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Project Almanac (A Movie Review)

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

Project Almanac

Project Almanac


Starring Jonny Weston, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Virginia Gardner, Allen Evangelista, Amy Landecker, Sam Lerner, Gary Weeks, Gary Grubbs, Macsen Lintz, Michelle DeFraites, Curry Stone, Jamila Thompson, Katie Garfield, Hillary Harley, Courtney Bowers and Imagine Dragons.

Screenplay by Andrew Deutschman and Jason Pagan.

Directed by Dean Israelite.

Distributed by Paramount Pictures.  106 minutes.  Rated PG-13.

I am often on the record of saying that time travel is one of the nearly foolproof storylines.  The multitude of possibilities, the dramatic physical and philosophical quandaries, the life and death situations, the ability to fix past mistakes….  It is almost impossible to make an uninteresting film on the subject.

Project Almanac gave that theory a run for the money.  While it is periodically enthralling, it is much more often just kinda there.

Too bad, because it started with a pretty cool idea.  David (Jonny Weston) is a smart inventor who has just been accepted into college at MIT.  When he and his cute younger sister Christina (played by our old friend Ginny Gardner, using her full name Virginia Gardner here) are exploring their attic they run across their late dad’s old video camera.  In the camera was a video of David’s seventh birthday party – the last time they saw their father, who died in a suspicious automobile accident that very day.  While watching the footage of themselves as young children, they suddenly notice a fully-grown David skulking in the background.

Now that’s a pretty good hook.  Too bad the rest of the film does not really live up to it.

Part of the problem is that the movie is shot in the way-overdone found-footage shaky-cam style, making what little story is here hard to track.  Also, these characters seem – or at least act – reckless and stupid.

For example, David and Christina and their friends,  who include Jessie, the cute girl David has a crush on (Sofia Black-D’Elia) and his meathead buddies (Sam Lerner and Allen Evangelista) discuss the importance of not in any way doing something which may change history.  Then they buy used press passes from the recent Lollapalooza and go back in time two weeks – existing in two places on Earth at one time and taking a huge opportunity of affecting the space/time continuum, just to party while rocking out to Imagine Dragons.  People this stupid almost deserve to be erased from history.

However, Project Almanac plays fast and loose with the idea of time travel.  In fact, they simply ignore a huge, huge plot hole in the climactic sequence.  In his final trip to the past, the hero does something which by all logic would have made it impossible for him to return to the present.

I can’t imagine that the screenwriters did not realize that.  It appears that they just didn’t care, or at the very least they hoped that no one would notice.  Guess what, guys?  We did.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2015 All rights reserved. Posted: June 9, 2015.

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