"Project Almanac" Review: Fun and Energetic, But Overly Familiar

Project Almanac

In terms of structure, "Project Almanac," is more like "Chronicles." It's about a group of high school friends who suddenly discover something extraordinary, plays around with it, and eventually finds that there are terrible consequences to their selfish motivations. It's filmed in the same found-footage format too.

But instead of super powers, the group of friends in "Project Almanac" discovers a time machine. There's a bit of "Groundhog Day," "Looper," and "Butterfly Effect." The leads in the film also mentions "Timecop" and "Terminator," but I don't see much of their influences.

My main problem with the film is that there's nothing new here. It's a time-travel movie for teenagers, kinda like "Butterfly Effect" without the horrific and dark elements. "Groundhog Day" with teens. "Looper" with a happy face. And let's end the comparisons with that because the film is bright, cheery, and energetic.

I like the first act when the group discovers the manual for building the machine; starts putting it together with XBox parts, batteries, and hydrogen from their chemistry class; and then starts testing it out. This part was fun and moves along quickly.

"Project Almanac" grinds to a halt somewhere in the second act when it goes into teen romance territory. The good news is this segment doesn't take up too much time.

The film gets back on track in the third act, where the main character tries to clean up the mess of a world he created when he traveled back in time for a selfish act.

The film has a nice bookend, and it's well thought out. I laughed at times too. It's just that everything feels very familiar, like a copy-and-paste job of previous time-travel movies.

In the end, although I wasn't bored, I wasn't impressed either.

“Project Almanac” opens nationwide on January 30, 2015. Produced by Michael Bay and directed by Dean Israelite, the science-fiction film stars Johnny Weston, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista, and Virginia Gardner.

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