The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006) / Thriller-Fantasy
MPAA Rated: R for violence, sexuality, and language
Running Time: 92 min.
Cast: Eric Lively, Erica Durance, Dustin Milligan, Gina Holden, JR Bourne
Director: John R. Leonetti
Screenplay: Michael D. Weiss
Review published September 25, 2006
The original The Butterfly Effect was the brainchild of writer-directors Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, who had previously written a sequel for another gimmicky series in Final Destination 2. There's more than that connection to link these two different series, as both feature sequels that are only tangentially related to the others, essentially remakes more so than continuations of previous storylines. The problem with a film like The Butterfly Effect 2 is that, unlike the gory, humorous Final Destination series, there really isn't much joy in the plot itself after understanding it the first time. Since we all know where it's going, we have little vested interest in the artificial storyline, and without any humor or titillation to speak of, it's little more than a mechanical, joyless regurgitation, except with no-name stars and lesser production values.
This episode, wholly unrelated to the first film, features Eric Lively (Speak, The Pact) portraying Nick, a 20-something man on the verge of a personal and professional boom. It's his girlfriend Julie's (Durance, "Smallville") birthday, and as special as he wants her day to be, he must unfortunately head back to work, as he is jockeying for a big promotion, and doesn't want the job handed to someone seen as more loyal to the company. Tragedy strikes when he loses control of the car, causing the big rig behind him to smash into his SUV, killing off Julie, his potential promotion, and his happiness. A year passes and he is still not over the event, but he has begun to feel strange effects in the pictures he looks at, finally culminating in regressing himself back into the moments depicted in the photos, this time with the ability to change his future. However, when he returns to the present, Nick doesn't always like what he finds.
Given that I didn't really enjoy the first film, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I also don't have much love for this very redundant sequel. The short summation is that it is essentially the same movie with different characters and situations, and instead of a diary, the time-travel is done through photographs. Even if you did like the first film, I can't really understand what would appeal to you about seeing it done again, as the script by Michael Weiss (Crocodile, Octopus) gives no new twists on the formula, and doesn't ever try to explain how such a bizarre phenomenon could actually happen and why.
Since I can't recommend the film to people that liked The Butterfly Effect, the only audience out there that I could see actually finding this story intriguing would be those that have never seen the original but find the premise interesting. About the kindest thing I can say about this rehash is that it isn't as dark in its tone and themes, making it much easier to take for those squeamish about sadistically repugnant scenes of child abuse. I should point out that, even if I had never seen the original, it is highly doubtful that this would have actually thrilled me as a standalone entry enough to give this a higher rating than I have here.
I suppose there is an irony in knowing that this sequel/remake is the opposite of the main premise of the film. In the fictional story, someone goes back to relive the same events but takes a different direction; in the reality of this sequel, the makers of The Butterfly Effect 2 have chosen to relive different events and choose the same direction. Regardless of the differences, both the fiction and the reality do come up with the same conclusion:- going back and reliving past events doesn't always produce better results in the present.
©2006 Vince Leo