Fernando M., Here…
Found footage films have become a genre of their own. In recent memory, they have been a favorite conduit for sci fi and horror films. We are again treated to a found footage film about a group of high school students who, in this case, discover time travel. The viewer is watches as they “Chronicle” their journey.
So although ‘Project Almanac’s‘ premise and the undertaking itself are not quite original, newcomer big screen director adds a whole lot of charm to what could have been a melodramatic teenage sci-fi. Instead, it is a nicely stylized high school nerd’s dream come to life. The main protagonist, an uncharacteristically good looking child prodigy, and his merry men of nerd misfits stumble upon an old experiment and they learn to make a time machine.
Now, I didn’t have to travel through time to view the end of the movie to see where this was all going. The plot itself is predictable, you know, with great power comes great responsibility, kids like to *ahem* “Chronicle” their lives, small events can cause a *cough**cough*, Butterfly Effect which will cause changes as they go “Back to the Future.” OK, I think I’m done here.
In spite of it all, the crew has a lot of fun with these concepts. The entire first half of the film is kids being kids, and these kids are really good at pop culture references, high school problems, getting bullied, and having a desire to change the little things that have messed them up in their lives. Honestly, even this cranky old man found the kids to be endearing and made me think that, even though today’s youth may not have grown up in the brilliance that was the 1990’s, they may not be quite as lost of a generation as we cynically make them out to be. The second half goes straight into sci fi thriller. The found footage device puts the viewer right in the middle of it all, and it’s really not a bad place to be.
I would say watch this and enjoy it for what it is. If I were a high school boy, I would probably give this 3.5 stars. As a grumpy old man, it’s still a solid 2.5. No new ground has been broken, but the young cast members really are exceptional, the direction is smooth, the effects are impressive, and there’s some good heart here. Until next time, “be excellent to each other, and party on dudes.”
Settling in the middle for a 3 out of 5 Stars
– Fernando Martinez