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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Movie Review - Project Almanac

Project Almanac (2015)
Starring Jonny Weston, Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista, Sofia Black-D'Elia, and Virginia Gardner
Directed by Dean Israelite

At some point in time, the found footage genre is going to lose its allure.  Until then, we're going to be treated to seemingly endless movies focused on teens who come across something odd which either causes some horror or science fiction aspect to take place in their lives (because naturally the found footage genre is seemingly only ever used for horror or sci-fi flicks).  Project Almanac falls into the sci-fi realm and it at least shows some promise in the beginning, but when it comes to the found footage aspect of the film, it's ludicrously preposterous.

David (Jonny Weston) is a high school senior intent on going to MIT thanks to his somewhat brilliant mind for science.  When he's accepted without the necessary scholarship money, David searches through his attic to find some of the clever experiments his deceased father had worked on.  While looking, he comes across an old VHS camera with footage of his seventh birthday party...except on this footage is a clear image of David as a seventeen year-old.  How in the world did "current David" show up at the birthday party of "seven year-old David?"  After a little more digging, David discovers that his father had worked on creating a time machine and while he had some success, he never utilized the device.  Using his father's schematics, David and his buddies soon discover that time travel may not be beyond the realm of possibility.

I was actually moderately on board with Project Almanac at first.  Yes, the found footage aspect is unnecessary, but the story at first is surprisingly interesting and the young cast of relative unknowns is decent and moderately compelling.  Unfortunately, after the group's initial attempts at time travel, the writers begin to delve into the tricky space-time continuum aspects present in every single time travel movie ever made and the whole thing falls apart.  It's entirely possible that the screenwriters actually stuck with their mythology concerning the continuum and it all actually makes logical sense, but it just didn't translate to making any sense to me.  Having been along for the ride for the first hour, it's a shame that this thing disintegrates in the last forty-five minutes.  Let's not even delve into how ridiculous the found footage aspect becomes with these teens needing to constantly pick up the camera when they really should just be running away from things or strategically placing the camera in a position that no one realistically would in order to capture whatever the next image would be.  It really got cinematically horrible in this aspect in the final act -- quite frankly, it may be one of the worst attempts at trying to finagle a found footage aesthetic into a film I've seen yet.  The fact of the matter is that this film didn't need to utilize the found footage aspect and yet because it did it hurt the film even more.

The RyMickey Rating:  D+

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