The Butterfly Effect (2004)
Return to the Past
As a child Evan (Logan Lerman, John Patrick Amedori, Ashton Kutcher) was prone to black outs when ever things became too stressful for him, be it an incident involving a friend's creepy dad or another featuring a prank with a neighbour's mail box. But after struggling to deal with his condition Evan manages to move on from having black outs until one day at college he picks up one of his old journals and discovers he has an ability to inhabit himself in the past to change things in the present. When he runs in to childhood friend Kayleigh (Sarah Widdows, Irina Gorovaia, Amy Smart) things don't go well and decides to revisit the past to improve her present. And for a while it seems that Evan's tinkering in the make-up of the past seems to have worked until things turn bad when Kayleigh's brother Tommy (Cameron Bright, Jesse James, William Lee Scott) arrives forcing Evan to try and change the past again with each time things not working out quite like he would have hoped.
I like Ashton Kutcher but I have a question for you, is "The Butterfly Effect" a great movie or did it shock people in to thinking it was great because they didn't expect such a movie from Ashton Kutcher? Personally I have always felt "The Butterfly Effect" was only a good movie which in my book felt like a play on "Back to the Future 2" where upon you mess with the past the present changes and so on and so forth with just a minor change in that Evan doesn't physically travel back to the past but inhabits an earlier version of himself.
As such "The Butterfly Effect" has three interesting things going on starting with the set up as we enter the life of a young Evan and witness several major events in his life which were followed by him blacking out. These events seem intentionally shocking such as an incident with a mailbox and a suggestive scene involving Eric Stoltz in what must be one of his creepiest roles to date. These early scenes certainly spike your interest and it continues to do this once we enter the college world of Evan where after years of no black outs finds he has what is some unexplained ability to not so much travel back to the past but alter what happens which delivers some comical moments both in the past and present.
But as I said what then happens is little more than a case of you change the past the present changes and not always how you suspect and so in this case forcing Evan to return to the past to try and change things until he has to do something he never imagined. All of which is entertaining with as I said some comical surprises in there as well as a few shocks but nothing which once you understand what Evan could do surprises you that much as to the form of the narrative.
Nope what was in truth most surprising about "The Butterfly Effect" is Ashton Kutcher who back in 2004 had a certain laid back vibe around him which made him ideal for certain roles and not in the minds of many a role which demanded tone and emotion. Now I would be lying if I said Kutcher's performance was great but it was a lot better than many including myself expected and in fact he strangely makes the movie. Although Kutcher is surrounded by talented young actors and Amy Smart, William Lee Scott and Elden Henson play their varied parts well.
What this all boils down to is that "The Butterfly Effect" is a good movie but one which other than having a few shocks and surprises as well as a surprise performance from Ashton Kutcher is in truth not that special with little more than a play on the time travel scenario of meddling in the past messes with the present to keep you enthralled.
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