RELEASE DATE: 26/02/2015
RUN TIME: 1HR 46MIN
David (Jonny Weston) is a 17-year-old high school student who’s just been accepted to MIT (see: David is a genius). Searching through his father’s old things he discovers a video camera that shows 17-year-old David attending his own 7th birthday party, coincidently, the last time he ever saw his father alive. This sends David, his sister Chris (Virginia Garner) and two best friends Quinn (Sam Lerner) and Adam (Allen Evangelista) on a journey that leads them to building a time machine invented by David’s father. Coming along for the ride is Jess (Sofia Black-D-Elia), the hot girl who just happens to be David’s crush. Starting off having fun and righting a few wrongs, things take a turn when the rules start to be broken and the group discover the true consequences of their actions, creating snowball and ripple effects that change the future - and not for the better.
It’s the ultimate question, isn’t it... If you had a second chance, what would you do? What would you change? In the beginning the audience gets to live vicariously through these friends - If you’ve dreamed it, they do it, from ditching school to go to a music festival, walking into a car dealership and making it rain, winning the lottery and getting the girl. It’s that last one which is where I think ‘Project Almanac’ gets it right. It doesn’t get caught up in the science and the group don’t try to become superheroes, all that happens is the guy gets the girl. His intentions are endearing, and not many of us could say we wouldn’t do the same thing. It’s so cute. So noble. And the fight to keep the girl is almost poetic. However, it’s sadly this overwrought romance that causes the fizzle factor at the film’s dramatic conclusion. We know from the beginning where it’s going to go, but it’s the love story that takes over from the impact and instead makes us go, "Oh yeah, I forgot about that.”
The cast are fantastically charismatic and relative unknowns, adding to the found footage aspect. First-time feature film director Dean Israelite has done a sound job and he’s only going to get better. Sure, a short order of suspended disbelief is needed - after all, they are asking us to accept that a group of high school kids have built a time machine, but it’s all for the sake of entertainment - and entertainment it is.