The name “Michael Bay” brings with it certain expectations, expectations best personified by the Transformers franchise. Over-the-top, hard-to-follow action? Check. Explosions? Check. Paper-thin characters? Check. Shapely women bending over things while backlit by a magic-hour sunset? Check and check. Given the bombastic nature of Bay’s filmography, this latest bit of news is a bit of a head-scratcher: Bay and his Platinum Dunes production company have sold a “found footage” time travel movie called Almanac.
To be fair, Bay’s producing resume is pretty ginormous, and not everything he produces fits into the mental image of a “Michael Bay movie.” But it still seems like an odd pairing. Typically the found-footage trend of filmmaking has been tied, at least partially, to the fact that they’re typically pretty damn cheap to shoot. (Consider the annual Paranormal Activity movies, which I’m guessing spend nearly as much on catering as they do on night-vision cameras.) Even Chronicle, which used a lot of visual effects, only had a budget of around $12 million. But even though there have been more expensive found-footage films (Cloverfield cost $25 million), the genre still seems odd when paired with the Bay name.
According to THR, Almanac was written by two relative newcomers to the screenwriting world, Andrew Stark and Jason Pagan (both excellent superhero alter-ego names, I must say), and is being directed by a dude named Dean Israelite, who also doesn’t really have a filmography with which to judge him. It’s pretty much a big question mark at this point.
What exactly will a found-footage time travel movie look like? Will the travel involved stick to modern eras to keep the budget down? Or will it go all-in and zip its protagonists forward to the future or back to a year that will actually require a budget for period costuming? And perhaps the most important question of all: what new ridiculous excuses will Almanac introduce for why the characters continue shooting video even when in imminent danger of a painful and tragic death?