A Sound of Thunder

I love the sci-fi story A Sound of Thunder. It's one that I always remember, but for some reason I tend to forget the name of. So when I began watching this movie, I was intrigued that it had the same general premise, and wanted to see how it would play out in the movie.

It's a sad indication of how poorly the movie was done that I had to look up afterwards to see if it was actually based on the story by Ray Bradbury. The original story is brilliant. This movie has so many holes in it that it was painful to watch.

The premise of the story is that, in our future, a time machine has been developed. The owners of the machine understand very well the huge dangers involved in changing our past. A small change can create large effects later on. Let's say a small boy is about to fall off a cliff but he manages to grab onto a vine to save himself. The boy later becomes the leader of a great nation and is able to fend off an invading army. Without that leader, the nation would have been overwhelmed. Without that vine, the boy wouldn't have grown to be the leader. So without the vine, massive political changes occur.

This has been explored and re-explored in many stories. It's a very interesting theme which makes up the basis of many college classes. You can't credit this movie with being new in any way. Even so, if they had *just* told that sort of a story, I would have enjoyed it. Great drama with great acting can make even basic love stories seem fresh and compelling.

Unfortunately, the movie doesn't get anything at all right. First, the acting. Beautiful acting can elevate a simple boy-meets-girl story to a true classic. Horrible acting can destroy the finest plotline. This acting was really bad. There is little emotion or empathy here for any of the characters. You know they're all going to die off one by one. It is very clearly telegraphed. The dialogue can almost be recited for the characters.

How about the environment? Sometimes a gorgeous environment can make a movie. Unfortunately the CGI effects here are ATROCIOUS. It literally looks like the actors are walking along a broken treadmill that starts and stutters, while a cheap blue screen behind them shows some awful "futuristic computer generated images". We literally laughed out loud in some scenes at how horribly it looked.

I do admit the babboon-monkey-lizard-bats were an intriguing twist. Maybe the one saving grace of the entire film.

But what really sent me over the edge was the sheer inanity of the plot itself. Time ripples?? If a change was made in the past, it would change. Period. The people would come forward and their world would be "different". Maybe all the plants would be blue instead of green. Maybe there would be flying monkeys zipping around in the air rather than birds. But plants wouldn't suddenly "appear" in structures!! That makes no sense at all. If there really WERE going to be time ripples, then the "whole of time" would change along with that ripple. That is, before a ripple passed through, the plants would all be green. After the ripple passed through, the plants would all be blue. But they wouldn't "appear" in the middle of a house. That just doesn't make sense. Why would a house that has been there say 100 years now have a plant in it?

They could have done a really great story - even with the ripples - by having sequential changes happening to the world that do give a sense that they had evolved that way. So with one ripple all the cars could go from square designs to octagonal designs; all the homes could go from art deco to colonial style. But to have everything stay the same except "plants are growing inside buildings" is simply silly.

If they couldn't get that major issue right, it's no surprise that numerous other minor issues are completely wrong too. This high tech sci-fi facility lets the visitors take all their gear home with them?? They don't have a recorder on each member of the team to watch what they are doing? They don't have equipment attached to them with bungee cords? The list goes on and on.

There was really huge potential here to make a sci-fi classic that was one of the best ever. The base story is really good. But not only did they make this into a silly camp movie, but they made it into an AWFUL silly camp movie. I really do hope they re-make this some day in the future to show what it could have been.

Rating: 1/5

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