The Butterfly Effect – movie review

Just briefly. for reasons I may get into in a post on FYTH in a bit, a mini review:

I just finished watching The Butterfly Effect. I liked it. I mostly reccommend it.

Perhaps because I have seen exactly zero episodes of this “Punk’d” thing, or perhaps because I have seen … less than half a dozen episodes of “That 70’s Show”, or perhaps for some other reason, I had no disappointments regarding Ashton Kutcher’s acting in The Butterfly Effect. In fact, considering all the “bad press” and “word of mouth” I heard about his acting, my expectation may have been lowered, but … he seemed to do really well. And I appreciated Amy Smart much more than I have in her other recent projects, which is nice, since I liked her acting when she first appeared on the scene. Maybe it’s the director.

Anyway, I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but suffice it to say that … in his own weird way, Ashton’s character discovers that he can travel back in time and change the events of his life. Which, because of the way small changes ripple outward and can cause big changes (in what is sometimes known as “the butterfly effect” to people who don’t know much about chaos theory but talk about it anyway), results in unexpected (to the character), and sometimes massive, changes in how his life turns out. Which is the crux of the film; can he find a way to change things to create a “happy ending”?

The exploration of this is … not handled (by the character) in a particularly intelligent or satisfying way. Which is my own main frustration with the movie; he wasn’t really thinking about what he was doing, he was mostly just guessing and improvising. But if any intelligent and/or logical person found such major changes occurring, I expect they would perhaps take more time to think about what they were doing before they do it.

Anyway, in addition to a series of not-too-well-thought-out decisions by the main character, the movie’s structure and pacing are not typical of mainstream movies. The movie opens fairly slowly, and while there are enough interesting things happening to draw one in, the movie does not get to what was promised in the trailers/commercials until the second reel. And then, quite a bit of the film is ponderous and methodical. I noticed it, which may mean something, or not. I did not think it was bad, I just noticed it was different from what most mainstream movies would do. Except then, as the movie approached the end, the editing and pacing tightened up and lost the feeling it had been building (and quite a few chunks from a lot of scenes, probably for length) as it led into an obvious but … perhaps unsatisfying end.

Though my brother and I were dissatisfied by it for different reasons, it seems. So, who knows. But the film, overall, was satisfying to both of us.

It isn’t for everyone. It does have some shocking sequences that may upset people. But I thought it was part of the story, and integral to the explanation for his time-altering abilities; the events were so shocking that … well, you’ll see. Or not.

I guess this wasn’t short after all. Oh well.

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