26 February 2017 | zkonedog
Teens And Time Travel
When I first heard of the concept for "Project Almanac", I was fascinated by the idea of a "teenage time-travel" flick. Sadly, while the film was supposed to be released in the early summer of 2014, I believe, it got pushed all the way back to early 2015. Thus, it just recently opened to not very much fanfare. Fortunately, though, the film is very entertaining (especially for a young audience) and will have you both laughing and thinking (and even feeling a little bit) at different times throughout.
For a basic plot summary, "Project Almanac" focuses on David (Jonny Weston), an extremely tech-savvy high school student who has just gotten accepted into MIT. While poking around up in the attic looking for ideas for scholarship projects, David finds an old video camera that once belonged to his now-deceased scientist father. On the tape is young David at his 7th birthday party...as well as current David lurking in the background seemingly unnoticed! After informing his friends Quinn (Sam Lerner) and Adam (Allen Evangelista), as well as sister Christina (Virginia Gardner), about this 'impossibility", a little basement research discovers that David's deceased father had left plans to build a "temporal displacement device"...or time machine. With the help of friend (and potential love interest) Jessie (Sofia Black-D'Elia), they set to work at trying to make the device operational.
What makes "Project Almanac" so entertaining is that it takes a concept that could be so clichéd ("teenagers find a time machine and screw around with it") and makes it very watchable by appealing to a number of different sensibilities. I think that the movie will probably appeal most to teenagers or young adults themselves, as director Dean Israelite really knows how to accurately portray the teenage years. All the dialogue and actions up on the screen feel like they could be things said/done by real teenagers.
The movie will also attract sci-fi fans because of the time travel aspect, which is done with just enough serious to give it credence. I mean, there is a scene with a chalkboard explaining things (a staple of any time travel movie worth its salt), proof positive that this film's creators knew what they were doing in creating time-travel fiction. There are a lot of "winks and nods" to previous time-travel stories in this one, and you can just tell that the creators of the script knew how to do time-travel right.
Of course, this isn't a perfect movie by any means. Granted, I don't know what exactly pushed it back so far, but it is the type of movie that gets lost in itself a few times. The setup is fantastic (probably the best part of the whole experience), the ending is fine, but there are a few times in the middle where it stretches its boundaries a little too much.
Overall, though, "Project Almanac" is a wildly entertaining film that combines the weighty topic of time-travel with the youthful effervescence of current teen culture...not an easy feat!