weston (TAKEN 3) is some sort of high school geek with a brilliant scientific mind, even if he looks like the cool kid on the block and void of pimples and glasses. So I wont lie, I was somewhat intrigued as to where they (the filmmakers) were going to go with this.

David’s submission to MIT goes unfulfilled and his mother, believing in his abilities, decides to put the house on the market to substitute the enormous fees for such a prestigious university. His sister Christina (Virginia Gardner) helps David start clearing out the attic in preparation for the sale of the house when they stumble upon an old digital video camera. Within the footage of said camera David see’s what appears to be his present self attending his own seventh birthday party. Upon further investigation and prying around in his deceased father’s basement the group soon uncover the location of secret files and a mysterious device. David and his friend’s band together to begin building what the uncovered plans hold and soon it sets them on a path that will forever alter their future and past forever.

 

PROJECT ALMANAC MOVIE IMAGE
PROJECT ALMANAC, SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | CAST BUILDING THEIR TIME MACHINE

 

Director Dean Israelite (cousin to Jonathan Liebesman from BATTLE LOS ANGELES, TMNT fame) decides to follow the trend of new first time feature directors and go down the path of the ‘found footage’ formula with shaky hand held cameras. If you are not a fan of such films as CLOVERFIELD you should probably turn away now. Whilst I do believe that the formula has its merits for some films such as CHRONICLE this time however it just adds to the cliché rather than the ingenuity of the film and I think in the end is more of a hindrance and is unnecessary.

It’s hard to see (let alone the shaky cam) why this story was backed by Mr Blow Stuff-up, oh wait that’s right he doesn’t care about the story he just wants to well… blow stuff up. The whole film is as illogical as Michael Bay’s thinking process and what starts out well enough soon becomes a tired repetition of ‘done before’ and ‘can’t really think where else to go with this so we’ll just copy every time travel movie before us’ process. The story lacks conviction and unlike films of similar framework has us not really invested in the choices the characters make, which are rather unimaginative and safe. The cast of relative unknowns however are actually the best thing about the entire film – I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or an indication of just how south everything went after the opening sequence.

 

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PROJECT ALMANAC | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | CAST ABOUT TO TRAVEL

 

Paramount seem to be forever searching for the next big thing and I will give them kudos for giving new talent a go, however it seems now that the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY days are thinning out they are desperate to punch among the big guns of Disney or Warner Bros. The superhero thing is huge, there’s no denying it, and it is evident everyone is looking for a piece of the pie.

PROJECT ALMANAC is forever trying to be bigger than it really is as the high school students use their temporal displacement device (for those of you playing at home aka ‘a time machine’). Using it to enhance their lives by winning the lottery and experiencing massive music events instead of attending class and soon enough this whole inward thinking begins to show signs of frailty and the importance of altering time. That right there is a huge issue but no the writers just loosely gloss over that golden rule of time travel and like bludgeoning your head against a brick wall they slowly throw out the rules of time travel and just make stuff up as they go. I sat there and was astounded how they had just simply forgotten the rules, instead the filmmakers went with whatever was cool – nothing else mattered. Jonny Weston will be one to watch and hopefully he will be able to shake off this film or he will become lost forever.

 

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PROJECT ALMANAC | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | TRAVELLING APPEARS TO HAVE GONE SOUTH

 

The effects are clever and suit the tone of the film well and there are a few moments dotted throughout that are crafted nicely but never really quite capture the mysteriousness or danger of such a possibility as time travel.

PROJECT ALMANAC isn’t anything more than a teen film seemingly by teens for teens as far as the story is concerned. If you are looking for a great time travel movie this isn’t it, go for BACK TO THE FUTURE or PRIMER or BILL AND TED or BUTTERFLY EFFECT or LOOPER or STAR TREK IV or DONNIE DARKO or 12 MONKEYS, save this one for when you are at home in bed recovering from pneumonia.

 

1 and a Half Pops