I don’t know if you knew it, but it’s hard out here for an independent time-traveling sci-fi found-footage feature. It’s also hard saying that without feeling a bit of bile come up in the back of my throat. It’s been a bumpy little ride for Dean Israelite’s feature debut for Platinum Dunes and producer Michael Bay, a film that until yesterday was known as Welcome to Yesterday, but which will now and forevermore be called Project Almanac, which is similar enough to its original title of Almanac. We’ll assume June is when they’ll next retitle it Yesteryear Is Knocking, which will then change to The Almanac Thing in October, and finally settle on Found-Footage Time-Travel Movie to Watch by the time it gets released.
Because yes, it now has a release date to pair up with that shiny new name, and audiences can look forward to seeing this derivative-sounding thriller in January 2015. This news, which Paramount announced during their panel at Las Vegas’ CinemaCon, is somewhat surprising considering how recently Welcome to, er, Project Almanac was indefinitely postponed so that Bay could get more hands-on with the film. And less than two months later, Paramount has partnered up with MTV Films to market the project.
Let’s take a moment to dissect Project Almanac for any potential viewers. The film began life as a tight-lipped mystery project with a logline that sounded like a clip from Back to the Future II. It was given a release date of February 28 of this year, which wasn’t exactly prime real estate, and then that was yanked away from it. Michael Bay got more involved and now it’s been dumped in the cinematic cemetery of January. Exactly how terrible is this movie going to be?
I’m admittedly still on board, as I’ll watch anything involving either time travel or found footage. Project Almanac‘s plot starts with David Raskin (Jonny Weston) finding out that his dead father had somehow figured out a plan to make time travel a reality. He finds a video camera and a set of blueprints in his attic, and he enlists his sister Christina (Ginny Gardner), friends Quinn (Sam Lerner) and Adam (Allen Evangelista), and his crush Jessie (Sofia Black-D’Elia) to put those blueprints to work. This leads to them using an almanac to get rich (thus the BTTF reference) and other self-fulfilling stunts that at first seem harmless but soon take a horrible turn. So long as what goes wrong doesn’t involve space rocks or the wind being revealed as the culprit, I’m game to check it out next January, when it will be playing alongside Amityville, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Taken 3. When is Liam Neeson going to do a low-budget time-travel movie where he punches a wormhole?