back and change it"
Evan (Kutcher) has suffered from blackouts all this life.
He'd wake up with no recollection of what had happened while he was out
and he would miss major, sometimes traumatic moments of his life. Doctors
think it is his brain's way of coping with extreme distress but Evan discovers
that if he reads his journals from the time of one of his blackouts, his
consciousness travels back to that time, allowing him to change the past.
The problem is that if he changes anything, the ripples through time affect
not just him, but everyone he knows.
If you have ever thought to yourself "If I could just go back
and change that", this movie takes that premise and shows you if you change
anything it can have serious repercussions.
This very interesting premise might not be the most original
in movies but "The Butterfly Effect" uses it quite good effect. Seeing the
consequences of Evan's changes as time ripples and alters reality, just
throws him into new situations and problems. Each change affects the personalities
and lives of each of his three friends and his family, sometimes for the
better but sometimes for the worse but never striking a balance.
Known more for his famous girlfriends, comedic roles and celebrity
pranks, Ashton Kutcher tries his hand at the drama and is surprisingly not
too bad. As Ewan, he is the focal point of the movie and how he reacts to
the changes around him and the repercussions of those changes is key to
the success of the film. The good news is that Kutcher does this quite well.
He isn't going to win any awards but it is a believeable and reserved performance
from the actor, showing that there is more to him than some people might
The performances from his support also have a larger bearing
on the storyline of the film. Amy Smart goes through three dramatic transformations,
from worn-out waitress, to bubbly college girl to a drug-addicted prostitute.
This could be a breakout role for the actress as it shows that she is not
just a pretty face. Anyone who has seen Magnolia knows that Melora Walters
is a good actress and she does her best with the role of Evan's mother.
Eden Henson is also good as the troubled Lenny. The young actors and actresses
who play Evan, Kalley, Lenny and Tommy at age 7 and 13 are extremely good
however with Jessie James as the young Tommy been the highlight.
The Butterfly Effect might not be the most original movie
but it does provide some good entertainment. The twists in the story and
the non-Hollywood ending keep you interested until the finale and it shows
you that there might be more to Ashton Kutcher than his tabloid life might
Presented in Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital
5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is very good. The picture quality is very good
throughout as the different techniques and emphasising of colours become
very prominent, due to the sharpness of the image. The sound quality is
also very good, especially during the time transition scenes as Evan goes
back to change the future.
Director's Cut (120 mins)
This is the director's cut of the movie that allows you to watch the version
that Eric Hess and J. Mackye Gruber wanted to be released but due to studio
pressure, they had to change. The extra footage contains more of the younger
versions of the main characters and a completely new ending that is even
more non-Hollywood than the theatrical release. This is the only version
on the disc however, unlike the US release that had both version of the
movie, so you cannot make a comparison.
Audio Commentary with writer/directors Eric Hess and J.
This very chatty and informative commentary shows that the filmmakers had
a real passion for their movie. The pair discusses the differences between
their director's cut and the theatrical release, explaining why the changes
were made and their feelings about them. They talk about casting and the
fact that most of the actors had to play many different versions of their
characters. The technical aspects of the film are also discussed, such as
the setting up of the time transitions, the different looks after the changes
had taken place and shooting in a real prison. The directors also reveal
that there are pointers within the movie that show when something dangerous
is about to happen or has happened.
Not as informative as you may have thought, these intermittent facts and
pieces of trivia pop up every 10 minutes or so but don't really convey much
to enhance your viewing. There are the odd one or two facts that can be
of interest such as cancer statistics, who invented the MRI scan and some
disturbing facts about child abuse cases.
The Creative Process (17.50 mins)
Writer/Director's Eric Hess and J. Mackye Gruber, producer Chris Bender,
director of photography Matthew F. Leonetti, producer A.J. Dix and stars
Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Eric Stoltz and Melora Walters talk about bringing
the Butterfly Effect to the silver screen. The writer/directors talk about
their personal attachment to the movie and the inspiration behind story.
They then take you behind the scenes of pre-production, storyboarding and
filming, touching on casting and the amount of research that went into the
project. The cast talk about their characters and what they had to bring
to table in terms of performance as many of them had to play different versions
of the character.
Behind the visual effects (16.06 mins)
Writer/Director's Eric Hess and J. Mackye Gruber, director of photography
Matthew F. Leonetti, VFX supervisor Ralph Maiers and VFX coordinator Christopher
Elke reveal how the visual effects were produced for the movie. The featurette
reveals how transitional time effects were created, breaking down the many
elements such as the shimming room, the dancing words and the memory flashes
that made up the scenes. They also reveal how they created the post box
explosion and how they removed digitally removed limbs with a very low budget.
Chaos Theory (8.59 mins)
Professor of Physics at Cal Tech University Peter Goldreich Ph.D and psychotherapists
John D Biroc Ph.D and Constance Kaplan MFT explain chaos theory and its
roll in the movie. The three of them discuss unpredictability, trying to
control chaos and Edward Lorenz's Butterfly Effect theory. The featurette
is intercut with quotes outlining what chaos theory actually is.
Time Travel (13.24 mins)
Writer/Director's Eric Hess and J. Mackye Gruber, psychotherapists John
D Biroc Ph.D and Constance Kaplan MFT, Michael Pogorzelski from the Academy
Film Archive AMPAS and Ken Wlaschin from the American Film Institute discuss
the allure of time travel in both real life and in the movies. Covering
the history of time travel movies and looking at the influences of films
like The Terminator, Minority Report, Timecop and Back to the Future, the
featurette also tries to explain the human fascination with time travel
and the need to change their lives.
Deleted Scenes (6.46 mins)
With optional commentary from writer/director's Eric Hess and J. Mackye
Gruber, these nine deleted or alternative scenes entitled "Where's My Puffer?",
"Kids Discuss Art", "The Mute in the Yellow Hat", "Once Bitten, Twice Catatonic",
"Get My Memories Back", "You've Been Acting Weird, Evan", "Noon Day Stalker",
"Stalker Ending" and "Happy Sappy Ending", don't really add much to the
movie and wouldn't be noticeable in their absence. The two alternative endings
not very relevant as they relate to the theatrical version and not this
Trailer (2.25 mins)
Your chance to watch the full theatrical trailer for The Butterfly Effect.
A good movie gets a very good DVD treatment. The extra features
are very good, mixing informative and entertaining featurettes about the
film with ones explaining the theories behind it. The commentary track is
also very good. What lets the package down is the absence of the theatrical
cut of the movie, as fans might not like the ending that writer/director's
Eric Hess and J. Mackye Gruber envisaged. The director's cut of The Butterfly
Effect is, in my opinion, a better movie but having both version to compare
would have been the most advantageous option for the fans (They had both
version for the US release).
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