#REVIEW: “PROJECT ALMANAC”
Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
For first-time Feature Director Dean Israelite makes a rather interesting debut, hopefully leading to more ahead with Project Almanac. The Film welcomes new Screenwriter Andrew Deutschman who still has some ways to go, but appears to be headed the right direction. As a Movie, Project Almanac works in a lot of ways trying its best to steer clear of clichés and obvious borrows from other time-travel Movies, except it doesn’t do so quite seamlessly. The Film however, still is a ton of fun and brings something slightly new to the already over-populated Genre.
The Movie focuses on David (Johnny Weston) after he gets accepted to MIT and needs money to pay for his education, while searching for an invention idea through his fathers old stuff his Sister, Christina (Virginia Gardner) stumbles upon their fathers old video camera and finds David’s seventh birthday video on the tape. Nothing seems to be out of the ordinary until David realizes that his 17-year-old self is in the video filming his seventh birthday party. David tells his two Best Friends about this discovery, Quinn (Sam Lerner) and Adam (Allen Evangelista) as they try to piece the puzzle together. After doing so this leads them to David’s basement and discovering Project Almanac, a time relocation device, aka a time machine. Through the help of Jessie’s (Sofia Black-D’Elia) car battery and the combined brain power of David, Quinn and Adam, the five unlikely Time Travelers discover time travel and start messing around with the space time continuum.
There generally lacks a standout overall among the young Ensemble, as the Characters themselves feel two-dimensional but Lead Actor Johnny Weston certainly shows potential as we witness his Character transform about halfway though the Film, defying the the rules. He comes off as a struggling Teenager just trying to do the right thing by his Friends and more importantly by himself even though being as intelligent as he is, must know that altering the past will most definitely change the future.
One very important note about Project Almanac is that it is a found-footage Film and as such it has that Blair Witch Project feel to it. There is a lot of shaky cam motion, so be warned.
Overall, Project Almanac is a good outing for first time Directors and Screenwriters. The Cast works for the subject matter of a Teen-geared Film about Kids whom time travel, but the Movie struggles to break-free from clichés that have been established in other Movies of the Genre. Overall Project Almanac makes you want to time travel to the most convenient start time and strap in for a fun adventure.
Paramount Pictures Canada release Project Almanac on Friday January 30, 2015.