The Butterfly Effect 2 & 3

Complexity: 2/10

“Doesn’t Make Any Sense” Ending: 9/10

Alternate Realities: 5/10

and then there’s….

Complexity: 5/10

“Doesn’t Make Any Sense” Ending: 9/10

Alternate Realities: 2/10

I’m going to bring you all a special double feature today.  Since The Butterfly Effect 3 was requested to me, I was faced with a big problem: I had never seen The Butterfly Effect 2.  Why is this a big problem?  Well, let me answer that question with a question.  How could I possibly gauge how bad the third movie is in a series, if I have no idea how bad the second movie is?  True, they are in no way connected by storyline, but they are still related by concept, so it was necessary for me to see if one was more horrible than the other, and if any improvements had been made (or abandoned) between the two. 

Let me catch you up to speed if you have no idea what this franchise is about: The Butterfly Effect was a sci-fi movie about a man who, after experiencing “blackouts” his whole life, realizes that he can go back in time and take over his bodies during these “blackout periods”.  When he does, he alters the past and changes his future, creating various alternate realities and positive/negative outcomes.  The idea is that no matter how much he changes, he always does more harm than good, especially to his girlfriend, so in the end he just decides to make sure they never become friends in the first place.  I felt the first movie was, with the exception of several time-travel paradoxes, pretty well done.

In the words of Gordon Lightfoot, enter number 2:  We meet a guy who has a hot girlfriend and some cool pals, but unfortunately they get into a car accident when their camping trip is cut short.  Nick, the main character, is the sole survivor, and his life becomes a downward spiral of drinking, headaches, and failure.  That is, until he discovers that by looking at pictures, he can go back in time to when those pictures were taken and alter events.  This was a crucial difference with the first movie, in that he has no set points of where he can go back in time.  It opens up the movie to a million possibilities, but never tries to expand the idea more than the central plot.  He goes back and saves his friends, and his life becomes pretty good.  He doesn’t get a promotion, though, so he goes back again to change that and becomes rich…with no friends.  He keeps screwing up more and more until he finally goes back in time and, instead of telling his friends not to get in the car, breaks up with his pregnant girlfriend and dies in a car accident.  Smooth move.  The movie ends with a hint that Nick is now his newborn son, which makes absolutely no sense.

That'll teach you to be selfish...

Now, the third movie in this train of time-twisters makes some interesting changes.  First, the main character, Sam, makes a living on his ability to go back in time by solving mysteries for the police.  His sister and a man named Goldberg know that he can time-travel, and help him by giving advice and monitoring his life signs when he is “away”.  He even has a set of rules that he follows for when he goes back, like “Only Observe”(time-travel dummy rule).  The problem is that he is asked to go back and investigate his ex-girlfriend’s murder, which leads to a series of horrible events.  He unknowingly creates a serial-killer somehow, and every time he travels back to fix the past, the future is even more messed up for him when he returns(I call it “The Butterfly Effect” Effect).  He keeps incriminating himself more and more in the murders, until he eventually discovers that his sister is the killer(spoiler alert….too late, sorry).  She loves him so much that she kills every girl who might take him away by going back in time (yeah, she can go back, too) and killing them before they meet.  Sam decides to go back in time and let his sister burn to death in a house fire (ok, he holds the door to prevent her escape…) and his life becomes happy with parents that are alive and a wife and daughter.  The movie ends with a hint that his sister is now his daughter…..dammit.

The family that bathes together, stays together....

Both movies are pretty bad, but I have to give The Butterfly Effect 2 the honor of being the worst one of the three.  It was a poorly thought-out and half-hearted attempt to recreate the first one.  At least with The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations they changed everything up and added a murder mystery for spice.  With each movie the ability to go back in time became less explained and more unrestricted, which would have been fine if several paradoxes weren’t created in the process.  I’d go in to what those are, but that’s why people love time-travel movies: figuring out all the plot holes(at least that’s why I love them).

This was a long one…..oh well.  Thanks to Michele for the suggestion, even though this one came with some extra work.  Until next time, stay awesome!

This entry was posted in Movie Review, Time Travel Movies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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