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The Butterfly Effect
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Butterfly Effect More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

An Unnecessarily Over-the-Top Execution of an Interesting idea

4/10
Author: SittingStill from United States
11 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Amptuees. Incest. Blowing up infants. Torturing and burning dogs. Any one of these topics have been taboo for mainstream cinema for...well...forever. This movie managed to incorporate it all.

And make no mistake about it, this movie was marketed as a mainstream film. With Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart, this was no "Faces of Death" b-movie flick that goes straight to the "Disturbing" section of your local video store. This is a film that received substantial commercial airtime.

It's shame, because both the story and the direction were original and refreshing, and the acting was not bad. But at the end of the day, as the credits began to roll, my first thoughts were not, "Wow, that was an interesting story"; rather, they were, "wow, I just watched a movie with amputees, incest, blowing up infants...

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

the problem with movies like this...

6/10
Author: MLDinTN from TN
11 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

is no matter what, there are numerous plot holes. I get how in the beginning with Evan as kid, the blackouts he suffered occurred because in the future he was time warping and changing events to create an alternative future. OK, so I guess this makes perfect sense to everyone, right! I mean, with this idea, then every time he went back, he created a new blackout and wouldn't that change everything from that day on, but when he wakes up in present time, he has no memories of how his past changed. We see flashbacks of him reliving some parts of his life, but when Evan comes too, he doesn't recall any of it. And every time he goes back to change something, he corrects one thing, like Kayleigh from committing suicide, but it always leads to some other bad situation, like when he got his hands blown off.

It was interesting when he ended up in the psych ward and no access to his journals. You wondered how he would get out of that one, plus we see how his dad ended up there and stayed there.

FINAL VERDICT: It was OK, but too confusing. And it makes you ask to many questions that start with "what if". Plus, it's hard to take Kutcher as a serious actor; he's in the tabloids too much. So, I only recommend it if you like sci-fi films.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

wasted potential

4/10
Author: chris miller (chris@aptpupil.org) from davis, california
11 October 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

may be some spoilers...looking at the filmography for the two writer/directors of this film gave me a warm feeling inside because, for once, the world makes sense. both had previously worked on "final destination 2" which also had a decent enough idea, but was executed very poorly. the butterfly effect, literally from the first frames, is an unintelligent film. ashton kutcher isn't an actor of any real merit, though he did play a somewhat slow witted amputee fairly well. amy smart did the best acting job of the bunch - going from crack whore (literally) to sorority girl without missing a beat. i wouldn't call her a great actress, but she's got some chops. oddly enough the film did have a certain degree of potential (most films do). the idea is good enough to carry a film that is average in every other way, unfortunately the film was below average in most categories. the directors, though having almost no artistic ability or sense of ebb and flow, did manage to compose a few rather nice shots. one shot was over kutcher's shoulder, looking down into an open grave - they employed a long lens to accentuate the distance between the grave and kutcher. another example came after kutcher had one of his blackouts and the camera was tilted 90° to create a disorienting effect. these moments were brief and few, but they were there. it led me to believe that these guys are capable of making a better than bad film so long as someone else wrote the screenplay. as it stands, though, this film was not better than bad. also, i'm commenting on the director's cut of this film which has a few extra minutes of footage and a different ending. after it was over i watched the theatrical version's ending and that one was even worse. D.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The Butterfly Effect: 5/10

5/10
Author: movieguy1021 (Movieguy1021@comcast.net) from Anywhere, USA
11 July 2004

Ashton Kutcher is one of the most, if not the most, overexposed "celebrity" now. Most people can't even name a movie he was in. I'm not a big fan of That 70's Show, where he made his name known, but after he made Dude, Where's My Car?, I don't think anyone thought he could ever be a credible actor. And The Butterfly Effect proves it. From a story that has been floating around Hollywood for years (it took someone with the star power and epic acting skills of Kutcher to get it greenlighted), The Butterfly Effect has a great idea but is executed in such a mixed bag kind of way it's hard to like it.

