Project Almanac Review

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     If you read my Ex Machina review yesterday, you’ll recall that I heaped a ton of praise for being thought provoking and intelligent, what sci fi should be. You won’t be reading that shit this time around. I really wanted to love this movie, no kidding! I wanted it to be this awesome little gem, the time travel movie for this generation, much like Back to the Future was mine. This movie was so disappointing, I fell into a depression.
     Project Almanac starts intriguing enough, through found footage we see how David (Jonny Weston) and his group of friends using his late father’s blueprints to finish building a time machine. Once they do, they use it to secure their financial future, go to a concert, fuck with bullies, and retaking tests to pass school. Actually, that aspect is very realistic. But once Jessie (Sofia Black-D’Elia) enters the picture, love starts to complicate the shit out of things. As always.
     This is one of the few times that I actually watched a movie twice before I reviewed it. It solidified my opinion on the movie. It’s a sad disappointment. Time travel movies are a fucking wealth of rich moral and ethical dilemmas that cause you to question the laws of time and the universe. This film doesn’t dive into that hardly. The rules are not easily established, and there is really nothing new to the table that’s brought in. The movie rips off Timecop (which it does reference) but when you use a rule from Timecop, you’re not even fucking trying!
     The characters are all generic, they play into stock troupes, the genius who’s a heartthrob, the smart sexy girl, the bubbly sister, the Asian guy, and the Miles Teller-reject. Yep, it’s a Platinum Dunes movie (they bastardized your favorite horror movies from your childhood). I just couldn’t feel for the characters, I couldn’t give a fuck, but I tried.
     Watching it the second time around I pinned down the reason the movie was a let down for me: the found footage usage. I get why this is really popular with genre filmmaking: it’s cheap. It has worked for me in Chronicle, but this time around it felt like they used it to cut corners. There’s a scene where the timeline must get restored and using a chalk board to keep track, but unlike Back to the Future Part II, they use jump cuts to speed up the action so we don’t see him work out the timelines. That’s the best part of time travel movies!!! I still get into the Hill Valley Paradox debate with my friends (I shit you not, the Big Bang Theory devoted an episode to it). The fun, the discussion just doesn’t resonate with me. Hell, the movie ends on such a false note, that I thought there was an extra scene during the credits, but to no avail.
     Folks, there’s a lot of movies on this subject. Movies that will make you think, laugh, argue with your friends. Go see those movies. When you have a movie that involves a set up in the past, that doesn’t even think about resolving it, or damn, addressing it. This is standard Doctor Who etiquette! It just felt like this was a movie made by a committee, not a filmmaker. You deserve better than that. The genre deserves better than this.

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