A Sound of Thunder (2005) Peter Hyams
Production Budget: $52 million
Worldwide Gross: about $6 million
There are bombs that totally deserve their status and others that sadly fall through the cracks. A Sound of Thunder is a movie that deserves to be talked about with other time travel movies like Primer. This is an awe inspiring movie that sits along with Sorcerer as my greatest finds while doing this thread. Sir Ben Kingsley has finally redeemed himself after the long list of failures recently…
*sigh* I can’t keep up this joke. This movie is f*cking clown shoes. Ah, a Sound of Thunder, how bad do you suck? Let me count the ways.
I am going to pick apart this movie piece by piece in my usual fashion. I might as well start with my biggest beef with this movie. The special effects are some of the worst I have seen in two decades. I am not someone who uses over generalizations or throws out lines like this on a whim. These special effects freaking blow. How do I explain the effects in a way you can understand without showing you? Um, okay, picture an FMV game from FMV hell. That is this movie. This is like a feature length version of Under a Killing Moon or Phantasmagoria or Ripper. You have characters walking down what is supposed to be the street. What they are actually doing is walking against the most obvious green screen with poorly rendered environments around them and really lame blocky car simulations driving next to them. Words cannot describe the sh*ttiness of when characters are walking by a CGI jewelry store where there is only one poorly rendered necklace in the window and the window itself looks like something in the VR world of LAWNMOWER MAN!
Now you might think “Well, that is only to be the backdrop the futuristic world. Its not meant for the real special effects of the movie.” Well you would be WRONG!!! This is an effects driven movie. I’ll say that again, this is an effects driven disaster movie where the special effects look ripped from a PS1. And later on we get scenes of dinosaurs attacking and volcanoes exploding and world shattering shenanigans and they are pathetic. Why is it Jurassic Park, a movie made 12 years prior to this movie (well more like 9 years for the time it spent on the shelf) has special effects that are still great to this day, but A Sound of Thunder blows chunks. And its not because of the money because this movie’s budget is nearly the same as that of Jurassic Park.
Now the acting. I have officially given up on trying to figure out what the f*ck is the matter with Ben Kingsley. I honestly don’t think a man can sink any lower with the possible exception of Cuba Gooding Jr. What is one of the funniest parts of the movie is how they made Ben wear this snow white Bob Barker hair-met hairpiece. It is so goddamn ridiculous I almost expected to hear him talk about spaying and neutering your cats. Why? Why did they need to put that on his head? Does it really contribute to anything to his character? You know what Hollywood? Ben Kingsley is bald. Deal with it. And by the very same token, Billy Zane is freaking bald too. Stop putting clown wigs on these people and expecting us to buy it. I buy dinosaurs riding pogo sticks before I believe Ben Kingsley woke up in the morning, went to Hair Club for men and said “Gimme the Doc Brown and some hair gel!” Where was I? Oh yeah the acting. Um, Catherine MacCormick joins a long list of Euro actresses who bombed out making it in American cinema. And Edward Burns: god I feel sorry for you too. You know, I actually find this guy to be a charismatic little character actor. Is he great? No, but he deserves better than this.
The story. The story is crap. Now, this was made with a lot of feedback with the original author Ray Bradbury. I would argue that, along with War of the Worlds, A Sound of Thunder is a story that cannot be told in its original format anymore. It needs to be adapted and modified for our new era. The story is no longer fresh or novel anymore. I’m sorry but after 60 years of movies, books, tv shows, and comics that deal with the issue of the problems with time travel, you cannot make a movie about the follies of time travel and still be relevant anymore. We all get it now: don’t alter the past or you will irrevocably f*ck up the future. What is also unbelievable from a storytelling point of view is the fact that no character in the movie seems to have seen any time travel movies or read any books on the subject. I’m sorry, this is set in 2055, and we are to believe we are all so naive and ignorant about temporal physics?
Again, I am getting sidetracked. The story is about this entrepreneur who invents time travel and uses it to make money instead of scientific advancement. And what is his get rich scheme? He sends millionaires in the past to hunt dinosaurs on a time travel safari. Not investing in something or inventing something…time travel safaris. *sigh* Okay. So anyway things inevitably goes tits up and the future (or present) is being slowly changed to some even weirder version of Land of the Lost. Of course I wouldn’t leave out the most hilarious part. There are half gorilla/half dinosaurs that scream like women and sleep upside down in caves like bats. I swear I wish I were making that up. And instead of the timeline being changed in one fell swoop, we get comical ripples that fly through that do things like turning Catherine MacCormick into a fish creature and then leave. Of course you get time travel elements like that, when you hire the director of Timecop.
What else? The music? Eh, its typical doodling you would hear on an episode of CSI.
Oh god this movie. This movie is so bad…I need a Rifftrax of this. If there is a movie so terrible in its execution and writing and direction this is the one. Its so bad, its pretty f*cking hilarious. But the bitch of it is, no Rifftrax will ever be made, because I’m the only one stupid enough to see this piece of sh*t. I can’t make fun of a movie by myself! What am I gonna do: make snide comments to my tv screen? I already did that and Spoony looked at me weird. So yeah, a riffable movie with no one to riff with. I think that’s the end of a Twilight Zone. You know the UPN Twilight Zone remake. God that sucked too.