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This Month's Issue

Project Almanac
Friday, January 30, 2015

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Reviewed by: Sir Ed Coke

Over the course of our lives most people get to experience things, both positive and negative, that enable us to reflect on who we are, where we’ve been, and how we want to live out the rest of our days. Sometimes the situations and circumstances are so monumental that we aren’t immediately able to decipher the message the cosmos is sending our way, so we need to take a step back, simmer down, and let the aftershocks settle before reacting.

I had the chance recently to watch a new movie called Project Almanac, which is a sci-fi flick geared toward a younger audience. Basically, a time-travelling movie for the 21st century teen, Project Almanac tells the story of a geeky yet gifted high school senior who finds the blueprints for a time machine and wastes no time building it and taking it for a test run. Along with the help of his naive pals and a buxom blonde younger sister who is continuously documenting their every move (in an annoyingly jolting, Blair Witch Project-esque fashion), the main character manages to traverse time.

It’s an honest attempt at a relatively original concept, however the whole “found footage” angle detracted from the story and pace, and made things hard to digest. At points I became genuinely interested in how the characters would use the time machine to change their past (as we’ve all imagined doing at some point in our lives), however the shaky viewpoint that the audience is forced to endure made it almost unbearable on the big screen. Not to mention the seriously unsettling, and possibly sickness-inducing frequencies blasted into the movie theatre every time the time-machine is fired up. I also didn’t expect the technical aspects of time-travel to be explained in such a movie, or the laws of physics to be followed. However, I would have appreciated some attempt to weed out the obvious plot holes that are so numerous and comical, I couldn’t even cover them all in this review. If you decide to see this movie, those inconsistencies and oddities might prove to be some of the most entertaining parts of the film, so I won’t spoil them here. While Michael Bay (Transformers franchise) gets more of a bad rep’ than I think he deserves, Project Almanac is very high on the list of movies that he’s been involved with that I can’t recommend. There was a Bill and Ted nod at one point, and some decent acting by the young up and comer cast, but to be honest I wish they had better explained how to build the machine so I could go back in time and stop myself from seeing the movie.

As far as MTV films go, it won’t reach the heights of greatness that Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters did, or the lows of an overlooked gem like Pootie Tang… it instead dwells in the mediocre middle.

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