Saturday Movie Review – “The Butterfly Effect”

The weekly movie reviews continue in alphabetical
order. This week’s review is for The Butterfly
Effect
, whose direct-to-video sequel is about to
go into production starring Smallville‘s
Erica Durance.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Ashton Kutcher, John Patrick Amedori, Logan Lerman and
J. Jackson
Kocela as Evan Treborn

Amy Smart, Irene Gorovaia, and Sarah Widdows as
Kayleigh Miller

Elden Hensen, Kevin Schmidt, and Jake Kaese as Lenny
Kagan

William Lee Scott, Jesse James, and Cameron Bright as
Tommy Miller

Melora Walters as Andrea Treborn

Eric Stoltz as George Miller

Callum Keith Rennie as Jason Treborn

Written and directed by J. Mackye Gruber and Eric
Bress

Complete information is available from the
IMDB
.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

A man plagued by blackouts discovers that he can
return to points in
his past and change the present.

High Point

Seven year old Evan has a little chat with George
Miller.

Low Point

The unmentioned blackout. It felt like deus ex
machina to me. The
rest is spoiler-guarded: Would it
have been that
hard to shift the signifigance of that blackout to the
first day of
school, and make that the day he drew the
picture? That
established blackout could then serve a dual purpose,
and it wouldn’t
have felt like a cheat.

The Scores

This felt somewhat original. It was
basically a less
optimistic version of Quantum Leap using an
aspect of chaos
theory sci-fi authors love, but it has such a
completely different
feel from Quantum Leap that it doesn’t feel
like an imitation
in the least. I give it 5 out of 6.

There were only two types of effects in the
movie. The
make-up effects (such as Kayleigh’s scar and Evan’s
limbs) were
excellent. The other effects were those used to
revisit blackouts,
which served their job well, given that they were
meant to indicate
altered perceptions and memories rather than represent
the exact,
objective reality. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story‘s biggest problem was the
aforementioned low point
issue. I haven’t compared the theatrical cut
(reviewed here) to the
director’s cut (also on the same DVD), so I don’t know
if this was a
studio rewrite or not, but the finished product has a
pretty big hole
here. The rest of the story was well structured and
plotted, tying
together nicely, which is why I suspect that this was
a late change to
a happier ending. Still, this is the ending that’s in
the movie,
regardless of whose decision that was. I give it 4
out of 6.

The acting was better than expected, with
Kutcher playing a
character who reminded me of Michael Kelso in no way,
shape, or form.
The child actors were incredible in their remarkably
disturbing
roles. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is tied largely to
seeing the kids and
what they live through. Those scenes are remarkably
effective. I
give it 5 out of 6.

The production was fairly well done, with
good camera work,
leaving the frantic motions to the “transport” moments
and the solid
camera work to the rest. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a movie worth seeing, but it’s
not
spectacular. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, The Butterfly Effect receives 34
out of 42.

Next Week

Join us next week for a review of Clash of the
Titans
.

4 replies on “Saturday Movie Review – “The Butterfly Effect””

  1. octa says:

    .
    I haven’t seen it since it was in theatres so I can’t recall the "unmentioned blackout." At the time I thought it was really well done and the ending, though campy, was pretty fulfilling.

    Can you describe the unmentioned blackout in more detail? I just want to understand the low point better.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: .

      I haven’t seen it since it was in theatres so I can’t recall the "unmentioned blackout." At the time I thought it was really well done and the ending, though campy, was pretty fulfilling.

      Can you describe the unmentioned blackout in more detail? I just want to understand the low point better.

      This will give me a chance to try the new spoiler tag. The unmentioned blackout: He watches a home movie of a neighbourhood barbeque, where he met Kayleigh for the first time. Knowing that she chose to stay with her father to be near him, he realized that by making sure she hated him, she’d stay with her mother, and have a shot at a different life. So, he rewrote history by saying nasty things and threatening her when they first met, so that she’d choose to go with her mother. This could have been done in the school classroom just as effectively.

  2. Trekkie says:

    DVD Alternate Ending
    I much preferred the alternate ending on the DVD. Much more hard core sci-fi
    to jump back in-utero and strangle yourself with the cord. Especially since one
    of the plot holes they left in was that they’d never carried a baby to term until
    him. Left it open that his other siblings did the same thing.

    A great story and a good movie, was a good DVD rental.

    • GrimSean says:

      Re: DVD Alternate Ending

      I much preferred the alternate ending on the DVD. Much more hard core sci-fi
      to jump back in-utero and strangle yourself with the cord. Especially since one
      of the plot holes they left in was that they’d never carried a baby to term until
      him. Left it open that his other siblings did the same thing.

      I’ll second this – I watched the Director’s cut first, and it is by far the superior of the two (I’m pretty sure the studio made the changes, probably thinking that the original ending was too dark as there is a lot of foreshadowing pointing towards it).

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