Sound of Thunder
Words cannot begin to describe the emotions that have been
surging through my system since screening A Sound of
Thunder last night. Unfortunately for me, as a writer,
the need to do just that is downright crucial.
often throw around phrases on par with the likes of “worst
ever,” “disaster,” or “waste of
time” with reckless abandon, and having participated
in such practice in the past I must officially retract all
use of said anecdotal euphemisms and lower the bar a few
more pegs to make room for Peter Hyams’ latest “work”
based on a short story by Ray Bradbury.
“film” is simply so bad that it gives new meaning
to the lowest of the lows. In fact, it is unfair to even
associate the finished product with Ray Bradbury.
concept is simple enough. In the year 2055, a man named
Charles Hatton (Ben Kingsley) has found a way to profit
off the greatest scientific advancement of recent discovery:
time travel. He isn’t a scientist, he is an entrepreneur
and tycoon at best, and his foresight in harnessing time
travel and subverting it into a ludicrously profitable safari
industry for the elite has made him richer than one could
hope to imagine.
team is lead by Dr. Travis Ryer (Edward Burns), who seems
renowned enough for clients to know him by name, yet as
to the “how, why, and what for,” we are sadly
left in the dark. Perhaps he is known for his work with
animals, all of which are now extinct due to some disease
or plague that is mentioned “matter of factly”
at some point?
knows? Neither Peter Hyams nor any of the three writers
involved in adapting Bradbury’s short story for the
screen bother to elaborate on this point for whatever reason.
to the “plot,” Ryer’s band of time travelers
specialize in jumping clients back through time to pre-historic
era to a point moments before a dinosaur falls into a tar
pit and dies from natural causes. In doing so, clients are
then allowed to gun down the creature without creating a
paradox, seeing as how the dino was seconds away from death
agency designed specifically to regulate time travel and
help keep practices up to “code” carefully monitors
all of these operations so that no unfortunate mishaps occur.
Clients are instructed not to touch or tamper with anything
during the jump, and they are even helped along by a translucent
pathway that allows them to move along without even stepping
foot on Prehistoric soil.
can see, things eventually go wrong as expected, and the
setup of Bradbury’s future world would seem ripe for
social commentary. Unfortunately for us, Hyams is at the
helm, and anyone familiar with his work can see where this
is going. 2010 anyone?
film looks like what Sky
Captain and the World of Tomorrow should have looked
like. Say what you will about that vehicle, it was homegrown
with a DIY aesthetic, and damn did it look good. Better
than one would have imagined. A Sound of Thunder,
however, does not fare so favorably.
film looks like it was made on a no-budget means, and when
saying “no-budget” this isn’t to imply
the Robert Rodriguez use of the term. No, I’ve seen
animation projects and green screen work done more convincingly
by people still in film and animation school, and this is
no slight to them. Hyams' direction is absolutely abysmal,
with or without the effects trouble. Wide shots are used
when moments of intimacy call for close-ups. Close ups are
used when exposition and clarification are practically begged
for. There is absolutely no clear methodology at work here
whatsoever, and the makes something like Larry Clark’s
Teenage Caveman look canonical.
film is a flat out embarrassment for paying audiences, for
Edward Burns (although this isn’t saying much), and
for Ben Kingsley of all people. House of Sand and Fog
got him an Oscar nomination people…an OSCAR NOMINATION.
That film was only released three years ago!
even Thunderbirds was an acceptable diversion;
this is just plain nonsensical.
of all of those mentioned, Warner Brothers has got to be
burrowing its collective head in the sand with this one.
Someone has to be losing work over this travesty. How this
film was green lit remains somewhat a mystery, but wretched
films go into production and get shelved (or released direct
to video) all the time. What is even more perplexing is
questioning which Warner exec screened this mess and deemed
it worthy of distribution theatrically?
week, our beloved Editor offered yours truly first pick:
screen A Sound of Thunder or screen Transporter
2. Not knowing much about the former, a quick scan
of said film’s IMDB.com page revealed the notable
Kingsley and sometimes-enjoyable Burns in starring roles.
The name of Bradbury helped as well.
on this information, I felt my choice was clear, seeing
as how anything with Kingsley in it has to be better than
another Jason Statham film, right?
I was wrong.