Evan (Kutcher) has gone through a troubled childhood (filled with the stupidest kids you've even seen on film), and had experienced numerous blackouts. He's better now, but finds a way to go back in time to change the horrifying events of his past. What he doesn't realize (until the end-most people would've caught on as soon as possible) that everything he does affects his whole life ahead of him. It seems to affect Kayleigh (Amy Smart) the most in each one, where she goes from sorority girl to waitress to prostitute. The like happens to everyone else Evan knows. But no matter how much he screws it up, he keeps on truckin' so that his life is perfect.

This story is much like Donnie Darko (as it has been said multiple times), but Darko knows where its going and has a purpose. In The Butterfly Effect, it takes itself way too seriously. The first half of the movie is basically Evan's past, where troubling events take place. The second half is Evan going back to fix his mistakes. The worst part is, Evan doesn't even think of helping others with these powers of his. There's a scene in a movie theater (where they're showing two New Line Cinema movies, obviously), and some people unrelated to him get hurt. Why not go back and stop that? Also, when Evan goes back to save a mother and daughter, he does it for himself, not for the people that would be killed. And we're supposed to feel along with this selfish character? In a movie as dark and serious as this, it deals with silly topics, like time travel. Time travel only works humorously (Back to the Future) or when explained properly (Donnie Darko). Neither occur in The Butterfly Effect. I had been told many times that to like this movie I couldn't take it seriously. I tried not to, but the events that occur in the movie (including child porn and animal abuse) are impossible to take lightly. At least the movie deals with them in a serious matter.

The concept is a pretty cool concept, but once again, it's destroyed by the actual dialogue written. It's all so basic and clichéd I could basically guess what they were about to say next. Also, why must they have begun with a scene of the climax? Movies always do that, often for a purpose. There was no reason here. The whole movie was uneven-half of the movie was basically revisited over and over again in the second half, which unnecessarily spends much of its time in a prison. On another note, I liked the way that everything tied together (I'm not talking about the ending) and that the unanswered questions from throughout the movie were eventually taken into consideration, such as the purpose of Evan's blackouts. I watched the director's cut, and the alternate ending seemed gutsy, but I really liked it. I read about the other ending, and I prefer this one.

This almost seemed like a typical teen movie (more so than it already is) by the acting. Kutcher can't act worth beans, and Amy Smart isn't exactly Katherine Hepburn either. The only two remarkable people in the cast were Eric Stoltz (as the aforementioned child pornographer) and Ethan Suplee (as Evan's Goth roomate), who always put in great acting jobs. But this movie, which is sure to wow the MTV generation, has a great idea at its fingertips, but can't seem the right way to execute it.

My rating: 5/10

Rated R for violence, sexual content, language and brief drug use.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Steer clear, folks with half a brain

5/10
Author: JohnnyNoGood from Mesa, AZ
9 July 2004

Against my will, I had to endure the hour and forty minutes of this flick. I call it a flick, rather than a film or movie, simply because it's nothing more than a flick friends drag you to see mainly for Ashton "lookie-lookie-I'm-dramatic" Kutcher. The acting was sub-par not to mention the plot itself (nothing but a direct Donnie Darko rip-off). Darko, released briefly in 2001, is a much more in-depth film about one's mental reality and time travel, but Butterfly Effect tries fancy camera tricks and plot complications only to leave the viewer saying they loved it but are truly confused. The main problem I had was the story never really took off and never even had something to take off from. There's no exposition that helps the audience understand why these characters do what they do. I found myself not

caring one bit if the past gets changed or even if this guy or the other dude or the girl or whoever dies right then and there. I will say this: it had a slight sliver of potential near the end with choices people have to make, but ultimately fizzles away into a bland, lackluster attempt at teasing one's brain. Look away.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A thriller, which at first seems well done, and original but then turns into pure garbage

4/10
Author: MovieManMenzel from United States
24 January 2004

I went to see the Butterfly Effect after my friend Jen went to see the movie. She said to me she did not know what to think about it yet she did not really like it. I started getting a bit leery about the film after her opinion of the film. Well what can I say, I am not a big fan of Ashton Kutcher but to me the Butterfly Effect from the trailer looked liked something so original and interesting that it really didn't matter that Ashton was in it or not. Well I read a lot of reviews for the film; most of them were not good at all. I also read an article on imdb.com that the film was screened at Sundance and the viewers hated the film. If that wasn't enough in the article it also stated that Ashton Kutcher himself was not going to promote the movie due to all the bad reviews. Boy when I read all the bad things about the film and I found out Jen wasn't crazy about the film neither well I had Butterflies in my stomach (Thank you ladies and gentlemen I will be here all week) when I decided to go see the Butterfly Effect this afternoon.

