Project Almanac, from Paramount Pictures and Insurge Pictures, is a found footage science fiction thriller, much like the 2012 movie, Chronicle, that is all about time travel. And no matter how smart they may be, giving teenagers the ability to go back in time is not the best idea.
The story follows David Raskin (Jonny Weston), a 17 year old senior and inspiring inventor, who, after being accepted into the university of his dreams, can’t afford the extremely expensive tuition. His mother decides to sell their house so that David can afford to go. David then searches for something in his late father’s old inventions that would allow him to win a scholarship that could help him get into college, and allow his family to keep their house. David and his sister, Christina (Virginia Gardner) find an old video camera that has footage of David’s seventh birthday, where they see 17 year old David in a reflection. After going into the basement and finding his dad’s biggest experiment, David, his sister, and his two friends, Adam Le (Allen Evangelista) and Quinn Goldberg (Sam Lerner), build the machine, and everything seems great up until the point where things begin to go horribly wrong.
There were several things that I liked about the movie, biggest of which is the fact that, once things started to go wrong, they really, really went wrong. When one of the characters (who will not be named for spoilers sake) went back in time to change things by himself, he started to cause disastrous ripple effects. He then tried to fix the ripples, which caused more, even more terrible ripples. It was amazing to see how drastically the present was altered by changing the past.
Another thing that was amazing about the movie was how, there was the problem of the “paradox”. At a point in the movie, one of David’s friends sees himself, which causes the time paradox to try to fix itself by attempting to erase both versions of the friend. From all of the other time travel movies and shows that I have seen, this has been the most interesting way for the characters to fix a paradox, they had to make a set of rules that were very important to the main plot.
Something that I didn’t like as much was how clearly every turn or “surprise” was astoundingly predictable. As soon as a love interest was introduced in the plot, everyone knew that it was really downhill from there. Every move of a certain character was also predictable after a certain point where he tries to fix all of the time ripples that he caused.
Overall, Project Almanac was an awesome movie, from its take on time travel and how changing the past drastically alters the future, to the concept of paradoxes and how the time line fixes itself. Even with the movie’s predictability, Project Almanac was amazing and earns itself three and a half out of four stars.