A Sound of Thunder (film)
|A Sound of Thunder|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Hyams|
|Based on||A Sound of Thunder|
by Ray Bradbury
|Music by||Nick Glennie-Smith|
|Edited by||Sylvie Landra|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures (United States)|
Bioscop (Czech Republic)
|Box office||$11.7 million|
A Sound of Thunder is a 2005 Czech-American science fiction thriller film directed by Peter Hyams and starring Edward Burns, Catherine McCormack and Ben Kingsley. It is a co-production film between the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
The film is based on the short story of the same name by Ray Bradbury. It is about "time tourists" who accidentally interfere too much with the past, completely altering the present. It failed at the box office, earning $11 million against a production budget of $80 million. It received negative reviews from critics.
In the year 2055, the Chicago-based Time Safari company offers the permission for rich people to hunt dinosaurs in the past via time travel technology. As a precaution against the potential change of the past, the company preys only on the dinosaurs who would otherwise die of natural causes and keeps the clients from stepping off the designated path. Because of the dangers of interfering with the timeline, the company's activities are vocally criticized by Sonia Rand, the developer of the time machine software "TAMI", who feels disappointed for not receiving credit during her work and is worried that some clients may alter the past through their activities.
A trip with clients Eckels and Middleton goes afoul when the gun carried by team leader Travis Ryer fails to go off. The dinosaur, an Allosaurus, rushes the group, scattering the clients. Ryer is able to kill the dinosaur and afterwards, regroups the clients and returns to 2055 without further harm. The next day, however, Members of Time Safari including CEO Charles Hatton hear reports of global increases in temperature and humidity, and Ryer observes a sudden increase in plant life. On their next trip, Ryer and a new group of clients find that the Allosaurus he and the team intend to hunt is already dead and the volcano erupts much sooner. The team quickly returns and reports the changes, causing the government to shut down Time Safari for an investigation. Ryer learns from Rand that Chicago is being struck by "time waves" that cause drastic alterations to the city as they pass due to something that happened on a previous expedition. Ryer and Rand narrowly escape a building after a time wave causes the appearance of thousands of beetles and a tree bursting through its structure. Rand warns that more time waves can be expected, and each will affect more advanced life forms, people being the last.
Ryer and Rand return to Time Safari to try to fix what has gone wrong along with the government. Unfortunately, another time wave strikes that leaves the city without power and now covered by dense vegetation. Evaluating the machine's logs, they find that the Eckels/Middleton expedition had come back a few grams heavier and that the bio-filter was turned off and recognize that they can use the time machine to go back to intercept their past selves so as to prevent whatever happened, but will only have a few seconds to act, and so must work to figure out who they need to stop. The Time Safari finds their equipment and gear free of anything, so Ryer and Rand lead a group through the city - now filled with evolved and deadly hybrids and other new hazards that kill some of their party members in order to find Eckels and Middleton. Eckels is safe but asserts he remained on the path, while Middleton, poisoned by the new wildlife, commits suicide before they can stop him. However, they are able to find a dead butterfly on the sole of the suit he used for the safari. The party makes it back to Time Safari after more time waves hit, now finding the time machine partially underwater and unusable. Rand obtains the hard drive containing the TAMI software with plans to use it with the nearby university's particle accelerator as a substitute time machine.
With Ryer and Rand as the only two survivors, they finally make it to the university, Rand noted that the appearance of simian-like Babboonlizards from the latest time wave means the next one will wipe away humanity. Rand prepares the accelerator and stays behind while Ryer goes through the time portal, just as the last time wave hits turning Rand into a humanoid catfish-like creature. Ryer catches up to the previous expedition, catches Middleton to prevent him stepping on the butterfly, tells team member Jenny that the bio-filter is off at the same time asking her to give his earlier self a recording of the events he has witnessed. The expedition returns without incident to the future they had left and Ryer shares the footage with Rand, presumably use it to bring down Time Safari, and make sure nothing like this ever happens.
- Catherine McCormack as Sonia Rand
- Edward Burns as Travis Ryer
- David Oyelowo as Marcus Payne
- Ben Kingsley as Charles Hatton
- Jemima Rooper as Jenny Krase
- Wilfried Hochholdinger as Dr. Lucas
- August Zirner as Clay Derris
- Corey Johnson as Christian Middleton
- Heike Makatsch as Alicia Wallenbeck
- Armin Rohde as John Wallenbeck
- William Armstrong as Ted Eckels
The film, announced in 2001, was originally going to be directed by Renny Harlin, star Pierce Brosnan in the main role, and be shot in Montreal. Harlin was fired over a disagreement with Ray Bradbury. Brosnan left the project as well and was replaced by Edward Burns.
After Franchise Pictures went bankrupt during post-production, the remaining backers provided only $30 million to work with, out of the $80 million originally allocated. Previsualization software was used.
A video game based on the film was released for the Game Boy Advance. It had been considerably delayed, and debuted slightly before the film opened, in March 2005. It was an overhead shooter game with driving stages, and support for co-op and death-match multiplayer via link cable.
The film was panned by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 6% score based on 98 reviews, with an average rating of 2.8/10. The site's consensus states: "Choppy logic and uneven performances are overshadowed by not-so-special effects that makes the suspension of disbelief a nearly impossible task." Common criticisms against the film included its poor special effects, uninvolved performances, scientific errors and Ben Kingsley's hair.
The Boston Globe stated "The combination of awful special effects and mediocre acting created this catastrophe," and it included the film in its list of "Box Office Bombs". Roger Ebert stated that while he "cannot endorse it, [he] can appreciate it" as a film that is bad because it "want[s] so much to be terrific that [it] explode[s] under the strain."
Due to negative reviews and lack of promotion, the production grossed only $1,900,451 in the United States and $9,765,014 elsewhere for a worldwide total of $11,665,465.
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- A Sound of Thunder – Movie – Review – The New York Times
- A Sound of Thunder Movie Review, DVD Release – Filmcritic.com Archived August 2, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- MovieJuice: A Sound of Thunder
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- Ebert, Roger (February 5, 2013). Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2007. Andrews McMeel Publishing. pp. 648–. ISBN 9780740792199. Retrieved November 22, 2015.