Butterfly Crush is an unfortunate victim of being an ambitious idea weighed down with extremely limited resources. The premise is thus: Butterfly Crush are a pop duo out of Australia, competing in the Australasian Song Awards. Half of the duo, Eve (Hayley Fielding), has recently fallen in with a cult called the Dreamguides and, as she falls deeper under their thrall, her partner, Moana (Courtney Hale), rebels in the other direction. Will the duo stay together? Does the cult have sinister plans? What will become of Butterfly Crush!?!
There are a lot of neat ideas running throughout the film, and the idea of a young pop duo getting set upon by a manipulative cult trying to enlighten and, ultimately, manage the band is not that strange a notion. The main problem here is that the film is too big in scope for what it is able to pull off on screen. Some examples: Butterfly Crush have a press conference… made up of three or four people in a tiny room. They perform on the street and a “riot” breaks out… but said riot only seemed to contain, at most, six or seven people. Butterfly Crush have no backing band, set design or lighting; it’s just the two of them dancing and singing, but because the camera stays wide for most of their performances, it looks less like a popular pop group and more like two people jumping around in an empty space.
There are also a number of plot issues, such as Moana’s romantic interest in one of the cult followers, Matt (Richard Adams), considering he spends the majority of the movie trying to entrap her into the cult. Why she maintains her interest is beyond me. Also the entire notion of the Australasian Song Awards seems off: in order to qualify, the duo must agree to certain promotional engagements, like TV interviews and press conferences… but then they have to perform too? It seems less like a prestigious award ceremony and more like a talent contest. And maybe that’s precisely what it is, but if that’s the case, then there’s no reason for a cult to be fighting over controlling an unknown, unpopular pop group.
Again, the film has a number of interesting ideas but the execution is severely lacking in almost every way it can (I’m not even going to touch on the virtual relationship segments of the film). Some of it is performance, some of it is composition and some of it is questionable story logic but, overall, the film does not elevate its resources to match its ambition. Which is a tall order for any film, but there are ways to cheat to give the illusion of grandeur to match, and Butterfly Crush doesn’t even get close.
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