Project Almanac Review
“Project Almanac” is trying to be “Chronicle” with time travel, which is not a bad thing in concept. It fails at doing so spectacularly. “Chronicle” is a cruel deconstruction of teenage superhero movies - instead of being allies of justice, the main characters are teenage boys buzzed on power, which is what would probably happen if an actual group of teenage boys got superpowers. It results in death and destruction and angst, and is overall an extremely well done found footage horror film.
“Project Almanac” shows what happens when a group of teenagers get access to time travel. Instead of evacuating Pompeii or flying jetpacks in the future, they go to concerts, ace tests, prank school bullies and hook up with their crushes. Naturally, things go terribly wrong, and the timey-wimey ball that ensues causes death and destruction and angst.
But, to put it simply, “Project Almanac” just isn’t a good movie. The characters fit perfectly into their cliches - the smart, handsome hero, the token minority, the useless comic relief, the bland love interest - and don’t do anything to make themselves remotely interesting. The males especially are amplifications of a stereotypical teenage boy’s flaws, though that’s more personality than the females, who are there for the fanservice. The abundance of shaky cam is unnecessary, and “Project Almanac” barely has an excuse to be a found-footage movie in the first place.
Not all of “Project Almanac’s” acting is bad, but even the movie’s few good actors suffer from the awkward strings of phrases and clauses that apparently qualify as dialogue. One character says, with complete seriousness, “I’m being bullied in high school.” Thank you, movie, for reminding me that you, a teenager that we’ve seen in a school setting, is still in school and being bullied there. That is definitely the way one would phrase that.
The best thing “Project Almanac” has going for it is mountains of untapped potential. There are glimmers of what could’ve been - the movie has a few moments that are actually mildly interesting - but as soon as they’re over, we’re back to our cast of stereotypes. Imagine Dragons have a cameo, but instead of being happy they’re there, you’re sad that they’re not in a better movie. If you had any kind of expectation for this “Project Almanac”, prepare to see it shattered. If you didn’t, it’s most likely worse than you thought it’d be. It’s not so bad it’s good, it’s just bad. “Project Almanac” is not worth the price of your ticket.