Mon 17 Aug 2015, 09:57
Project Almanac is the latest in a string of “found footage” films that seem to be Hollywood’s go-to when it comes to making a movie that’ll appeal to the YouTube generation for very little money.
It worked for The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and some would argue even the first Paranormal Activity. But the genre quickly got tired when film-makers blurred the lines between supposedly unscripted “documentary” type film-making and incorporating some form of story-driven, scripted action into these movies.
As soon as the wall between “found footage” and “scripted story” unintentionally breaks down, you lose all sense of realism and the movie simply becomes a mish-mash of confusion.
It has a great plot – kids (smart as hell) stumble on plans to build a time machine, build time machine, go back in time and manipulate events in their favour, cause general chaos and disorder in the future as a result.
Sadly, Project Almanac falls into the “is it found footage or is it scripted?” trap and while it makes a few good attempts to bring viewers back into the found footage space, there are times in the movie when you ask yourself: “Why would there be a video camera in someone’s face in this particular situation anyway?”
Not to be too harsh on this movie, it’s still quite entertaining and would probably appeal to younger and teen audiences. Like anything produced by the CW, he cast is young and beautiful. The plot is very intriguing as well and it did have me lost in thought a few times thinking what I would if I stumbled on the plans to build a time machine.
If I was to compare Project Almanac to some similar films, I’d probably lump it somewhere between Chronicle and Super8 (although in my opinion both Chronicle and Super8 were far better movies).
I think what Project Almanac has taught us is that the found footage genre is far from dead, but if you’re going to do it, you HAVE to do it right. I don’t think director Dean Isrealite hit the nail on the head with this one, but there are a few moments of greatness hidden among the plot holes and wonky science.
Rent this one for your teens but maybe give it a skip yourself in favour of The Theory of Everything, which also starts on BoxOffice this week.