I think its my age but I’m beginning to notice when a film is clearly not aimed at me. Not necessarily a kids film either but a movie where the story is a bit simple and its much more about the beautiful young teenagers who star than putting together something of any real quality. It means that I sit through a movie that has some great moments but is then much more concerned with trying to force a love story, a tragic past and some goofy characters to pay attention to the huge plot holes or nonsensical moments.
Project Almanac has potential to begin with. You have to get past the poorly judged found footage which is shaky and ridiculous with all the found footage issues that I have dissected before but there is a solid idea in there, which starts with a decent hook. It’s slightly creepy seeing a recent version of yourself on an old family movie and they begin to piece together the missing aspects well.
In fact, I was hooked into the film while the principle teenagers, all outcasts of some sort of course, began to build a time machine. It isn’t a flashy machine, it has major issues and the sequence was put together with some intelligent story-telling. Even introducing the slightly forced love-interest was done quite well.
Issues will always arise when you actually begin to time travel though. It is probably because I’m a huge geek and have watched my fair share of time travel movies but it seems very obvious when it is one done badly – or just in a sloppy way. These issues start straight-away and the film seems more concerned on being cool than actually making any logical sense.
I don’t feel I’m nit-picking either. Some of the issues seem really obvious. Going back continuously to repeat the same moment seems to ignore the fact that there would be other versions that have already travelled, at the same moment, that you need to take care of. It feels slightly silly to get so hung-up on something small like this but when the movie begins to deal with the consequences of time travel, you feel like more care should have been taken with the build-up.
It is a shame because it does do some very cool things. They handle time travel in the same way any teenager would. Lottery win – of course, but with a slight twist that makes it more interesting. Dealing with bullies – definitely, with quite a decent pay-off. Cheat on a test – yes, but in a dumb, pointless way. There is a lot to like but it is always tinged with the idea that it cares more about the cool moments and the love story, than any of the important story aspects to make any sense.
It’s not even that this movie needed to be a scientific lecture on time travel, it’s just that it has been done far better, many more times before. Not just in more serious movies like Looper but back at the beginning with films like Back to the Future.
Overall, Project Almanac is a decent idea done poorly. It is too concerned with being cool, appealing to an MTV, teenage audience that it forgets to make any actual sense, something that is quite important when you’re dealing with a plot that involves time travel. It handles moments well, delivering aspects that are quite clever, but then devolves into nonsense when the story needed to be handled better.
Rating – 2.5
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