Review: Project Almanac

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project almanacI want to start by saying that I love the suspense, intrigue, surprises, and almost near obsessive mental exercise that is inherent when watching movies which based their plot and action on the concept  of time travel. It is dare I say almost like falling in love, each new moment and thing that you learn is exciting and very rewarding.  And like sex, many of the best time travel films require it not demand repeat viewing. 

However, that now being said, I have also recently realized that also like love, the general premise of basically every time travel movie is ironically well, redundant.

not including the classics like Back to the Future or Terminator franchises Some of my favorites time travel movies include 12 Monkeys 1995, Retroactive 1997, Donnie Darko 2001, The Butterfly Effect 2004, Frequency 2007, Looper 2012

Generally most of  These films are exercises in time travel themselves, in general regards to viewing once the plot device (the ability for time travel) is established then each and every following step of dramatic structure, including specifically the mcguffin (needing to fix the past, without causing a paradox, due to some disaster in the future caused by some change made in the past, and the resolution. (destruction of the time machine or murder/suicide of the antagonist)  and unfortunately Project Almanac is also trapped in this redundancy.

Some reviews gave the false impression that basically “...if you enjoy the movie Chronicle, you will probably like Project Almanac…”  or that “… Project Almanac is Chronicle mixed with time travel…”

The only reason I can assume that the comparison with the two films was every made was 1)  the all “teen” cast 2)  the shaky camera/found footage style of the film.  But that is like saying oranges and strawberries are the same because they are both fruits, it just does not work. While Chronicle was a surprisingly fun film which was unique in that due to the kids super power of telekinesis it allow for the user generated  found footage storytelling angle to work where most other found footage films constantly make you wonder why someone would still be holding a camera even though I will concede that regarding issue, Project Almanac does and ok job at covering the “why the hell are you recording this” conundrum rather successfully.

Anyway, as for the film itself, using the aforementioned almost rhetorically redundant plotline, is made worse by the silly choices the young and dumb teenagers make once they discover they can travel through time. One kid decides to try and pass a chemistry test (it only takes him like ten times)  The kids decided to win the lottery… but screw up the ticket and missing filling in all the numbers, and then the “beauty queen”  of the group convinces them to go back and be apart of Lollapalooza .

Later the protagonist who has had a crush on the “beauty queen”  consistently uses the time travel to fix their relationship that only happened in the first place because of the time travel trip she wanted.  If fact there is a point (the only time a paradox is actually viewed)  where is realizes he is manipulating her and asks “Did it ever occur to you I might have like you regardless?”  which is complete bullshit.(It’s like ugly people saying, “Beauty is on the inside“) The only reason they even meet is because he lets her use his driveway to park her car for a party across the street and consequently destroys it trying to use it’s engine to make the time machine work.

Then for the danger catalyst, (the future messed up by their time traveling) after returning to the present they find out a plane crashed with 77 people all dying and for some reason, even though the accident is completely incidental decide they must go and begin “fixing thing.” There was no actual evidence that their time traveling actually caused the crash and even if it did that it affected them personally.

It was a pointless, impersonal and anonymous accident, how they knew it did not happen before they went back in time was not explain, nor was WHY THE FUCK IT EVEN MATTERED TO THEM.  ANyway true to form, they keep going back in time to fix problem cause by going back in time to fix things and in the end destroy the time machine. redundant, see redundant?? (Before they originally find it, making the entire preceding film narrative in and of itself a paradox)

 

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