The film is basically about a kid named Evan (Ashton Kutcher) who has a messed up past and then finds a way to travel back to his harmful past to correct the horrible death of his girlfriend/childhood pal Kayleigh played by Amy Smart but here comes the twist, his plan does not always turn out the way he aspects it to. And he learns that whenever you change the past something else in the past has to be changed as well! Does this plot remind you of something? Ding Ding Ding Yes Scott do you know what it reminds you of? Yes its Back to the Future with a dark little twist.

At First, The Butterfly Effect comes off as an interesting film. I enjoyed the scenes within the first thirty minutes of the film which make the film seem very dark and unique as you start asking yourself the question what the hell is wrong with these kids? But after a few flashbacks and my pal Ashton Kutcher appears on the screen the movie goes downhill. A lot of flashbacks, incredibly bad acting, and unintentional funny movies follow…

Well let's start this off by analyzing the acting. At first when all the characters are children the acting is decent. The kids who played Evan, Kayleigh, Lenny and Tom when they were younger did a good job. As for the films more known cast of Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart well there performances weren't good at all in fact they sucked!!!! I am going to start posing the question How does Ashton Kutcher still get work? Did anyone not see Dude Where's My Car, Down to You, Just Married, Or My Boss's Daughter? I guess not since he still is being offered roles. I mean his best performance was in Cheaper by The Dozen where he did nothing more than make fun of himself stating he isn't a good actor but his face gets him places. I could not agree with him more. As for Amy Smart, well I don't know, her whole role was so small but her on screen presence was so dull and badly acted.

The geniuses behind this movie where the same two guys who wrote Final Destination 2. Am I seeing a pattern here? A movie with a great trailer but turns out to be nothing more than a script with lousy dialog and unintentional funny moments. These guys ruined Final Destination! The first Final Destination was an original film with decent acting and suspense but the second one was a laugh out loud riot to everyone who watched the film. These two guys J. Mackye Gruber & Eric Bress both wrote a directed the Butterfly Effect. I have to actually say these guys were on to something when they first started the script but then after a while it seems as though they got lazy. It's sad that the movie turned out the way it did. I mean it has an interesting premise although not totally original but the premise could have been used to make a really good film. I mean with a better script, and actors it might have been one of the best films of the year. Well to give these guys some credit they did do a good job on directing. I loved the camera angles and movements. I also liked the flashback sequences they were cool and neatly shot. J. Mackye Gruber & Eric Bress you guys did a good job directing but what happened on the script after the first 30 minutes? Come On Guys you can do better!

Another thing I found hilarious about the film was that it had four producers and seven Executive producers. Why the hell did they need so many producers on one film? Does that tell anyone anything about the film?

Well what can I say I wanted to really like the film and when it started out I thought I was going to, but soon into the film did I start hating it and laughing out loud at some of the films unintentional funny scenes. The people responsible for advertising this film should be giving all the money this film makes because wow they did one hell of a good job marketing this turkey. Getting me to actually want to see an Ashton Kutcher movie that stars him, as the main character is such a challenge but boy did they accomplish it! I give this film a 4/10 only for the great camera work and for the first thirty minutes. If you want to watch this film, I advise you wait for it to hit VHS or DVD shelves in a few months.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Flashbacks, Disturbing Sequences

