The Butterfly Effect Eric Bress & J. Mackye Gruber

The Butterfly Effect Eric Bress & J. Mackye Gruber
Perhaps best known for their writing credit on the unnecessary sequel to Final Destination, Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber redeem themselves as co-writers and co-directors with a supernatural time-travelling thriller. Of course the big sell for The Butterfly Effect is Ashton Kutcher (TV's That 70s Show and Punk'd) with a surprisingly solid turn in a dramatic role. Kutcher plays Evan, a college student haunted by a succession of blackouts during his youth. When he discovers that he is able to travel back to those moments and manipulate the course of events through his younger selves (played superbly by John Patrick Amedori and Logan Lerman), the temptation becomes too great and he sets about trying to improve the lives of his friends, family and himself. Unfortunately, Evan learns that the "butterfly effect" — from chaos theory, which states: "It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world" — can have great repercussions in the present, and often for the worse. It's a dark and disturbing thrill ride, but only because Bress and Gruber prefer to take the road less travelled. They deal with issues like incest in an honest and straightforward manner, and prefer to do stuff that hasn't been done before. This director's cut includes a very powerful new ending, although at one point the voiceover makes the point too obvious. The writer/directors have also restored a few scenes, which they readily point out along with the rest of the interesting information they impart in their revealing commentary. As well, they've included the theatrical release for those who prefer quicker pacing and the softer ending (or you can choose from the two additional ones in the deleted scenes). The two featurettes on chaos theory and time travel are not very informative, but the two documentaries are much better. And for repeat viewing there's a pop-up-style "fact track" piggybacking on the impressive "Infinifilm" feature that links the movie to the relevant sections from the special features at appropriate points in the movie, including links to deleted scenes and where they should be inserted. Plus: storyboard gallery, DVD-Rom features, more. (Alliance Atlantis)