Australian Council on Children and the Media

Project Almanac

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Short takes

Not recommended under 12, parental guidance recommended 12-15 due to sexual references and coarse language.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Project Almanac
  • a review of Project Almanac completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 17 February 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not recommended due to sexual references and coarse language
Children aged 12-15 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual references and coarse language
Children aged 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Project Almanac
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Coarse language and sexual references
Length 106 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

David Raskin (Jonny Weston) is a very bright student who has just been accepted into MIT. The scholarship, however, doesn’t pay for much and he needs to find a way to make some money to prevent his mother selling the home to support him. He looks in the attic through his deceased father’s belongings and discovers almost complete plans for a time machine.

Together with his friends Quinn (Sam Lerner) and Adam (Allen Evangelista) David completes the construction of the time machine hoping to make some money from the discovery. David’s sister Christina (Virginia Gardener) films the proceedings and joins them when they decide to put it to the test. They ‘jump’ into a past time and find they can use the machine to their own advantage. David brings Jessie (Sofia Black-D'Elia) into the project and uses the time machine to correct mistakes he makes in their relationship. Things start to go badly awry however, as they realize that changing the past affects the present.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Time travel

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • David throws things in frustration
  • Girls at school bully Christina and she gets revenge by throwing a drink in their faces.
  • The time machine causes explosions and blackouts that throw objects and people around and causes minor harm to the participants.
  • Adam gets badly injured when caught in a time warp and is shown unconscious in hospital with black eyes.
  • David breaks a window to get inside the school and is shown with blood on his hands

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

  • The time machine makes a lot of noise, with crashing sounds and wind blowing, that is likely to frighten children in this age group.
  • The machine makes weird things happen such as a light bulb lighting up on its own and objects flying around the room by themselves.
  • Adam’s hands start to disappear and look very strange before the power supply is blown and the friends are left in the dark.
  • David and his friends are chased by a fierce dog and on another occasion by the cops.
  • Jessie disappears during one time travel episode.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be scared by the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • David, Adam and Quinn break into their high school to steal hydrogen cans and they are quite scared throughout the process while thinking it’s a bit of a lark as well.
  • The movie is filmed using a handy-cam (or ‘found-footage’), which brings a greater sense of reality to it, and this could cause concern to children in this age group.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Products displayed or used in this movie include:

  • Coke
  • Red Bull

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • A lot of ogling of girls’ bodies
  • Jessie comes into David’s bedroom wearing just a towel.  David asks her if they had sex (he has just come from another time zone) and she says yes. He asks her if he was any good and she says yes. He also asks to see her naked so she opens her towel but no nakedness is shown on screen.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Jessie and David are seen in bed together.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • The four drink beer in their shed

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Oh my God
  • shit
  • screwed
  • Holy shit
  • freaking/fricking
  • bitch
  • crap
  • ‘shitting their pants’
  • arse

In a nutshell

Project Almanac is a teenage sci-fi movie filmed as ‘found-footage’, which brings a greater sense of reality to the events. It features time travel which is used mostly for selfish reasons such as winning the lottery or getting better grades at school, but the film is entertaining and will appeal to older teens. The film is not recommended for children under 12 due to sexual references and coarse language, and parental guidance is recommended for the 12-15 age group. Some viewers might be affected by the hand-led camera footage.

The main messages from this movie are the importance of working together as a team and the possible consequences of doing things alone.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss the real-life consequences, of stealing school property. Parents may also wish to discuss what would happen if we were able to relive some important events in our lives

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