Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Beyond The Movie: The Science &
Psychology of the Chaos Theory; The History and Allure of Time
Travel. Fast Track – trivia subtitle track; Filmmaker commentary
– directors and screenwriters Eric Bress & J. Mackye
Gruber; Deleted/alternate scenes; The Creative Process; Visual
effects; Storyboard gallery; Original theatrical trailer; DVD
ASHTON Kutcher bids to be taken seriously in this supposedly
high-concept time travelling thriller, but the acting is so poor
and the plot so pointlessly unpleasant, that viewers are likely
to be asking, dude, wheres my brain.
The Butterfly Effect derives its name from the chaos theory which
suggests that the simple flap of a butterflys wings has
the potential to set off a tornado thousands of miles away. Hence,
if any moment in time has the potential to determine the course
of the future, what would happen if the past could be revisited
and that moment changed?
As psychology major, Evan Treborn, Kutcher is one such person,
blessed with the ability to revisit his past and change
some significant moments.
Yet every change brings with it a different set of consequences,
and, no matter how hard Treborn tries, there are some tragedies
which cannot be prevented.
Somewhere within the heart of The Butterfly Effect lies a pretty
intriguing premise, yet this becomes quickly lost amid the films
gaping lapses in logic, its unremittingly nasty tone, and the
general ineptitude of its performances.
There is no attempt to explain why Kutcher has been given the
ability to time travel, which requires a huge suspension of disbelief
in the first place, and which puts viewers on the back foot from
And the plot seems to delight in taking viewers into fairly abhorrent
territory, while giving it an MTV-style gloss.
Things pick up as a bearded Kutcher
hides out in a mysterious office, desperately trying to change
things for the umpteenth time, and then unfolds via a series of
episodes, in which the full extent of Treborns suffering
His troubles begin when he is exposed to the paedophile father
of one of his closest friends, who revels in the ability to be
able to video a sordid act involving his own daughter, and get
worse as his circle of friends unwittingly trigger an explosion
which kills a mother and baby.
There is also an episode in which a pet dog is savagely burned
to death by another psychotic child, as well as numerous beatings
Hence, Treborn isnt just concerned with his own well-being,
but with that of his friends as well - all of whom emerge in the
present bearing the scars of past indiscretions.
Once Treborn realises his ability to be able to change things,
however, his problems really begin, for by saving the mother and
baby, for instance, someone else is badly injured, bringing about
a different set of events for everyone around him.
And so the story continues, with Treborn winding up in prison,
at one point, and having to contemplate male rape.
It is all deeply unpleasant stuff, told in such an uninvolving
fashion that it ends being distasteful and unsatisfying.
Kutcher doesnt possess the talent to convince on any level
that he is capable of intelligent thinking, while you can almost
see him trying to remember his lines (under his breath), at one
point, which lessens the impact of his character.
Those around him fare little better, with not a single convincing
performance being conjured by any of the principles.
Audiences are therefore left to try and fathom the gaping lapses
of logic, without ever caring for the characters, which makes
the latter part of proceedings fairly tedious viewing.
Fans of Kutcher will no doubt flock to see the star taking on
more serious subject matter, so telling them to avoid it would
be as pointless as trying to keep a moth away from the flame.
But everyone else will no doubt want the ability to change time
themselves after emerging from it, in order to reclaim the couple
of hours they have wasted trying to make sense of this nonsense.