Project Almanac

Project Almanac

In Theatres: 
Jan 30, 2015
Running Time: 
106 minutes

Second chances are a rarity in life. Once a moment has passed there’s oftentimes little a person can do to go back and fix whatever initially went wrong. The only option is to push forward in the hopes that you can redeem yourself along the way. But what if you could go back in time and fix your mistakes? What if you could repeat the past to change the future? Project Almanac uses time travel for that exact purpose, but rather than do something productive for society the film explores the typical fun a person would have if they could travel back in time. It’s all fun and games in the past until someone from the future gets hurt.

David Raskin (Jonny Weston) is one of the smartest kids at his high school, but he is not the richest. So after the initial happiness of being accepted to MIT wears off, he finds himself in desperate need of scholarship money. While looking through his dad’s old stuff, he and his friends stumble upon the materials and instructions on how to build a time machine. Rather than go back in time to kill Hitler, though, the group uses their new machine to do fun stuff like win the lottery and go to a music festival, and get back at the people who have hated on them. But everything has a ripple effect, and small changes in the past can make big impacts on the future.

Project Almanac could have been something great with its found-footage time travel theme, but rather than explore the possibilities in a new and entertaining way, the film’s plot can be boiled down to the nerdy guy using time travel to get the hot girl. It’s laughable.

The rules of time travel are also the most relaxed I’ve seen in a film. Most films attempt to establish some set of rules that prevent paradoxes, but Project Almanac has essentially none. They set up their own guidelines, like how no one should ever time travel alone, but that doesn’t necessarily prevent them from doing whatever they want in the past. The film does show that they can “disappear” into a time loop if their future self meets the past self, but it doesn’t do much to show how that affects the bigger picture. Essentially you have to ignore everything illogical about the film, of which there is plenty.

That being said, there is still some entertainment to be had out of Project Almanac. The cast of characters are enjoyable enough and there are moments of witty dialogue. They all really sell the idea of it being found-footage, although the typical chaotic camera motions plague the film as well.

Project Almanac works best when you’re not thinking too deeply. It had the potential to be something interesting and great, but it’s cheesy story holds it back from being anything other than mindlessly entertaining. Unfortunately there’s no machine to go back in time to fix that.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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Joe's picture

I,d give this movie an F can't stand these video patch work movies