'The Butterfly Effect' was a semi-intriguing, plot-hole-filled time travel movie where Evan (Ashton Kutcher) could inexplicably transport himself back in time just by looking at the journals he kept when he was a kid. The direct-to-video sequel uses the same plot device, only this time Nick (Eric Lively) finds out that he can travel through time using old photographs.
Nick is a successful twenty-something businessman. He's got a gorgeous girlfriend and hopefully a promotion on the way. There's nothing that can bring Nick down from his life high. Not until a tragic car accident on the way home from a day out at the lake. The accident claims the lives of his two close friends and his girlfriend. Nick's life quickly spirals out of control. If only there was a way he could change fate.
Nick soon realizes that whenever he looks at pictures from his past he gets headaches and nosebleeds. The room around him starts shaking and morphing into something indistinct and scary. He can transport himself back to the time of the photograph keeping the same knowledge with him. He goes back and stops the crash from happening, but the ripple effect creates a completely different timeline.
In the original Evan found himself placed in a variety of alternate timelines, each one seemed to get progressively worse depending on what he purposefully did in the past to change the future. The same happens to Nick. The more he meddles in the past, the more the future resembles a nightmare.
For a DTV sequel I guess 'The Butterfly Effect 2' isn't all that bad. It has that cheesy, un-theatrical feeling to it. The dialogue is stilted and completely reserved for spelling out exposition. The acting is what you'd expect from a low-budget production. It's cheesy and forced, yet the story is compelling enough that you won't feel like you completely wasted your time.
The problem is that the movie doesn't have the same dark thematic elements that made the first one watchable. The character of Tommy (William Lee Scott,) in the first movie, was utterly unnerving. That kid is one creepy little S.O.B. The pure evil that resided in little Tommy and the way it changed the lives of the kids around him, made the first movie much more thrilling.
This sequel lacks any sort of evil presence to give the story that extra kick it needs. There's a whack-job club owner who is hardly the face of evil Tommy was. Believe me, the movie tries to create the kind of twisted tension of the first, it just fails repeatedly.
The second movie travels the same road as the first. Since its characters are flat recreations, instead of wholly original ideas, the movie gets bogged down in its own mediocrity. The plot device of traveling back in time to change the future is an interesting one on the surface, but 'The Butterfly Effect 2' brings nothing new to the conversation started by the first.
Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This release comes in a standard keepcase pressed on a 25GB Blu-ray Disc. There's no indication on the case as to what regions the disc works in.
Like many other DTV features, the 1080p image for 'The Butterfly Effect 2' is flat and waxy. The whole low-budget affair doesn't fare well in high definition. Its mistakes are glaringly obvious under the HD microscope.
You'll notice right off that skin tones aren't natural. They're either too full of red or they're far too pale. There's never a time where skin appears lifelike. The image lacks depth and dimension. The flat look of the image causes skin to look waxy and mannequin like. Shadows constantly crush the image and any details it might have had. Digital noise routinely spikes in the movie's darker areas. Black areas look like their crawling with little white ants most of the time.
Contrast and colors are anemic. The whole effort is a pretty drab visual display. Some detail is noticed up close, but even then much of the waxy effect washes away any of the fine detail that might be there. Hair becomes a muddled mess instead of a maze of intricate individual strands. The movie's special effects look absolutely laughable in HD. There's really nothing to like here.
The audio presentation, which is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, provides a bit more entertainment than the ugly video display. The sound scape here is limited by concept and budget so don't expect any supersonic offerings.
The catastrophic car wreck, as a semi-truck collides with a Jeep, features some of the movie's most encompassing sound. The rear channels are pretty silent except for a few instances, with one of those being the accident. Crunching metal and screeching brakes are easily heard echoing through the rear channels. The only other time ambient sound kicks in is during the effects used as Nick's world changes and warps around him before he travels through time.
Dialogue was a bit on the soft side. I found it hard to hear whispered conversations. The movie's music and effects drowned out dialogue on a few occasions. Basically, this is what you can expect from a middling DTV release.
The sequel to 'The Butterfly Effect' is redundant without being inventive. There's nothing new that this sequel adds to the story. Still, you probably won't feel like you wasted your time with it. At the best it's a quick Saturday afternoon watch when you don't have anything better to do. The video is pretty crappy, the audio is alright, and the verdict is a rental at best.