Butterfly Effect 1 & 2 Blu-ray Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 6.0
Video 8.0
Audio 8.5
Total 6.0
Distributor: Icon Films
Running Time:
113 / 89 minutes
Classification:
MA15+
Reviewer: Joshua Blackman

6.0


The Butterfly Effect 1 & 2

This is one of those annoying cases where a middle of the road, but quite enjoyable little movie was deemed successful enough to warrant a cheap, pointless, direct-to-video sequel. Both are included on the one Blu-ray disc. The annoying part is that if you wish to purchase the first film you have to own the second, which could be a problem since it is so atrocious it should be thrown into the depths of volcano after being trodden on and snapped into tiny pieces.

But first, the original.

As Jeff Goldblum explained in Jurassic Park, “The Butterfly Effect” describes systems whose outcomes are highly dependent on their initial conditions: a butterfly flapping its wings over the Atlantic could cause a tsunami in the Pacific, for example. In The Butterfly Effect, Aston Kutcher, Evan, somehow finds a way to alter events from his past (how exactly, is never explained) and cycles through different possible outcomes of his life until he arrives at one most desirable to him. Reading his journals (which he kept every day since he was seven) triggers this shift. One day in particular is critical in determining fate for Evan, Kayleigh (Amy Smart), Lenny (Elden Henson) and Tommy (William Lee Scott), which involves letterbox explosions, possible paedophilia and cute canines. We see these four characters played by different actors at ages 7 and 13, the film cutting back and forth between Evan’s visions of his younger years and his alternate futures.

It’s a clever idea, but it never says anything interesting about it (other than some choices are clearly better than others and there are almost always unforeseen consequences), and the characters and performances are bland. It curious as to why writer/directors Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, with an idea that presents a mine of interesting possibilities, picked this story to express their concept. Still, some of the permutations involving a mental hospital, Evan’s large-goth-emo college roommate and a distraught adult Lenny with a model plane obsession are interesting, and the story comes to a satisfying conclusion.   

This is more than can be said for the tosh conjured up for the sequel. The Butterfly Effect 2 has no direct relation to the original other than the ability of the lead character to change past choices. The lead, Nick (Eric Lively) is on holiday when his companions – his girlfriend Julie and two friends – are   killed in a car accident. He is the only survivor and, when he discovers that staring at photos gives him the ability to change the past, he attempts to prevent the crash and thus save his friends. This of course, does not go to plan, and we must hence endure various alternative storylines that revolve around his phenomenally bland office space and his romance with Julie. Hilariously inappropriate sex scenes shot like soft-core porn appear to keep you awake. The ending is utterly absurd, though in keeping with the level of quality seen prior. Luckily the film is a brisk 78 minutes thanks to an eleven minute final credits sequence that appears to have been created in half that time using pre-set options of Final Cut Pro. You know you’ve stumbled across a gem when even the credits sequence is utterly inept.

Visually though, the Blu-Ray transfer is quite good, though it does reveal the artificiality of the sets and production. The transfer of the original film is decent, though it is not a film with a strong visual style or identity. There are no extras on the disc. 

The Butterfly Effect is a decent supernatural mystery drama, but the presence of the awful sequel on the disc is unfortunate. Neither this nor the Region A release (which just contains the original film) has the option for the director’s cut which has an alternate, much darker ending. At least with the single release, however, you avoid the dreck that is The Butterfly Effect 2.






 
 



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