With a little known cast and first time director in Dean Israelite, Project Almanac is a film that is primarily sold on its premise of time travelling teenagers. It is also being sold on one of the Producers names which is slapped on the back of the Blu-Ray box. Still, when that producer is Michael Bay (Director and Producer of the Transformers films) it's probably not a surprise his name is so prominent in the marketing for this film (the Executive Producer Josh Appelbaum doesn't rate a mention). So we mentioned the premise of the film is important, so what's it all about then?
Brilliant high school student is a genius with technology but when he misses out on a scholarship to MIT he goes looking for another project to take on, but soon discovers plans for a machine that can send he, and his four friends, back in time. The possibilities seem endless, but by changing the past, they have threatened the future of our world. Can they undo the damage they have unleashed before it’s too late?
So this is a film which focuses on time travelling, not exactly the most unique storyline we've ever seen and it's certainly not up there with the brilliant Bruce Willis starring film Looper or the "changing timeline" series The Butterfly Effect. Having said that this is a film where you can simply turn your brain off, and enjoy the exploits which a group of teenagers get up to when they can time travel. Failing a class in school? Simply travel back with knowledge of the questions being asked in class. Want to go an epic concert? Why not hit up Lollipalooza. Oh, and of course you'll want to rig a lottery to get some cash. It's all there, and is presented in a way which keeps the film ticking over and presented in an entertaining manner.
Now we come to my biggest gripe about the film and all I can say is "Argh! Not again!". Here we have yet another found footage type film which really irritates me. Sure, I can see the appeal, but it's been done so many times that it just becomes an annoyance for the amount of headache inducing shaky footage. Fortunately the director finds quite a few moments when he has the teenagers put the camera down to film from a distance giving us some relief, although it also seemed a bit odd for the character to put the camera down at certain moments.
Ultimately while the film is a little sluggish for a while, when the time travelling starts the film amps up considerably but it's the last 20 minutes that saves this film with enough tension and thrills to move this up from a film to avoid, to one worth a watch - especially if you're of the younger generation.
Other audio tracks on this disc - and there are quite a few - include and English Audio Description Track, as well as German, Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks each of which is encoded at 640kbps.
Alternate Opening (3:29/HD): Nowhere near as entertaining as the opening in the actual film this one just has David sitting at a desk in his room doing his MIT application video followed by an experiment in his house. Much prefer the version in the film although it is pretty funny.
Deleted Scenes (9:11/HD): There are eight deleted scenes presented here "Adam Plays Baseball", "Scholarships", "Cafeteria Kiss", "Fundraising", "Adam Made The Team", "Predicting the Pitch", "Rooftop Fight", and "Quinn Confronts David". Given the film already runs for 105 minutes it's clear most of these were cut for pacing or offer inferior takes of included scenes.
Review By: Dave Warner