003797Reviews & Counting
The Butterfly Effect
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
The Butterfly Effect order
Eric Bress/J. Mackye Gruber

Ashton Kutcher
Amy Smart
Eric Stoltz


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Evan Treborn (Kutcher) is a young man who grew up enduring a series of seizure-like voids that wiped out the memories of some of his life’s most important events. Realizing he’s able, by filling in some of the blanks, to travel back to those times and alter his life and that of those around him, Evan very quickly finds out that changing a little something in your past can have a very big change on your future.
I saw this movie a week to the day after I saw DUDE, WHERE’S MY CAR? so you’ll forgive me if I didn’t really believe going into it that Mr. Demi Moore would be able to carry a dark thriller all the way home, but he certainly proved me wrong. Not that anything was wrong with DUDE, but Evan Treborn didn’t really strike me as a potential role for this guy and coming off the near scare I had when he was mentioned as a potential Batman a few months back, I was understandably shaky going in. The film did suffer from a couple of flaws, most notably the total lack of explanation as to how it is that this man can travel back though time and alter events. However, if you can block this out, you’ll really have a nice tight thriller to enjoy. How to block out such an important plot point, you ask? Very simple: just keep telling yourself that there is no way to travel back in time and any explanation given would have to be a) totally ridiculous, thereby ruining the rest of the film, or b) a rip-off of either BACK TO THE FUTURE or STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME, the only two films in history that got it right. The edition also contains both theatrical and Director's cuts. The Director's cut is far superior to the theatrical one with a different ending that goes in a completely different direction, and a much more ballsy one at that-- one that pushes the limits of time travel far beyond what cinema has shown us up to now.

With this hurdle out of the way, you’ll get a thriller that deals with something we’ve all thought about at one time or another: a chance to go back and fix that nagging little thing that’s always left us thinking “what if I’d done that?” or “what if I’d said that?” Think of all the random encounters or events we’ve all had in life that have created or destroyed relationships, friendships, careers, business opportunities, families, etc. THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT gives us one man who has had this chance, and seizing it, goes back in time and tries to fill in the blanks in his life by acting them out the way he thinks they should have happened in the first place. Unfortunately for him, he finds out the hard way that fate is sometimes inevitable and that trying to make one person happy could cost another person all they have. Kutcher is able to play the average guy well enough to place all of us into his shoes and he’s seconded wonderfully by Amy Smart who acts as Kayleigh, Evan’s childhood love and the person he tries to save from a miserable life at the hands of her perverted father and sadistic brother. Despite his track record as a goofball in pretty much every single role he’s held up to now, Kutcher never really betrayed any hint of the usual “duh” look he wears or his trademark Kelso eye-roll.
The DVD is an Infinifilm Edition which means all the features are accessible via that method. For those who haven't used it yet, Infinifilm means that you can play the movie in a mode which will pop up directions once in a while leading you to an excerpt from the special features relevant to that part of the film. It's a very overrated feature since it doesn't allow for much continuity in either the movie or the features, but it's an interesting gadget to play with for a while.

Beyond the Movie features

The Science and Psychology of the Chaos theory (9 minutes): The chaos theory, the same one that was brought up by Jeff Goldblum in the original JURASSIC PARK, stipulates that any small change in a system can bring forth massive changes later on. The example commonly used from which the title of the film is drawn in that something as small as the flap of a butterfly wing can create a typhoon somewhere across the globe. A bit of input is given from a physicist, a psychologist and a psychotherapist. Quite interesting as a whole.

The History and Allure of Time Travel (13 minutes): Here we get some info from so-called experts as to why the idea of time travel is so appealing to all of us. It also gets a bit into the history of time travel in cinema.

Fact Track (Full Length): I like this kind of track on movies. It allows you to check the film with random pop-up info passing on the screen.

All-Access Pass features

Filmmaker Commentary by Co-Directors and Co-Screenwriters Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber (Full Length): A decent track by a couple of young filmmakers who seem to really be into their movie and deservedly so. They go over the usual stuff in discussing the trouble they had to get the flick made and some decisions they had to make in terms of cuts and editing.

Documentaries (32 minutes): You'll be able to find two documentaries on this, the first one dealing with The Creative Process and the second with Visual Effects. They're both pretty self-explanatory and discuss in fairly standard manner a pair of topics that are established as standards of pretty much any DVD nowadays.

Deleted/Alternate Scenes (7 minutes): Nine pretty average deleted scenes are offered with optional commentary by the filmmakers.

There's also a Storyboard Gallery and the Original Theatrical Trailer.
The movie got knocked around a bit when it was released, but this DVD might let some appreciate it much more, especially when they see the Director's Cut. It's a dark, gritty thriller dealing with a topic we've all considered at one point or another and it comes in a decent DVD package that has some interesting features. A good buy, a strong rental at least.
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