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Movie Review

Project Almanac also known as “Welcome to Yesterday,” “Almanac,” “Proyecto Almanac,” “Projet Almanac,” “Benvenuti a ieri,” “Bienvenidos al Ayer,” “Projeto Almanaque”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language and sexual content.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Sci-Fi Suspense Thriller
1 hr. 46 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
January 30, 2015 (wide—2,893 theaters)
DVD: June 9, 2015
Copyright, Paramount Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount Pictures

Our actions always have consequences.

It is very important to make the right decisions in life.

The is no such thing as time travel—no way to change our past.

But life does offer second chances to repent and make a new start.

Right and wrong

stealing from a school

What is sin?

How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer

How can I decide whether a particular activity is wrong? Answer

Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer

Life’s difficulties

losing a parent when one is young

ramificaitons of extremely high expenses of Ivy League education

school bullies, and how to deal with them

Sexually active teenagers

fornication in the Bible

LUST—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

TEMPTATIONS—How can I deal with temptations? Answer

How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer

CONSEQUENCES—What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

Featuring: Jonny Weston … David Raskin
Amy Landecker … Kathy
Sofia Black-D'Elia … Jessie
Virginia Gardner (Ginny Gardner) … Christina
Agnes Mayasari … Bikini Girl
Allen Evangelista … Adam
Katie Garfield … Liv
Sam Lerner … Quinn Goldberg
Gary Grubbs … Dr. Lu
Michelle DeFraites … Sarah Nathan
Hillary Harley (Hillary Anne Harley) … Blonde
Patrick Johnson … Todd
Gary Weeks … Ben
more »
Director: Dean Israelite
Producer: Insurge Pictures
MTV Films
Paramount Pictures
Platinum Dunes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

David Raskin is a 17 year old, high-school genius. I mean a real genius. He just found out that he got accepted into the M.I.T. Fellowship Program. Well, there’s a problem with that, as M.I.T. is considered an “ivy-league” school, the scholarship money he received is not enough to cover the tuition. Since his father’s death (about a decade ago), he, his sister Christina, and his mother have been struggling financially, so it looks like M.I.T. won’t happen.

As David, Christina, and his friends Quinn and Adam are messing around in David’s basement, David hears a giant clicking noise. They find the source of the noise in a hidden compartment—a box containing blueprints, written by David’s father, concerning “temporal relocation,” a.k.a. time travel.

The friends have hit the jackpot! They, along with their new friend Jessie, decide to use this invention to return to the past and fix their own personal mistakes (e.g., Quinn failing his Chemistry pop quiz). Harmless, right?

Well, when David tries to fix one of his mistakes, by himself, he returns to the present and the friends discover that his “fix” created a ripple effect of horrific events. So it’s up to David and his friends to fix the past, to protect the future.

Time travel-themed movies are hardly a revolutionary concept in Hollywood. It’s been the subject of countless films and television shows. The concept is interesting to think about. What IF we could change the past? What if we could rewrite history? What if we could prevent tragic events (like World War I and II) from happening? Would society change?

“Project Almanac” is not unique in its approach to this question, although it does raise the issue of how having power to manipulate time could turn good intentions into something ugly.

If you are looking for anything deeper than that, you will not find it in “Project Almanac.” I don’t usually agree with most critics, because I believe in giving movies the benefit of the doubt walking in. With “Project Almanac,” I don’t entirely agree with most critics, but I can’t say I totally disagree with them either. Here are the facts:

  • The special effects are well done. Without giving too much away, I suggest paying close attention to the beginning of the film. This is where my mouth dropped.

  • The acting is about average. The person I am most impressed with is the actor who played David (Jonny Weston, whom I remember from the movie “Chasing Mavericks”). I wasn’t excited about the other performances.

  • The camerawork at times is annoying. I’ve never been one for the “first person footage” kind of filmwork. In some films it works, like the “Paranormal…” films, but in a movie like “Project Almanac,” it is slightly redundant and, at times, nauseating.