5/10
Author: CurtMan@LVCM.com from Las Vegas, NV
13 November 2004

"The Butterfly Effect", to my understanding, is attempting to achieve an effect of consternation, calamity, and "flash-forwarding through time", and for its credit, makes a good presentation in displaying the confusion, curiosity, and self-discovery of Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher), through some of the most gritty, dizzying, and even maddening editing to ever be approved for film. This is a troubled story about a troubled soul, seeking to alter his troubled life through somehow "rewriting his own history". Sounds quite confusing and maybe preposterous? Well, add this seemingly inane plot to the consternation of some terribly giddy editing and include some really bizarre characters such as Evan's Gothic friend Lenny (Elden Henson), and "The Butterfly Effect" is virtually nothing more than a series of constant, confusing flashbacks, brazen plot and character development (why is Evan the way he is, what is the logic behind his "unworldly epiphany"?), and a puzzling and maddening roller-coaster of editing. The purpose of Evan as a child becoming a narrator for the events at hand remains to be untold: the little boy, chronicling Evan's revisions in his journal as he reconfronts various experiences, should have merely played those experiences out, rather than analyze every tumultuous detail of his existence! This movie really offered an intriguing plot: time-warping, revising periods of blackouts and reliving and correcting certain inadequacies in life, and this would have been perfectly enjoyable entertainment, if the plot, editing, and story were coherent enough to not come across as merely disturbing and zany! Perhaps the story has a profoundly larger message that can only be conceived by the most curious and attentive of spectators who view it, yet as far as I am concerned, "The Butterfly Effect" offers little more than confusion, delirium, and one head-splitting headache... *1/2 out of ****

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Good Idea, Complicated Implementation

6/10
Author: jcanettis from Athens, Greece
1 November 2004

"The Butterfly Effect" is not a typical movie. With its weird story, its many and sometimes difficult to follow plot twists, its dark and depressing atmosphere, it definitely is a film which can be described as "different". But is it also good?

The answer to the above question is not easy. The idea that the "TBF" plays with is clever, that's for sure: The story is about Evan Treborn (Kutcher), a boy who faces mysterious memory black-outs when faced with unhappy events. Doctors attribute this to stress, although his mother (Walters) suspects that this might be related to his hospitalized father's mental illness. Things get really nasty though, when a mischief conducted by him, his friend Kay (Smart), her brother Tommy (Scott), and their friend Lenny (Henson), goes really awry. This event makes the life of everyone take a dramatic turn, but the problem is that Evan (and the viewer), have no clue of what happened due to a black-out he faced. Then suddenly after many years, Evan discovers that there is a way to reveal his lost memories; however, this brings some unintended and strange side-effects...

If this sounds a bit confusing, then rest assured that it is much more complicated than that; in fact, the main weakness of the film is that although it is based on a very good idea, the scenario gets too complicated and over-stretched. If it was kept a bit "lighter", then I would sure grade the movie 2 notches higher in the 10-point grade scale than the 6/10 grade I have given it.

The performances are more than satisfactory, especially if you take into account the fact that there are no grand names involved. So is the direction, despite the difficulty posed by the frequent flash-backs and twists that are required by the scenario.

In brief, the film is overall OK, but had the potential for meeting even higher expectations.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

I wanted to love this

6/10
Author: allar100 from California
20 February 2004

I really wanted to love this film. As it was, it was alright, but it could have been much better. First of all, there was some serious acting issues in the film. Ashton wasn't so bad, but other parts of the cast, like his mom, really was. The story was cool, but there were some really forced plot points in the beginning, and in the very end which hurts the film. It seems to me that the makers had this great idea, and knew in general what they wanted to do, but needed a quick way out because they just couldn't figure out what else to do. All of the plot problems could have easily been solved though with just a little reworking. No other real major complaints, and fairly enjoyable.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Compelling and Intriguing Movie About Making Choices and Taking Responsibilities

7/10
Author: Galina from Virginia, USA
4 May 2005

A troubled young boy with the memory issues (Ashton Kutcher) is suddenly able to transport himself back into moments from his past, change them for the better and return to the present. The changes he makes affect not only his life but the lives of his close friends. The problem is - he never knows how exactly the changes made in the past would affect the present. The idea of the movie is anything but new - we all read Ray Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder," an unforgettable short story about a time-traveler who steps on a prehistoric butterfly and causes the horrible changes in the fate of the whole humanity. We've seen the films Frequency, Groundhog Day, and Memento - Butterfly Effect borrows a lot from them. BE is not as good as they are but it is a compelling and intriguing movie about making choices and taking responsibilities. I recommend watching director's cut with the ending completely different from the theatrical release. The ending that I saw really made this movie for me.

Very respectable even if not completely successful effort for Kutcher to do something different than Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), My Boss's Daughter (2003), and Just Married (2003).

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