Another Found Footage Movie
Project Almanac is the directorial feature-length debut from Dean Israelite and is produced by king of objectification, Michael Bay. The film stars Jonny Weston (Taken 3), Sofia Black-D'Elia (Gossip Girl), Sam Lerner (The Secret Sundays), Allen Evangelista (Zoey 101) & Virginia Gardner (The Goldbergs). Project Almanac is a found footage sci-fi movie that tells the story of a group of teenagers who discover plans of a time machine and construct it. However, they start to get the machine for granted and things start to get out of control. Will this have the most annoying camera-work of 2015? Is it just a modern day Back to the Future rip off?
Despite having many links to the original Back to the Future series, the film is actually quite original and really enjoyable to watch. This is like Project X (which I hated) meets 22 Jump Street (which I loved) meets Back to the Future (the king of the sci-fi genre). I went into this film thinking it will top my worst of 2015 list as I absolutely HATE found footage films - they are incredibly hard to follow and the camera work is so shaky and annoying. However, with this film, I could actually tell what was going on! The story was quite simple but does go a little wild in the third act (kind of like two jigsaw pieces and then a LEGO brick) but for most of the film, Project Almanac is really fun. However, these is one decision that I do not agree with (SPOILER ALERT) - so David (The main character) will happily go back in time to fix issues with a girl he likes but when he gets the chance to go back and see his father (who dies in the near future), he doesn't tell him to not step outside which would of saved his life - teenagers need to get their priorities right -family over relationships right?! However, there are also many humorous moments in the film which did make me laugh - an example is one of the female characters wanting to go back to take revenge on some nasty girls - that scene is hilarious! - 'I'm everywhere Bi**h'
Now lets talk about the dreaded camerawork. It was very annoying at the start and I was really worried that it was going to be one of the worst things I've ever watched. However, it just shows how strong the story was as it didn't bother me that much. Don't get me wrong, this film is not a masterpiece and is probably quite forgettable but I think the found footage element actually worked here.
The special effects were also quite interesting. I think it's great to have special effects shot through found footage as it makes them seem a little more realistic.
Michael Bay produces this film - need I say anymore? There are a lot of shots of female legs or cleavage areas - this completely objectifies them. However, there is an almost equal ratio of girls to boys in this film which is very unusual for a Bay film. The boys also pick on the girls for their intelligence - typical Michael Bay. However, the objectification wasn't all that bad as for the majority of the film, it was actually shot through the POV of one of the female characters. This means that there were less zooms of female body parts.
The acting was also quite good in this - they're not Oscar worthy performances but they are a very likeable cast. This is the first big break for most of the leading actors and actresses and I think they did a great job for their first big role. Jonny Weston held the film very well and his supporting cast were great too.
Project Almanac will probably fade into the background once 2015 is over but its fun story and likeable characters are enough to save this from being a terrible movie. Found Footage is not my thing so I am a little biased to that but on a whole, Project Almanac is really silly but also really fun - it is the first in the found footage genre that I've actually kind of liked!