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Butterfly Effect’ rises above shortcomings

Mark Bemenderfer | Monday, September 6, 2004

Change one thing, change everything.That is the tagline to the semi-recently released movie, “The Butterfly Effect.” The butterfly effect, also known as Chaos Theory, was made widely known to the average moviegoer in the movie “Jurassic Park.” As “Jurassic Park” explained, everything in the world is interconnected, and every action has the potential for many unforeseen consequences. The “butterfly effect” stands for the idea that a butterfly flapping his wings in South Bend can create a hurricane in Florida. The 2003 film “The Butterfly Effect,” however, one-ups “Jurassic Park” by doing more than just explaining the theory; it shows the results of one changed action through many different scenarios. While this is hardly the first movie to have followed such a principle, it is one of the better ones. Even though Ashton Kutcher’s role as the main character is a drawing point for interested viewers, the supporting roles are what drive the movie. Amy Smart, Elden Henson and Melora Walters all turn in memorable performances. Kutcher does suffer a little through his manipulations, but the secondary characters make up for the main character’s shortcomings.This is a good movie, but it is far from perfect. There are some obvious plot holes, and Kutcher may not have been the best young actor for the job. Another movie that follows the same idea, but with a better lead and execution is “Donnie Darko,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal. If you haven’t seen that movie, check it out. If you have seen only one of these two movies, and liked it, I would recommend the seeing the other to see a different execution of similar story ideas. This is a very dark movie. If you are looking for the feel good movie of the year, look elsewhere. Bodily and mental harm come to almost every person in this movie, innocent or otherwise. While some may appreciate the grim nature of the movie and some of its inhabitants, others may not. The director’s cut, included on the new DVD by New Line Cinema’s Infinifilm, is even darker. Many of the things that were hinted at in the movie are actually displayed in the directors cut, as well as an ending that will cause people to question what they just saw. The director’s cut, as well as the theatrical one, are both packaged on the same DVD. The two versions are far enough apart, with completely different endings, that they both warrant a viewing. The audio and video are done quite well in this film. The video is crisp and clear. Viewers are able to see all of Ashton’s dazed and confused looks with utmost clarity. All the dialogue and ambient noises have also been transcribed very clearly.The DVD comes packed with quite a few extras, just like previous Infinifilm’s DVD releases. There are two documentaries, one about time travel and the other dealing with chaos theory. Commentary from the directors and writers and some DVD-ROM content is also included. Overall, this is a classy presentation for the film and one that would please any movie fan.