A troubled and tortured boy, Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher), struggles as he begins to realize that portions of memories are being purposely blocked out of his mind. When the boy comes face to face with some of his childhood fears and before the complete story is unraveled, the boy wakes up missing what happened.
Later when he is an adult, Evan is desperate to uncover why his memories were being blocked. He uses his childhood journal as a starting place as he tries desperately to unravel his mystery. Before he can stop it he finds himself being thrust into the past where he re-enters his body as a child and is able to change events that could help his childhood friends, Kayleigh (Amy Smart), Lenny (Elden Henson) and Tommy (William Lee Scott). Evan hopes to make a better future for them all as he opens the blocked memories within his own mind.
“The Butterfly Effect” isn’t your typical “time-travel” film but it plays along the same principal as films before it and once more has a desperate hero much like Wells’ own “time-traveler”. “Effect” is interesting in the way it makes the journey so simple for the main character. He squints his eyes and reads his childhood journal and poof he’s in the past. I like that it’s simple and that we the audience believe he can do it because of the film’s brilliant opening.
It is brilliant because we learn about Evan as a child and we begin to see his desperation and plight from an early age. I liked watching the child version of the character and how the filmmakers made his childhood so believable. This was by far the best part of the film.
The specific events Evan was returning to were traumatic and disturbing for the both Evan and the viewer. As the film builds, each event is more traumatic than the next. It really got hard to digest, but I still think that this is extremely well done and you are kind of left with a feeling of “wow what a rush!’
Then there is the problem that Kutcher seeming to have a “Keanu Reeves” reaction every time he returns from those events. Something like, “whoa it’s changed”. He is never fully traumatized or changed, which bothers me a little bit, but the good parts overweigh the bad parts.
There were also lots of problems with the internal logic of the film. As the film progresses, we learn that Evan can only transport back to certain events within the pages of his journal. But as the film progresses these events are traveled to out of linear-sequence. Which begs the question shouldn’t some of the events he changed earlier effect the events in the time he is now visiting.
Placing the disturbing scenes aside, for once I would have liked to see him enjoy his time in the past so we as an audience can see what he is so desperate to relive.
“The Butterfly Effect” is a dark, desperate and a little disturbing movie, but I still think it is an excellent entry in the “time-travel” genre. “The Butterfly Effects” makes you think a little extra before you do something, and it makes you value friendship in a different way. At east that’s what it did for me.
“The Butterfly Effect” is absolutely worth the time to watch!