I love movies. I love writing about them. Hope you like reading what I write.
Last week I saw three movies, all of which were family films. I wonder what ties the three films I’ve seen this week together.
Project Almanac is a found-footage sci-fi film about a group of teenagers who build a time machine and play with it.
First, the positives. As one can read from the logline I’ve just produced, this is an interesting premise. Wouldn’t anyone in high school wish they had a time machine? These kids, obviously would be describing their experiences through references to other time-travellers in pop culture. Which they do and it works in a meta way.
Also, the main characters are actually really good actors. But even that doesn’t stop them from losing believability from the first of a few problems with this movie.
They don’t talk like teenagers. They almost do, but to the ear of someone just out of high school, I can’t say this was plausible. I know that they were trying to appeal to a younger audience so the swearing kids their age would do, which their parents won’t admit to, had to be cut out.
Secondly, it’s a found footage movie. These characters have to film everything in order for us to catch on. No word of a lie, they even film themselves alone watching footage to bring an atmospheric moment. Why? I know that young people are supposed to be this YouTube age of filming any stupid thing they can find, but this is ridiculous.
Found footage can work, but only when it makes sense. If it doesn’t, the filmmaker should know to cut to a cinematic objective camera. There are times in this movie when the camera is watching two characters from a distance have a quiet conversation, and you can hear every single word. See District 9 for details on how it’s done right.
Finally, and this is the one that saddens me the most, the female characters come across as idiots.
This is the third time this week that I’ve seen this in a movie! Hollywood has a problem!
It’s the boys who build the time machine, while it’s the girls who push them into using it on humans, using themselves as leverage. One girl obviously has to fall in love with the protagonist. I know they’re putting across some form of Romeo and Juliet doomed young love. But, I don’t see anything in these characters, in their painfully forced, found-footage character moments, that indicates that they have some reason to fall for one another.
All of the women in this film are attractive. Most of them are shown in underwear, or worse, at some stage. This gets doubly stupid when one realises that these sexy moments of teenagers are being picked up by a real camera! Did I tell you that this movie was produced by Michael Bay? The guy who will find any excuse to drape a hot girl over a car.
A lot of the stuff that I’ve mentioned has been done in cinema before, the misogynistic acts of the main characters are amended (sort of) and it is true that a lot of this stupid sexist stuff is unfortunately realistic.
But I am sick and tired of the way girls are treated in movies. If you want a movie to show just how awesome a female character can be, just watch Kill Bill, Jackie Brown or Pulp Fiction. Wait a minute. Quentin Tarantino, a writer/director many say is a copycat whose movies are a bad influence on young people, has made some great girl-power films! Interesting.
All in all, though the climax and some of the time-travel stuff was pretty cool, I couldn’t get behind this movie.
N.B It is somewhat ironic that Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise has been so cataclysmic-ally successful in China and yet now he has decided to produce a film with a central element being time-travel, a subject illegal to show on screen in the People’s Republic.
Recommended Scenario: If you really like time-travel movies and imitators of The Goonies.
If what I have written tells you that you would like this film, you can book tickets to see it at your local Cineworld here.