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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.44%
Worth A Look: 2.44%
Average: 19.51%
Pretty Bad: 2.44%
Total Crap73.17%

5 reviews, 11 user ratings

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Sound of Thunder, A
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by Erik Childress

"The Sound Of A Thousand Science-Fiction Writers Weeping"
1 stars

Do you ever wonder how often members of a studio get together and actually get embarrassed when watching their product? Most of us genuinely believe that the heads of studios and their lackeys don’t have a creative backbone in their bodies and probably get confused and bewildered more often by works of art they have no clue how to market. But to get outright embarrassed and for us to completely understand that embarrassment takes a special kind of junk. There are films that are disasters that you can market. The year-and-a-half delayed A Sound of Thunder isn’t a disaster in that its ambition never rises beyond Saturday matinee material. When you hear the rank-and-file laugh and laugh often at the special effects before they can register their boredom, you will understand what I mean by “special.”

Based on the Ray Bradbury short story which predated Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, (but not H.G. Wells), time travel has been invented and government-regulated not for scientific research but for safari in 2055. That’s what has been done with the technology of a lifetime by the wealthy Charles Hatton (Ben Kingsley, looking like Exeter in This Island Earth). Travis Ryer (Edward Burns) goes along as the leader of the hunts in the hopes of extracting enough digital DNA (or some nonsense) to repopulate the planet’s wildlife after hunters raided all the zoos and “the virus” took care of the rest in 2017. Beautiful hippie scientist, Sonia Rand (Catherine McCormack), who also invented the time machine warns them of the consequences of messing with history. Why do they always do that AFTER they invent the means?

Sure enough on one of the jumps, somebody screws up and begins causing a “ripple effect” on the universe which for lame man’s purposes mucks with evolution and turns our time into a giant jungle, or at least the final act to My Science Project. From here our wayward heroes must make it through the darkened shrubberies with flashlights and avoid Gorillasauruses and Anaconda Fish to save Chicago from an everlasting blue screen.

It’s bad, people. Real bad. The kind of bad that can only be appreciated by those who have seen the “faithful” three-hour straight-to-video adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. (No, not the Spielberg version.) When the visual effects artists presented director Peter Hyams with the shots of characters walking through the futuristic streets of Chi-town, he should have immediately called for interior reshoots. Anything that would have spared us from Edward Burns and Co. walking on a treadmill towards the screen when hundreds of Honda Hummers go bumper-to-bumper down Michigan Ave. There’s more depth of field to a View Master than there are to these shots. But it doesn’t stop there. The dinosaur effects are stuck in their time warp where they missed the evolution from Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend to Roger Corman’s Carnosaur. The ripple effects at first look like the tidal wave footage from The Abyss (in the storyboard phase) and will only be dismissed by Windy City patrons as a natural change in the weather.

The fundamental physical and philosophical principles of time travel suggest that you change one thing, you change everything. Therefore the company has its share of rules on the dinosaur hunts such as never leaving anything behind, never bringing anything back and most importantly, never stray from the path. They have also pre-timed their jumps to only kill creatures which are soon destined for demise anyway. Stay with me here. So what you have is a bunch of rich fat cats paying exorbitant amounts of money to stare down a dinosaur and kill it, all within a five-minute time span with laser weapons which can’t be fired until the trusty Ed Burns fires first. Considering the only time jump we see consists of the same scenario involving a T-Rex and an impending volcano, there doesn’t seem to be much opportunity for repeat business. And, correct me if I haven’t studied the Zemeckis Trilogy enough, but how can they continually keep shooting down the same dinosaur? As proven later in the film, they have become a part of that history. So why aren’t they bumping into one another on the subsequent jump which causes the ’55 Ripple Bloc? Why am I even asking?

Peter Hyams did justice to the city of Chicago in 1986’s Running Scared and an inescapable injustice now to whatever remnants of his directorial career we could still cling to after duds like The Musketeer, End of Days and the Van Damme double feature of Timecop and Sudden Death. With foreign investor Elie Samaha and his Franchise Pictures (the geniuses behind FearDotCom, Battlefield Earth and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever) giving the filmmakers carte blanche in Prague, it would have been nice to have splurged a little on the film stock since most of the film looked shredded through a Dogma 95 lens. I would advocate the inevitable suggestion that time travel be invented so we could stop this film from ever being made, but with it, like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle suggests, could cause more harm then good. At least we had all of the ineptitude being piled into one single project. Imagine the damage they could have done spread off into multiple ones. God knows how many Uwe Boll productions we could have had by 2005.

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originally posted: 09/02/05 14:02:46
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User Comments

7/24/10 Salmiakki We have never laughed so much in--no, at--a scifi film before. 1 stars
7/09/10 art NUT"S TO THIS movie! 1 stars
8/22/07 steve newman What a load of bollocks - bollocks, bollocks, bollocks, bollocks, bollocks 1 stars
5/28/06 Jeff Anderson Although Burns is OK, this film is horrible. The bad CGI is the least of the problems!! 1 stars
5/25/06 AntBee I didn't choose to see this, was forced to by my partner. I wish I could beat his ass! 1 stars
3/15/06 Shannon Robles this movie is so bad its good! 3 stars
3/14/06 Donny This is the sort of campy B movie the Sci-fi channel wants to make. 4 stars
10/02/05 ES Wow! A surprisingly good movie, a treat considering movies lately 5 stars
9/22/05 Fritz So rife for MSTing, I must recommend. 3 stars
9/06/05 Hilary Duff's Panties You'd think a movie with Gorillasaurs in it wouldn't suck, but... 1 stars
9/03/05 yomomma i've seen far worse but this is pretty craptacular... 2 stars
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  02-Sep-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 28-Mar-2006



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