A SOUND OF THUNDER
|REVIEWS||FEO AMANTE THEATER||SCIENCE MOMENT||SCARY TOP 10||UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT|
I just saw A SOUND OF THUNDER in a theatre. What's that you say? You never heard of it? Me neither until Feo asked me to review it. Most people would consider it a bad sign that a studio has spent essentially no money on advertising but you never know. It was under almost these exact circumstances that I ended up seeing EQUILIBRIUM in the theatre and that was a great movie. Will lightning strike twice?
A SOUND OF THUNDER was directed by Peter Hyams (CAPRICORN ONE, OUTLAND, THE RELIC, END OF DAYS) and written by Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer and Gregory Poirier (GOSSIP and a variety of adult films). The movie is based on a short story by Ray Bradbury (IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, THE HALLOWEEN TREE).
Text on the screen tells us that it's the year 2055 and that Charles Hatton (Ben Kingsley: SPECIES, SUSPECT ZERO, SEXY BEAST) is using the most amazing and dangerous technology ever discovered to make money. In other words in the first couple of seconds of the movie you know the bad guy is going to be a formula evil corporation / billionaire. Not good.
The technology is time travel. Hatton runs Time Safari, Inc. They take rich people 65 million years back in time to hunt dinosaurs. I'm sure you could think of lots of other ways to make money from time travel (involving much shorter jumps and lottery numbers) but whatever. The movie opens with just such an expedition. The hunters and their guides walk on "The Path", a walkway made of light and created by the time travel machine. This keeps them from physically touching anything in the late Cretaceous Era, something they carefully avoid for fear of changing history.
But doesn't shooting a T-Rex change history? You'd think so, but they actually choose a dinosaur that is moments away from death anyway due to a nearby volcanic eruption.
The hunt goes well but the after party is interrupted by an angry woman who sprays blood on everyone before security drags her out. No, she's not one of those annoying PETA hypocrites. She's Sonia Rand (Catherine McCormack: THE TAILOR OF PANAMA, SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE), the uncredited inventor of the time travel machine. She is pursued by Time Safari chief scientist Travis Ryer (Edward Burns: SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) who wants to know what the problem is. Sonia tells him she's certain that the greedy Mr. Hatton is being reckless with her invention and will eventually change history in some disastrous way.
Nonsense says Travis. There's a new government agency specifically to regulate time travel. A bureaucrat from said agency is always there for every mission, making sure everything is okay.
Sonia doesn't take that reassurance very well and Travis begins having doubts. But they press on with the next dino hunting mission where, of course, something goes wrong.
Sounds pretty cool so far, right? Under the right circumstances it certainly could have been. But in this case dear Jesus in Heaven did it SUCK! Bad acting, truly bad special effects and really, truly boring stretches made sitting through this movie a genuine ordeal. If I had to choose between seeing this dog again and unanesthetized dental surgery... ok, I'd watch the movie because the dental thing would really hurt, but I'd have to think about it. Damn, it was bad.
Which leads me to a
!!!BAD SCIENCE MOMENT!!!: I could write a book about everything this movie got wrong. It's almost an anti-science lesson. Virtually every time a character opens their mouth and says something even remotely scientific it's not just wrong - it's way wrong. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is completely misstated, the many mentions of evolution don't even come close and their descriptions of the rules of time travel within the movie are contradictory.
A few examples:
There are lots of other annoyances besides the science. The movie makers were clearly in love with their cgi futuristic cityscape and way over used it in bad green screen scenes. I could go one but I think you get the idea. A SOUND OF THUNDER is an embarrassment to Ray Bradbury's fine name. I give it one shriek girl.
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