Thursday, 8 December 2011

A Sound of Thunder (Film Review)

A Sound of Thunder is a film which has the audiences leave its screenings asking questions. Questions like I thought this cost $80 million, where did the budget go!?”

The script is full of holes, the plot is clichéd, the acting is bad and the “villain” is a transparent businessman more concerned with money than common sense. What’s more is that while that film makers apparently looted CGI renders from the 1999 serial Walking with Dinosaurs meaning the monsters look like something from the Asylum films. The only indication that it had anywhere near the budget it did was the presence of Ben Kingsley in yet another role he will regret and wearing a bleach-blonde borderline Eraserhead wig. Like the rest of the cast he’s phoning in his performance and seems less animated than the half baked green-screened backgrounds and monsters. Even ignoring these flaws; it displays some of the worst misunderstandings of science I have ever seen on film; which is saying something considering the lack of technobabble.

The real shame is that the story it is based upon is a classic; a short tale written by Ray Bradbury in the 1950s which explored the butterfly effect. It featured tourists going back in time to kill creatures, specifically dinosaurs, just before their deaths in the manner of an African big game hunt. In that tale accidently stepping on a butterfly resulted in a militant president elected and “domestic” changes to the future. Only minor things but it gave a good example of the butterfly effect, how small changes can result in big ones, especially with time travel.

In the film the butterfly is apparently the most important creature in all of history, its death resulting in low quality CGI “time tidal waves” and swarms of monsters which are clearly hybrids of real life ones. Add an incredibly predictable plot given away by the trailers, Messages delivered with the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the point where the film flat out tells you “corporations bad!” less than a minute in, and you know any dignity in the film was left on the cutting room floor.

Yeah, this one is bad, but there is some fun to be found in it.
The first half is spent waiting for the predictable disaster, but once the butterfly is crushed and the real insanity begins it becomes somewhat entertaining. The cast, aka protagonist and cannon fodder, run through a time warping city full of mad hybrids of creatures. It has every cliché the writers can think of and it goes from being a total disaster to being a perversely enjoyable trainwreck.

Don't get me wrong, it never reaches "So Bad It's Good" territory but any film which includes the protagonists fight swarms of bullet resistant “baboonaraptors” is at least trying to do something right.
Watch this one if you want something to riff on over a few beers, otherwise pretend it doesn't even exist.

A Sound of Thunder and all related characters and media are owned by Franchise Pictures.

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