A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Find another project: this “Almanac” is awful

Find another project: this Almanac is awful

Someone somewhere could make a good “found footage” time travel movie, but “Project Almanac” isn’t it. This movie not only combines all the clichés of time travel movies with all the clichés of found footage movies but throws in the clichés of teen movies as well.

The paper-thin plot is about a teen boy who finds blueprints for a time machine his dad created. The teen, his two friends, his sister and the girl he has a crush on then travels through time. Things, predictably, go wrong.

The sole characteristic of the main characters is they are high school students. All the dialogue between them is basically interchangeable. The only character development there is are when two characters start dating. The actors do the best with what they are given, but it’s not much.

Hints suggest that a plot might start, but then nothing comes of it. When they first find the blueprints, the main guy mentions that his dad mysteriously died in a car crash and he will use the time machine to find the truth, but it is never mentioned again. What he does is use the time machine to win the lottery and get laid. At one point they use the time machine to sneak into Lollapalooza and spend the next 15 minutes dancing to Imagine Dragons.

The movie doesn’t know how found footage works. Found footage is when a character in-story is filming what is happening on screen and all the footage is later found. There is no real explanation to why they are filming everything. All the characters are walking around with at least 10-year-old giant home video cameras, filming everything and none of the teachers or parents find this strange. There are minute-long scenes of them sitting in class or driving. They film themselves finding the camera that they use to film themselves. Why is there a musical montage in a found footage movie? There is no explanation why the characters decided to make a party montage in their experiment video. There is no explanation to who put all these different tapes together. Maybe the characters edited them together off screen, but that begs the question: who put the last 15 minutes on the tape? The cinematography is the traditional found footage junk: a lot of close-ups and constant shaking of the camera. The old home movie cameras capture HD pictures and can zoom perfectly because of course they can.

Don’t bother trying to figure out the time travel in this movie as the film makers didn’t bother to make any coherent rules on how it works. Sometimes they have to get rid of their past selves; other times they just walk in and fill in their space. There is a particularly stupid scene where they go back in time and one of the teens draws a smiley face on his past self and an invisible hand draws it on his present self. Their past and future selves can’t see each other or else they both blink out of existence. Why? Because time travel, shut up.

Speaking of time travel, the movie can’t stop mentioning other better time travel movies that you could be watching.

“Project Almanac” is a dull ride filled with things other movies have done better.

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Sean Curzon
Sean Curzon, Staff Writer

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