Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

Project Almanac


Starring: Jonny Weston, Sofia Black D'Elia, Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista, Virginia Gardner and Amy Landecker
Distributor: Paramount Home Media Distribution
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Release Date: 15 June 2015

A brilliant high school student and his friends discover blueprints for a machine that can send them back in time. They soon rewrite history to win the lottery, ace exams, and party like there’s no tomorrow. But by changing the past, they have threatened the future of our world. As each of them begins to disappear little by little, they must travel back to the past to make sure they never invent the time machine, or face the inevitable destruction of humanity. Can they undo the damage they have unleashed before it’s too late...?


I'm still in two minds as to what I think of this movie. I'm a huge fan of this sort of movie, which makes your mind go through the possibilities of whether time travel is possible would the characters be able to do the things they do on screen. I loved the Back to the Future films and as a teenager would have many discussions with friends on flaws in the narrative. Of course Project Almanac is a very different beast. It does, however have a lot of similarities to the excellent Primer. In fact, it slots somewhere between the two. It's not as mindless and fun as Back to the Future, and it doesn't challenge the old grey matter like Primer does.

However, Project Almanac doesn't hold up to close scrutiny when you explore the sci-fi angle of it. For example David Raskin (played by Jonny Weston) doesn't want to go back and stop an event from happening because then he won't fall in love with the girl he is currently dating... well that's nonsense as if they all go back to fix it they will still be a couple. It will only be the couple from that alternate time line that might not get it together. You have to remember that the team are in their own little time bubble (if they weren't, then the events like the aircraft crash wouldn't seem odd to them when they change history.)

Likewise, there's a scene where the team go back time and time again to help one of them cheat on an exam... but why don't they encounter themselves also coming back to the same time?

There are also things that appear, on the surface to make no sense. Firstly, what is it that stops the same person meeting each other in the same time line? We see the terrible consequences of this... but how does it actually work? When Quinn (played by Sam Lerner) meets himself, the Quinn from the past is asleep, but he can still interact with him, but drawing on his neck. It's only when he wakes up and sees the future Quinn that things start to happen. This would imply that the future character can see the past character with no issues, but once the past character sees the future character all hell breaks loose. Surely this is more a problem of two identical energies being in close proximity, not one seeing the other.

And the other issue I had was I didn't understand David's father's message. Why was he glad that he'd "worked it out"? And what did that mean anyway? He hadn't left a trail of breadcrumbs for him to follow. Logically he wouldn't have expected his son to just turn up.

The documentary hand-held camera aspect, while neatly worked into the narrative, is tiresome and distracting on occasion. Also a lot of the scenes felt improvised and a little on the amateur dramatics side in their construction. However, you do begin to warm to the characters and there are quite a few subtle humourous moments.

There are a couple of nods to Back to the Future, whether they are intentional is unclear. The first sees the team using a toy car with a stop watch in it to travel back one minute in time; the second sees the power cable becoming unhooked just before the crucial moment. The DVD packaging is also a little odd. The main image of David makes it look like the movie is a CGI film.

I was slightly surprised at the RRP of this release. Is it still 2006? Paramount appear to think it is. If their press release is to be believed the DVD release is £20, while the Blu-ray edition is £27! It's doubtful that many people would be happy paying that for a current blockbuster movie let alone this niche film.

Extras include Alternate Opening (3 min, 20 sec); Deleted Scenes (8 min, 57 sec and two Alternative Endings (4 min, 34 sec).

Major plot holes aside, this is an interesting movie. Even though it brings nothing new to the genre, it's still a fun journey.


Darren Rea

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

Amazon Instant Video
iTunes GB
Digital Download