The Butterfly Effect was a movie which took me by surprise. When I first saw it I was disturbed by it but it left me less than satisfied. It was generally panned by the critics but I couldn't understand where a lot of their criticisms were coming from. My only problem with the film was it's ending, which I felt didn't fit the mould of the movie and offered an insult to the audience. Thankfully when it was released to dvd it was in the form of a director's cut. The crap ending was removed with a fitting and potent conclusion replacing it. The result (imo) was a strong and enthralling drama/thriller. Ashton Kutcher cops flach but he can be good when he wants to be. I think he's great in this movie. If you didn't' know, his character grows up experiencing blackouts throughout his youth. These generally happen at crucial moments in his development. As an adult he has overcome the blackouts but suddenly begins to slip back through time to those forgotten moments, revealing ugly truths. Tempted, he begins to change the things which happened which (as all time travel movies prove) alters his future reality. Butterfly Effect is more than an average time travel movie though and I reckon it's well textured. Very cool.
The Butterfly Effect 2 is another direct-to-dvd "cash-in" movie. It's a lame reflection of the first movie with a different set of logics. A guy loses his girlfriend in a car accident and flip-flops through time to try and save her. When he's able to do so he becomes cocky and starts messing with time to enhance his life. Blah Blah Blah... things go wrong and BAM, you have a very average movie.
The Butterfly Effect 3 offers us another leap through time. The good news is that following part two, this is actually good. Returning to the basic rules of the first film (and elaborating on some details) this movie is about a guy who has the ability to jump to specific moments in time. He works for the police by witnessing violent crimes and pin-pointing the perpetrators. The concept is pretty cool and this instalment has a dark and menacing look about it. The murders are grisly and it plays out much more as a horror movie than it is a thriller. It not as good as the first movie but it's a welcome addition (imo) to the (apparent) new franchise.