Project Almanac (Blu-ray)

June 10, 2015 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Movies about time travel always fascinate me. Then again, I think they fascinate all audiences otherwise they’d stop making them, right? The concept is so simple, yet it’ll most likely be an element of science fiction. I say that now, but if I were to go back in time a century I’m sure that the folks of the early 20th century would think that some of the things that we have would be impossible. Take this laptop I’m writing this review on, for example!  Still, for the time being, time travel is still an element of science fiction and something that will always captivate this movie-goer. And, to my point, they do make good movies – though not all of them get it right. Is there harm in going back a minute in time? An hour? A day? A decade? Would me buying a winning lottery ticket two days ago really impact mankind as we know it? It’s hard to say. But the ripple effect, as it’s known, is something that Project Almanac explores and really got me thinking. Is time travel better left alone or is it the next big step?

David (Jonny Weston) has aspirations to get into MIT. Though his grades are adequate, he lacks the sufficient funds. While rummaging through his attic with his sister (Virginia Gardner), they find an old video camera. On it is David’s 7th birthday party, though he notices something that catches his eye. It’s him – but a future version of himself. Ever the thinker, David manages to find some clues to a machine left by his late father. Together with a couple of friends, they construct a machine that will allow them to go back in time. After some modifications, the group manages to have a little fun and experience things they didn’t the first time around. Everything’s ok, right? Of course not. They learn that their actions have changed things for the worse and now it’s up to David to put things right. The thing is…has enough damage been done where the future is askew or will they be able to make things the way they were?

Admittedly, this isn’t the greatest movie about time travel. Then again we’re dealing with fiction, so who’s to say what’s the best and what isn’t? I did find a few scenes that really made me think, but the disjointed plot in the rest of the movie had me scratching my head. Yes, you have to get past the obligatory part where David might or might not kiss the hot girl (Sofia Black-D’Elia). Do we buy him as a geek? He’s just good-looking enough to pass for a jock if he wanted to. And do we accept that if these kids had a time machine, the most they’d do is go to Lollapalooza? As I said, some of it is hard to swallow. Still, in the realm of time travel movies, this one did capture my attention for the duration. I’d not put it up against my favorite time travel movie, Primer, though. Now that one had my head spinning. Still, as far as guilty pleasures go – you could do a lot worse.

Video: How’s it look?

I have to admit that I’m getting a bit tired of the “found footage” approach to some of these movies. Last time I checked, not everyone likes a camera in their face all the time and feels the need to document every second of their lives. Then again I’m not 17 years old. Still, I’m not even sure if this classifies as such, though there seems to always be someone behind a camera (phone) of some sort. That said, the 2.40:1 AVC HD image is clear and crisp throughout. This doesn’t have the grain and low definition “lines” added in to give it an aged look, no it’s pretty consistent with something you’d shoot on, well, your camera. While not perfect, colors are bold and bright, detail is precise and save for a few intentional scenes, it’s a pretty darn good-looking transfer.

Audio: How’s it sound?

If it weren’t for a few choice scenes, I’d have been fairly let down by the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack. The majority of the movie is dialogue-driven, though there are some sequences in which the surrounds really take over (every time the time machine fires up, actually). There’s a really good dynamic range for most of the film, the sequence at Lollapalooza earns its keep as well. Like the video quality, this is an above average effort here but nothing too sensational. I don’t think viewers will be let down by the audio quality in the least.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Alternate Opening – Nothing too much of note here.
  • Deleted Scenes – Eight total and like the alternate opening, nothing really of substance. I don’t think their inclusion would have changed much. Hmmm…
  • Alternate Endings – A bit different from the original, though I preferred the one that was included in the feature film. These are nice to have, though.
  • DVD/Digital HD Copy

The Bottom Line

Project Almanac might not be the epitome of a great time travel movie, but it did explore some of the facets that others don’t. And for that, I have to tip my hat to the filmmakers. It’s a bit predictable and has a cast of lesser-known actors with a theme that’s hit or miss. But yet it’s still entertaining. The audio and video specs on this Blu-ray won’t disappoint, though the lack of supplements might be a deal-breaker for any potential buyers.

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