Project Almanac is a found footage movie that was released in the US in January, a month typically known for terrible movies. While it came out in Australia in February, reading that first sentence pretty much sums up whether you should see the movie or not. The film follows the story of a group of teenagers who discover the blueprints for a time machine in their basement, or as it's called in the movie, a temporal relocation device. So, they follow the blueprints, make the device and go back in time... to go to concerts and parties, because apparently that's what everyone wants to do. But the problem is, whenever they return to the present, they discover that their alterations of the past have caused an abundance of ripple effects, some good and others very very bad.
For a movie that dedicates the first fifty minutes to doing literally nothing but telling the audience 'look how smart we are,' I'm surprised at how unbelievably dumb this film really is. The film takes its time in setting up everything, and it does this at an excruciating rate. There's no actual time travel until halfway through the movie, and by that stage, I'd lost most of my interest in the film. It tried to redeem itself, it did. It tried to have a little bit of fun once the time travel begun to be fully utilised, but even then, it's just not that interesting a movie.
This film's biggest issue, aside from how unbelievably stupid it is (and my god, it is stupid), is the slow pace. The film's first twenty minutes are dedicated entirely to setting up the characters, yet all of the details, which one would presume would be important, are completely irrelevant to the plot. The next half an hour consists of these teenagers, none of whom are very interesting characters despite some half decent performances, attempting to make the actual machine. It's boring as hell and way longer than it needed to be.
There was seriously no need to show the building of the machine in that much detail. We get it. Time machines are hard to make and use up a lot of batteries, now don't go and show me every test, just show me the important ones. Show me the ones that matter and that will actually move the plot forward. There's no need to spend so much time getting to the scenes we actually want to see, despite these scenes turning out to be rather underwhelming and pointless too.
When these scenes do come around, they don't even manage to follow the rules set up during the first half. Yes, time travel has rules. There's a series of scientific evidence and plausible consequences that are mentioned during the first half that are just completely ignored. For example, and this is far from the only one, it's said (and shown) that there will be two you's at one time, yet in multiple scenes, the main characters go back in time and replaces their older selves. Not even the film, which wanted to come across as ultra smart, managed to follow its own logic.
To sum up, Project Almanac tries to set itself up to be a really smart movie, yet somehow manages to get dumber and dumber as the movies goes on, creating multiple plot holes and inconsistencies along the way.
2 1/2 Stars