  • The story, while it may not have been deep, is reasonably well written. The plot is easy to follow (well, except for some of the advanced scientific concepts). The character development needed some work. Relationships felt rushed, and I didn’t have enough time or information to know (or feel for) the characters… except maybe David.

Objectionable Content

Violence: David cuts his hand, and we see blood. David and his friends are seen breaking into a high school. A student is hit by a car. David mentions that as they time travel, there is a possibility of them exploding. There are a couple instances where we see characters begin to disappear as a result of fixing the past.

Profanity: The profanity count is heavy, and there are times I couldn’t catch everything. My clipboard shows sh*t (50+), OMG (20+), G*d (9), h*ll (15+), scr*wed (2), f*ck (1), d*mn (2), b**ch (4), “freakin” and “frickin’” are both used, Jesus’ name is used in vain 3 times, as well. Other language includes sexual dialog regarding sex dolls, strippers, having sex with girls, and someone mentioning having “sex with your hand.”

Sex/Nudity: Heavy. There is a sex scene between two characters. One character is seen in a towel (apparently naked underneath), and she reveals her naked body to another character (shown from an angle so the towel shields everything from the audience). The camera also shows shots of women’s thighs and legs, teenage girls are seen in short shorts and bikinis.

fornication in the Bible

LUST—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

Teen Qs—Christian Answers® for teenagersANSWERS FOR TEENAGERS—Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.

Spiritual Issues

At one point, as Adam is telling David about the ripple effect, one of the characters mentions the fact that all the time traveling they have done has looked as if they were playing God (changing past events, affecting people’s lives, etc.).

Perhaps there’s the reason time travel does not exist. Perhaps God allows things to happen for a reason, good or bad. Who are we to try and interfere with God’s intentions? And more so, who are we to interfere with His plan for us?

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” –Proverbs 19:21

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” –Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” –Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

Following the movie, I found myself walking out of the theater in silence. Even as I write this review, I’m still not entirely sure what I think of “Project Almanac.” While I can certainly see why many critics have given it a “thumbs down,” I don’t think the critics were completely fair. “Project Almanac” has definite flaws, and perhaps one might argue that even with all the editing Paramount Pictures did, the film still needed more fine tuning. Still, there are many moments in “Project Almanac” that I enjoyed. As it stands, though, content-wise and cinematically, I don’t recommend “Project Almanac.” This movie is definitely not for kids, only older teens and adults. In short, “Project Almanac” isn’t terrible, but it isn’t good and, overall, it sends a bad message to teens. Save your money.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy—too much lewd behavior and too many references to illicit sex

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Neutral—I took 6 thirteen year olds to see this on opening night for a birthday, so I didn’t have a review to go on. I was uncomfortable not knowing how far they would take some scenes. There is a joke about having sex with your hand, a boy and girl talk about having had sex, the girl is in a towel only, and she opens up the towel in front of a boy, they are shown in bed later with her in just a shirt, two girls in bikinis dance together for a brief moment but it’s suggestive enough. Sh*t is said frequently. There is no nudity, but enough suggestive scenes to make it uncomfortable.

I try to shield my son from what he sees, and I am sure I let my kids see more violence in a movie than sexual/suggestive scenes. I am constantly surprised when I hear what TV shows and movies middle school age children watch. So for me, this movie pushed the envelope of what I was comfortable with having my child watch.

It’s a movie that teens will definitely like and the idea of a time machine. It reminded me of a younger, much cleaner version of “Butterfly Effect” which is NOT for kids. So it’s not a new story idea, but a good one.

I absolutely think they could have still told the story just as effectively without the vulgar language and the suggestive scenes would have still worked if they were cleaned up a bit. Basically, a group of kids build a time machine, travel back in time to make their lives better and then have to deal with the ripple effect of how each trip changed the present.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Andrea, age 42 (USA)
Negative—Worst movie I ever saw, wow… Wasted money on this movie… my opinion is not to rent this movie!!!
—Kari, age 39 (USA)

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