When you discover the movie you’re watching is a product of MTV, the harbinger of ceaseless brand recognition and over-played pop-rock hits, you really have no choice but to pray to all the gods of Olympus you make it out intact.
But I didn’t make it out intact. I came out truly hating found footage for the first time, with what microscopic respect I had for producer Michael Bay officially morphing into full blown contempt.
“Project Almanac” is nothing but a lame-ass attempt to make a found footage movie for teens at a time of year when they have nothing better to do. The result is a dumber-than-you-thought-going-in story, shameless promotion of everything “cool kids” are hip to, and plugs for whatever music they are getting paid to play endlessly.
Focusing on a genius high-school senior who finds his father’s attempt at a time machine, “Almanac” tries to be high-concept teen fare, but just becomes regular ol’ been-there-done-that. There are his two equally smart friends who are made to seem lesser because they are hornier; his sister who does nothing but wear tank-tops and look hot (P.T. Anderson has one shots as his staple, Bay has this); and the girl who is too hot for him but is not just hot but is really complex and deep because she says “what do you mean girls like me?”
Basically, if you’ve seen one throwaway teen movie, then you have seen this movie. Once the time machine is made, by hooking it up to what appears to be nothing but car batteries (as you do when making such a device), they do nothing but win the lottery, go back and re-do tests and go to Lollapalooza. So in short, they try to prove how rad indeed it would be to have a time machine in high school. Forget any of that in-depth stuff. Use it to get laid!
But then when our lead takes it too far to get laid, too many things go wrong. How do things go wrong? Because he went back in time! What did he do to mess things up? Who cares? Time travel!
Then he keeps going back in time to fix the mistake, only to come back and see he’s messed up something else. He goes back and forth until you realize this is the entire climax until he decides to go back and destroy the machine so “none of this ever happens!” Conclude with a head-slapping ending meant to blow the minds of 12-year-olds and there’s your movie. All the while, it’s being filmed with an “old” camera that just so happens to have the quality of a $10,000 one with perfect focus and technology.
Here is a movie aimed at the MTV audience but insults them by assuming all they wanna see are awesome parties they wish they could see, endless supplies of money and the geek getting the girl—all happening to people just like them.
Forget the movie doesn’t attempt to honor their intelligence (if that’s what we’re calling it at that age) with a rich story and good performances.
The people who made this think teens are dumb enough to not notice when they are being peddled Red Bull, Imagine Dragons and GoPro cameras. Instead they have their actors over-act and respond to things with either “no way!” or “holy s***!” Ah MTV, you really are hip the young people, aren’t you?