Quality: This score indicates entertainment value.
0 stars is horrible, while 5 stars is spectacular.
Political: This score addresses political messaging.
0 stars is aggressively anti-Conservative, while 5 stars is highly pro-Conservative. 3 stars is apolitical.
Moral/Religious (M/R): This score addresses moral and religious messaging.
0 stars is either intensely immoral or all-out, needless assault on Christianity. 5 stars is either great moral messaging or highly pro-Christian. 3 stars is inoffensive either way.
Quality – 2 stars, Political – 3 stars, M/R – 2 stars
Honestly, the found footage style can get tiresome. You know the routine; someone is “filming” others as events unfold, thus creating a “this is really happening,” home movie sensation. So, the camera jostles around uncontrollably. Scenes jump up and down, characters move in and out of focus, lighting is awful—it’s basically how Lindsay Lohan sees life all the time. Hence, I call it “Lindsayvision.”
The earliest Lindsayvision I remember was “The Blair Witch Project”; a stylish horror “documentary.” Wandering in a forest until hopelessly lost, a small film-making crew discovers frightening witchcraft sites while hearing terrifying sounds in the dark. Dread rises as they run in fright and get separated, with the bouncing camera footage lending chaos to their perils. At the time, this was cutting edge stuff; pretty scary. Nevertheless, I found it rather boring—too much wandering—and I was escorted from the theatre for repeatedly yelling, “Scooby Doo, where are you?”
Nobody gets me.
In “Project Almanac,” we follow a small group of teens who have stumbled upon a guide to create time travel. Led by handsome but awkward genius David (Jonny Weston), the merry band keeps going back in time to undo personal failures and manipulate better outcomes. This is funny. Forget stopping 9/11 or the BP oil spill. It’s time for teen hijinks! Get the dream girl! Win the lottery! Humiliate teachers and bullies! Woohoo! Though the time travel “science” is preposterous, a fellow in the back of the theatre resembling Jonathan Gruber was furiously taking notes.
Anyway, as timelines are corrupted, things spin out of control, and “Project Almanac” evolves into a thriller. People die. Friends are hurt. The future is at risk. Can David undo the damage while still getting his dream girl Jesse (Sofia Black-D’elia)?
Ultimately, “Project Almanac” is about young people given godlike command over their surroundings. What could go wrong? Too inexperienced to forecast consequences, the teens wreak havoc, wielding their power to enact selfish ambitions. They just want what they want. They want it now. They have the clout to get it. And predictably, these teens neither know—nor care about—the wider impact of their decisions. It’s like watching the election of Barack Obama…in Lindsayvision.
The film’s pacing becomes tedious, especially during David’s hesitations with Jesse. Let’s see, he’s crazy about her, and she’s throwing herself at him, but, but—sheesh, no guy drops this many passes. Miss Piggy was less forward with Kermit. Dragging Jesse about as she clings to his leg, David wonders if this teen supermodel will ever give him a chance. It’s all just so…so…so real. Scribbling feverishly and shaking his head, Gruber muttered, “You’ll regret this, David…and regrets eat at you…I hit my head a lot to stop the voices…”
Nevertheless, the acting in “Almanac” is solid; or in the case of Jonny Weston, superb. His future is limitless. Beyond him, the character development is kept appropriately light. And then, of course, there is the gratuitous fluff of teen girls partying, tossed in to draw young male viewers. Whatever. It flows well enough with the story, and Lindsayvision seems a suitable venue for lots of Lindsays.
All in all, an average effort brought lower by unstable camerawork. And as Gruber was escorted out for shouting, “Go back! Must…go back!”, I couldn’t help but sympathize:
“I’ve been there, pal. Nobody gets us. They’re all idiots.”