You can bank on it that if a film is a mild success in theaters, studios will find a way to exploit the situation and make more money off the concept. The best example of this is the thousands of direct-to-DVD sequels that litter the walls of movie rental stores across the country. Most are pale reflections of the originals.
Every once in a while a sequel comes along that doesn’t improve on the first one, but still manages to entertain. “The Butterfly Effect 2” falls into this category. It’s both entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment recently released it on Blu-ray for the first time. I saw “The Butterfly Effect” when it hit DVD a few years ago and liked it. I never got around to seeing the sequel but remained mildly interested in checking it out because it starred Erica Durance from “Smallville.” I’m glad I had the opportunity to see it finally in high-definition.
Nick, his girlfriend Julie, and their two best friends are struck by a semi on the way home from vacation. Everyone is killed but Nick, leaving him alone to deal with the aftermath of the tragedy. He discovers he has the power to travel to the past and change events in his life. Nick starts to alter reality and finds that each jump back in time isn’t necessarily changing things for the better… in the present or the future.
You can tell director John R. Leonetti put his blood, sweat, and tears into this movie but was limited as to what he could do because of the budget. It doesn’t feel like a straight-to-DVD movie besides some of the camerawork. The wreck looks realistic and most of the time-warp scenes look decent. The special effects aren’t perfect by any means but get the job done.
One issue with the film is that there are points where it reminds me of a late-night Cinemax skin flick. There are some soft-core porn sequences that feel placed in the film to attract that audience base. I feel it cheapens the movie and takes the focus off of a relatively decent storyline.
The high-definition transfer looks and sounds great. The picture is almost too clean and has that digital feel to it. It is distracting at points. The 5.1 surround sound mix blends the crashes, gunshots, and atmospheric soundtrack very well.
Extra features include audio commentary by director John R. Leonetti and co-producer Michael Stirling. A “Making of” featurette entitled “Altering Reality: On the Set of ‘The Butterfly Effect 2′” shows behind the scenes footage which makes you respect the film more. It also shows how they accomplished the crash between the semi and the SUV. An unimpressive trailer for the movie is also included.
“The Butterfly Effect 2” stands on its own and doesn’t require anyone who didn’t see the first film from grasping what’s happening. If you’re looking to upgrade your home movie collection and like these you’ll want to buy this Blu-ray version. It’s strictly for people who enjoyed “The Butterfly Effect” and couldn’t get enough or those who never saw it and just happen upon this one first.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Blu-ray Review: “Outland”
Movie Review: “The Dark Knight Rises”
DVD Review: “The Collapsed”