A clever film that is weakened by its genre and a nonsensical ending.
“Found Footage” flicks continue to be a dime a dozen. Last year we had a few surprises that elevated the genre, but for the most part it’s just cheap filmmaking. “Project Almanac” falls into this latter category. The hand-filmed POV shots are utilized for no apparent reason, and features shots that completely defy logic/common sense. Fortunately, most of the dialogue is crisp and clever and some self aware references help elevate the film. All of the high school-aged characters in the group are quite likable, even if they act just like high school-aged kids at times.
The story revolves around a group of friends, led by MIT bound David Raskin (Jonny Weston) While looking for ideas to fuel his latest scholarship application, they stumble upon his late father’s project, a temporal relocation prototype. With the aid of a stack of old notes, an xbox, and other items, they are able to construct a fully functional time machine. This is the point where the film beings to hit it’s stride. If you were a highschool student, what would YOU do with a time-machine? Yup, that’s pretty much what they do too. It’s all a lot of fun, creating the most fulfilling moments in their lives, until one of the characters decides to break their self imposed rules. Suddenly the universe as they knew it begins to unravel, and small actions create devastating ripples through time.
For most of the film, the movie plays by its own rules. But in the final act, it all gets thrown out the window. After the “Back to the Future” trilogy, “Butterfly Effect”, “Interstellar”, and countless others, most audience members are up to speed on how changing your own past works. Unfortunately, the final moments of this movie, the “solution”, quite frankly, does not make any sense at all, and immediately deflates all the fun that kept this flick running.
Note: This is an MTV film, and as such, contains an extraneous concert sequence.