Project Almanac (2015)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Project Almanac</strong> (2015)

(Netflix Streaming, May 2016) Seen from a comfortably middle-aged perspective, there’s something almost endearing in science-fiction movies that plays with familiar genre tropes from a very specific demographic perspective. So it is that when the teenage protagonists of Project Almanac discover time-travel, they rush to use it for … passing exams, seeking love, winning the lottery and attending Lollapalooza. Go, teenagers, go. Of course, things get complicated very quickly in the film’s haphazard sense of causality—they can always go back to fix mistakes, but the rules for doing so seem to change depending on the whims of the script. The main message, predictably, remains the bad old “don’t mess with the timeline” shtick. There is a lot to dislike in Project Almanac for those who are north of thirty: Director Dean Israelite’s found-footage angle is exasperating, the focus on teenage obsessions can be twee and there’s a lot of noise both literal, visual and figurative in the film. Still… I didn’t have a bad time watching it. It has a bit of energy, some self-awareness and a few clever moments when the camera settles down. As a playful take on a familiar SF device, it earns some fair attention. It’s not necessarily for everyone, but at a time when SF devices can always benefit from being introduced to younger audiences, Project Almanac is a bit better than you’d expect. Consider watching it on your mobile device to minimize the shaky-cam cinematography.

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