Release: January 23, 2004
by Kevin Lang
Is it possible that the displaced air set into motion by the flap of a butterfly's wings could set off a ripple effect that could spark a typhoon on the other side of the world? This was the theme of "The Butterfly Effect" written and directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, the screenwriters behind 2003's "Final Destination 2."
"The Butterfly Effect" told the story of Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher), a college student who began to remember memories that he had suppressed during blackouts when he was a child. The memories came back to him through a series of intense flashbacks, which soon led him to discover that he had the ability to change his past while his mind was reliving it.
This provided the framework for an intriguing story that held my interest throughout, as Evan tried to fix the "ripples" that he caused each time that he had attempted to fix something in his past. It first began with saving the life of his childhood sweetheart and eventually led to saving the life of his mother. The harsh ironies that plagued Evan never became too out of hand because of our own understanding of life and life's unfortunate paradoxes. Things often don't work out in the way that we wish they had.
Each trip back into the past set up moments of suspense and conflict that carried over into the future. This included Evan trying to go back and prevent the grizzly consequences of a childhood prank gone horribly wrong. After changing the past, Evan awoke in the present to fully realize that he had suffered the prank's horrific punishment.
In the end, I think we all have said to ourselves, "If I only hadn't done this or that, then none of this would have happened." This can be anything from taking a job to something as small as biting your lip. The bitten lip could lead to a mouth ulcer, which could cause you to get the fish instead of the wings, which could give you food poisoning, leading you to the hospital, where you talk to the patient next to you in the waiting room, who eventually offers you a job, where you meet your future wife, who you have six kids with, etc, etc…all because you bit your lip as you were eating your popcorn during "The Butterfly Effect."
The "Butterfly Effect" successfully reminds us that things sometimes work out according to the minor details in life, and also not necessarily the way that we had once intended them to.
"The Butterfly Effect" Review written January 26, 2004, CTF.
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