The story about A Sound of Thunder, a modern and intriguing science fiction movie featuring time travel is a strange one. We will get into but before we do that, I just want to say something. A Sound of Thunder may be a flawed movie but it’s certainly worth watching. The cheesy special effects are simply adorable and the main story engaging. Something that should not come as a surprise since it’s based on a short story of the same name written by the master of science fiction himself, Ray Bradbury. Are you, by any chance, familiar with the term Butterfly Effect?
The original novel is the source of this concept. And it also served as an inspiration for The Butterfly Effect, a movie that came out just a year prior to this one. A Sound of Thunder follows a group of time travelers who accidentally set off a chain of cataclysmic effects. This was supposed to be a huge blockbuster, with Renny Harlin directing and Pierce Bronson starring. However, Harlin and Bradbury didn’t get along so he was fired and replaced with Peter Hyams. He’s the guy behind one of the better science fiction movies of the seventies Capricorn One. You probably know him as the director of such nineties hits as The Relic, End of Days, and Timecop.
As you can notice, he specializes in this easily digestible and entertaining action/science fiction movies. If you want something more serious, do check out Outland starring Sean Connery. It features a weird but highly effective combination of science fiction and western genres taking place aboard a giant space station. After Harlin left, Bronson did the same, downsizing the vision for the project. And then Franchise Pictures went bankrupt in the middle of the post-production process.
A process that’s incredibly important for a science fiction movie banking on cool visuals. And the regular production was also quite troublesome. Huge 2002 floods in Czech Republic nearly destroyed the set. Oh yeah, A Sound of Thunder was supposed to be released in 2003. Long story short, they eventually managed to finish the movie and the results aren’t half-bad. Sure, there are a few issues but they certainly do not warrant an IMDb score of 4.
It is the year of our Lord Satan 2055 and time travel is something relatively common. Well, relatively common for people who can afford it. A company called Time Safari offers their customers a unique experience: they can travel back in time and kill a dinosaur! There had no issues so far but this time will be different. This time, something will happen and that something will change everything.
Edward Burns did a great job as the lead along with dependable Ben Kingsley. Of course, the reason why A Sound of Thunder didn’t do so well was the execution of such an intriguing story. The characters are stereotypical, the script cheesy and predictable and the atmosphere is not as exciting as it should be. However, if you’re a fan of science fiction, you’ll be able to look past these mistakes and into the heart of this story. And that heart is ticking strong and loud.
Actually, it’s the overall cheesiness of A Sound of Thunder which makes it so fun. It’s like you’re watching a parody of a movie that was supposed to be this movie if you catch my drift. They didn’t take themselves too seriously and neither should you. We’re not at Supernova levels but what can you do?
Director: Peter Hyams
Writers: Ray Bradbury, Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer
Cast: Edward Burns. Ben Kingsley, Jemima Rooper
Fun Stuff: The T.A.M.I. acronym stands for “Time Alteration Manipulator Interface”.