Sound of Thunder, Made by Idiots and Signifying Nothing

by Alan Rapp on September 5, 2005

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: A Sound of Thunder
  • IMDB: link

a-sound-of-thunder-posterAside from possibly being the worst adapted sci-fi project ever, this is the longest 100 minute movie I have ever been forced to sit through.  Now I was pissed at Spielberg’s screwed up vision of Minority Report but even that becomes almost watch able compared to this reject.  It’s not just that it is so bad mind you, and it’s terrible by the way, it’s the mind boggling way in which the story is run into the ground through such staggering ineptitude.

It’s obvious that millions of dollars were spent, but my question is where did it all go?  The special effects look like they were done using early 80’s technology and the tone of the movie strays through every genre without getting a single one right for even an instant.  It’s quite a shame because the premise of the story, based of a Ray Bradbury short story of the same name, is actually quite interesting.  Sadly though they gave the rights to this group of hacks and the results are stunningly bad.

The set up is promising.  In the year 2055 Charles Hatton (Ben Kingsley) owns Time Safari Inc., a corporation that invites people the opportunity to journey 65 million years into the past to hunt dinosaurs.  Perspective customers pay large sums to travel through time with a team led by scientist and big game hunter Travis Ryer (Edward Burns).  The opportunity to change the timeline and change the flow of evolution means there are several rules the group must follow.  The number one rule is to not change anything.  They choose the dinosaur specifically based on research and kill him just before he was scheduled to die.  The group is not allowed to move off the time bridge or interact with the environment.  Any subtle change could have catastrophic changes to the future.  Of course something goes wrong on one of these trips and when the team returns to the future they find that reality is slowly changing due to a series of time waves that bring about the new reality that was caused by their presence in the past.

Let me start with what works since it’s a short list.  The time travel and the time bridge are well done and are visually interesting.  The evolved creatures our group finds which are not named but I’ll call Dino-apes are interesting visually even if there is not much thought into their characters.  The premise is actually quite good and we can see how such a technology would be usurped for profit rather than honest research.

The special effects were done by a series of different companies and hardly any of them work.  The blue screens used are especially aggravating in scenes where the characters walk through the streets of the future.  There is no perspective at all and you can clearly tell the difference between the set and the projected images behind them.  Although I liked the time shift effects, the machine itself leaves much to be desired.  The time coaster looks like it was pieced together with leftover parts from Six Flags.

As most of the characters are scientists you’d expect them to be presented as intelligent.  Um….nope, sorry not in this world.  In fact the scientist make horrible boneheaded decisions one after the other.  They actually purposefully choose to put themselves in mortal danger several times rather than take a safer path that is always open for no other reason than the script calls for them to do so.  It’s truly a wonder that any one of these people actually made it through puberty.  In another strange twist the crazy woman (Catherine McCormack) who breaks into the building and throws blood on the group is also a scientist, yet somehow she’s the sane one.  I won’t even get started on Burn’s hunter/scientist/pacifist/killer character.  That’s the kind of logic were given here.

Another logical problem is we see two groups go back in the past at different times, but each somehow hunts and kills the same dinosaur at the same time in the same spot, yet they don’t run into each other.  A third group even shows up at the same time and location expecting to kill the same dinosaur later in the movie.  Perhaps the effects budget didn’t allow for two different prehistoric scenes to be created.  Whatever the case it’s very peculiar, especially when the characters come up with the idea to go back into the past and interact and stop the previous group from changing history.  A little consistency would have been nice.

If someone offers you a free ticket to this movie threaten to kill them; they aren’t your friends.  This inept, sophomoric, ill conceived, poorly executed, makes Paulie Shore movies look good by comparison, pseudo science fiction film is a waste of time, money, but sadly not much effort.  Stay away!

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