Released in 2015 and directed by Dean Israelite, "Project Almanac" will take you when or wherever you
want to go, but there are prices to be paid. Aren’t there always?
I’m the Ranting Usher. Let me talk you to your seat.
The time-travel motif is hardly original. Many movies have capitalized on it in the past, but the way this
film focuses on the ramifications of altering our own circumstances makes it thought provoking and
Three teens stumble across plans for a time-machine in the basement of the main protagonist, David
Raskin, played by Jonny Weston. As a MacGuffin, an object or device in a book or a movie that serves
merely as a trigger for the plot, the blueprints for the time machine are intriguing in that their origin
remains a total mystery.
The cinematography in this movie is a little awkward. The actors themselves held the camera half the
time and even speak into it, resulting in a Blair Witch style of movie-making. Thankfully, their
techniques aren’t nearly as amateurish or clumsy, but a few things still bothered me. For instance,
when the teens are immersed in a group discussion it’s hard to follow what they’re saying with constant
over the shoulder shots going on. There are other scenes where two people are talking and the
camera is tilted so you see one person and hear the other one. When the camera finally does pan over
so that you can see the other person or persons, it has a distracting way of wobbling around. Yeah, I
wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone diagnosed with motion sickness.
Anyway, if you can get past that the story is pretty straight-forward.
So, the teens build the Project Almanac thinking it will solve their problems. David is turned down for a
scholarship to M.I.T. Quinn Goldberg is failing his subjects and will likely repeat the twelfth grade.
Kathy Raskin, the blonde, is harassed by bullies and Jesse Pierce, the brunette, wants to fall in love
before the world ends. The way the central characters attempt to alter the circumstances and
subsequently solve their problems is what really captures viewer’s attention and draws them into the
David and his friends travel to Lollapalooza and have the time of their lives at a wild concert. The
partying may be exciting and endearing. There are subtle nuances that take place during this sequence
that come to fruition later on and yet the celebration itself takes up too much time. Forty-five minutes
pass before the Lollapalooza sequence even starts and viewers can’t help but wonder when or where
the tension is going to build.
The teens realize the changes they’ve made for personal gain initiated a ripple of disaster that
accelerates to catastrophic proportions. David shoulders the blame considering Project Almanac was
his idea to begin with and sets out to undo what he has done.
A moral quandary is utilized when after using the machine so many times David struggles to know what
to change the second and third time around. What must he sacrifice in order to do the right thing?
These and other questions are ultimately answered at the point of a destructive but necessary
I'm the Ranting Usher. Let me talk you back to the present.
Do you agree with my review? What would you change if you could? Let me know in the comments
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