A Sound of Thunder induces the sound of snoring

Watched an incredibly bad science fiction movie on Friday night involving time travel, killer baboon-lizards and Minister of the Environment Rona Ambrose.  This particular film was based on a Ray Bradbury short story of the same name, A Sound of Thunder [PDF].  Now there are some bad movies I can thoroughly enjoy, because they fall into the “so bad it’s good” zone.  There are others, like this film, that are just plain bad in terms of acting, storyline and effects.

The film plays out like an ill-fated hybrid of “Jurassic Park” and “The Butterfly Effect”, set in a future Chicago of 2055 A.D.  Mankind has invented time travel, and at least one company (plus an entirely new agency in the federal bureaucracy) are set to capitalise on it.

kingsley_mcdowellSir Ben Kingsley does his best impression of Malcolm McDowell playing an avaricious entrepreneur with the gift of the gab.  Kingsley’s company sends rich fellas back to the late Jurassic period where they hunt the fearsome Allosaurus fragilis.  Edward Burns plays the good-guy expedition guide / principal scientist who leads the thoroughly uncourageous and basically unlikeable rich guys on their prehistoric hunting safaris, while justifying his involvement by doing bits and pieces of actual research when time and circumstance permits.  The big caveat is that, of course, the hunting safari must not mess with anything in the past lest they inadvertently destroy the present.  So how does one kill a rampaging dinsoaur without affecting the timeline?  Simple—the dinosaur was doomed to die anyway, in the exact spot that they happen to hunt it.


Unfortunately, as things go in these types of movies, one of the obnoxious rich clients does manage to set things awry in the past, and futuristic Chicago is subject to a series of laughable “time waves” which gradually impose their prehistoric changes on its environs.  The first wave brings forth warm weather and prehistoric flora.  The succeeding waves bring forth more menacing fauna, like the baboon-lizard shown above.  Scientist Burns and his team must go back and restore the timeline before their prehistoric blunder threatens to completely erase humanity from the history books.  I don’t know what the big deal is — anybody who has ever been to African Lion Safari knows that even hyper-evolved monkey combat is likely to entail 1) breaking antennas off cars, 2) public urination on same, and 3) flinging their waste byproducts with deadly accuracy.  I’m not so sure they would evolve into something like lizards so much as the simian version of Major League Baseball pitchers.

rooper_ambrose“Good scientist” Burns is joined by a team of expendable extras, including one young lady (Jemima Rooper) who looks like a younger, prettier Rona Ambrose (our present Minister of the Environment).  If Ms. Rooper’s acting career doesn’t work out, she can always apply to be the RCMP’s top-secret stunt double for Minister Ambrose; one never knows when a particularly contentious press briefing will require downing giant prehistoric lizards with rifles sporting frozen nitrogen ammo.

The fellow who really deserves all the opprobrium for this mess is director Peter Hyams, responsible for another time-travelling disasterTimecop, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.  If humanity ever manages to invent time travel, someone please go back and convince this guy not to make these turkeys.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
2 Responses
  1. Anrky says:

    Well at least we know why the movie looked unfinished, it was. The movie was supposed to be released 2 years earlier but the production company went bankrupt.

  2. Chris Taylor says:

    Somehow I doubt it would have been better even if fully finished. =)
    Interestingly there were other marketing tie-ins… the movie got turned into a game for the Nintendo Gameboy Advance handheld. Looks like it might make a decent game even if it was a crappy movie.
    There was also supposed to be a console game ported to the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube (it got cancelled, surprise surprise). It also looks a wee bit more exciting than the movie.