The idea of time traveling has always intrigued me ever since watching “Back to the Future” when I was a child. I’ve made a few mistakes in my life and have fantasized from time to time about what my life would be like if I could go back in time and change a few things. But after watching the butterfly effect I realize that there may unseen repercussions to changing the past. The Butterfly Effect 2004 was directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber and stars Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart and Melora Waters. The Movie follows the life of Evan Treborn from his childhood black outs during which he forgets what he’s doing and then later on in life realizes that he can use his childhood journals to go back in time to try to change the past. The Butterfly Effect is a great time travel movie because of its cause and effect way of telling the story and though most time travel movies end up changing the future this one does it in a unique way where it seems changing the smallest thing can affect everyone around you for better or worse. For my analysis paper I will break the movie down into three parts; the past, the present, and all of the alternate realities. For each part I will write what the feel of the scenes were using the camera angles, lighting, general mood of the scene, and how Evan acted during these transitions.
The movie starts of in a typical small town that take place in the early 90’s, everyone is wear the typical suburban attire and everyone seems to know their job in society whether that is to stay at home watching the kids, cleaning, cooking, or to go out and provide for the family. This is not the case for Evans mom who is a single mom, the first seen we see her working on the family car showing the audience that she has many different jobs in order to provide for her son. The music is happy that gives the impression that everything is just fine in Evans life. But, as soon as Evan begins to experience his black outs the music changes to more of a dramatic tone. The music does this to convey an uneasy feeling that everything is not alright in his life. As his childhood drags on the lighting and music continue to become more suspenseful and dark until he finally moves away, showing that in order for his life to change for the better he needs to get out of the town.
After moving away Evan goes to college and becomes a straight A student and seems to be having the time of his life. The camera angles have become closer up and personal while the lighting is now much lighter and more appealing to the eye. This change in scenery gives us the impression that getting out of his childhood town was the best thing that ever happened to Evan. But, just as things were looking good for him, he ends up reading an old journal and slips back in time. As he reads the journal the scene becomes very chaotic with lights flashing, the room shakes, and the music turns very suspenseful. After waking up he has a large nose bleed and realizing that what he’s doing isn’t normal he begins a journey of self-discovery to find out who he really is. The nose bleed foreshadows the damage that going back in time is going to have on him. The entire mood of the movie from now on turns into less of a drama and more of a thriller. He begins to follow the clues that will eventually lead to his realization that in order to make the future better he must first change the past.
Now the movie becomes even more chaotic because with each time he changes the past the future becomes worse and his nose bleeds continue to rise in severity. Evan becomes more impatient and jittery as he loses control of his own life. The camera angle are now more dramatic and switch from scene to scene in a very rapid motion trying to convey to us that Evan is not thinking clearly and only making things worse for everyone. The lighting and music continue to degrade as Evan becomes more depressed with his inability to help everyone and he even try’s to kill himself showing that he has hit rock bottom. This entire part of the movie is very well executed from its use of special effects to the intense emotions that Evan displays that makes us as an audience actually care for him. The idea of Evan killing himself is meant to gives us as an audience a deeper connection with Evan. The movie finally ends with Evan going back in time and telling off his true love so that they would never meet. The future is now better for everyone until Evan and the girl happen to walk by each other on the street and stop to look at one another, the music stops and the camera seems to focus on the two. This is probably the most important scene in the entire movie and shows us that even two people who had never met before still feel a connection towards each other, this conveys the idea of true love. Though they do not speak to each other but, just the fact that they notice each other’s presence shows that there will always be something between them even if they’re not together. In fact the movie is about more than Evans relationships is more about how Evan decided to change the fate that destiny had in store for everyone into alternate future where everyone is happy.
The Butterfly Effect was a thrilling drama that allows us to see that everything in our lives happens for a reason. The movie uses the “Chaos Theory” in such a literal way to explain that simply stopping a man from abusing his daughter can get you killed. The visual effects artist did a great job conveying the all the different emotions that were going on in and thee music also did a good job of showing us what we were supposed to be feeling whether that should be happy, angry, or sad. This is a great drama to watch if you want to watch something a little different than your typical love story and I would definitely recommended this movie to my friends.