You know how there are some time travel stories where you can go in the past and see yourself, and others where you can't? Or how there are some time travel stories where if you change the past, nobody back in the future remembers how the world used to be, and others where they do remember? A Sound of Thunder
tries to be all of those at the same time, contradictions be damned.
Now, as someone who actually studied the logistics and philosophy of theoretical time travel in a college course, I'm more in-tune with the intricacies of time travel stories than most people are. I'm also a massive dork. But anyone, anyone at all - even someone who has never heard of time travel before - would see how fucked up this movie's time travel rule book is and feel insulted by the insinuation that they're supposed to buy into it. And then they'd feel insulted by every other aspect of this horrible film as well.
The plot of the original short story "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury is simple: man goes back in time, accidentally kills a butterfly, changes the future into something horrible and must prevent himself from making the changes he did. The movie A Sound of Thunder
complicates this so unnecessarily that one cannot call the script "lazy". You have to work at it to produce something this convoluted and yet so dumb.
Travis Ryer (Ed Burns) is a scientist who works for Ben Kingsley's Toupee (Ben Kingsley's Toupee) at a futuristic facility that takes rich white folk on trips back in time to hunt Allosaurus' while Travis collects DNA samples from local creatures in hopes of bringing back Earth's animal population, which went completely extinct following a virus called, get this, "THE VIRUS". The rich folk have fun, Travis gets his research and everyone is happy. The Allosaurus has been very carefully chosen: they go to a moment when it's about to die anyway (a volcano is shortly to erupt nearby), so they're hunting it does not effect the timeline. Also, there's a designated path the hunting party must stay on to make sure they don't step on anything in the natural habitat.
On one trip the guns malfunction and, in a moment of panic, a client accidentally steps on a butterfly and kills it. When the group returns to the future, gigantic TIME WAVES (echo) begin running over the world, changing the timeline. It begins with the simplest things - the climate, plants, bugs - but soon the waves will begin changing the higher-evolved organisms - namely, humans. Before that happens, Travis and Sonia Rand (Catherine McCormack) - a disgruntled former employee of Ben Kingsley's Toupee who just knew
this would happen - must change the past to save the future.
Now, their plan is to send Travis back to that last hunting trip to warn himself about what will happen. Problem is this: every hunting trip goes to the exact same moment in time (we see three such trips) yet never run into each other because that's just how time travel works. Until they change it so Travis has some way to fix things. Inconsistency number one. Inconsistency number two is this: after the TIME WAVES begin, the world is changed to being practically prehistoric because evolution happened differently. OK, but why does everyone remember how it used to be if the entire history of EARTH is now different? And why, at the same time, are they used to living like this like things have always been this way? Which is it, guys?
Also, if it's OK to kill the dinosaur before the eruption does, why is it so bad to kill the butterfly? It would have died anyway, too. Inconsistency numero tres. Three strikes and you suck.
This distracted me so badly I needed to pause the movie just so I could think for a while. I couldn't work it out, decided they just didn't care when they made this, and gave up on that. But then I went back to watching the movie, and now I was able to see all the other issues it has. The special effects are awful. These are sub-N64 graphics they've concocted. Everything looks fake: the monsters, the CGI cityscape, the CGI cars. Everything. And the actors aren't even blended in well; they have gigantic borders around them that make them look like cardboard cut-outs being pushed around in front of a matte painting from hell. I thought "Well, maybe it's a low-budget kind of thing".
Well, no. They had Eighty million dollars to work with. Apparently it all went into maintaining Ben Kingsley's Toupee which, admittedly, is immaculate.
And then there's the acting. Ben Kingsley's Toupee hams it up because he could plainly see what kind of movie he was in and decided to just have fun with it. Everyone else is as wooden as the forest. Ed Burns is comatose and the rest of the obscure, possibly unheard-of cast is bored. Not that I blame them, 'cause I was too.
So A Sound of Thunder
plods along. Evolution changes to give us monsters to run from. Yawn. The TIME WAVES are blocking the time travel portals, so we have to use the risky, possibly-lethal, untested time travel protocol instead. Meh. Travis saves the day. Duh. A Sound of Thunder
slogs through these plot points so lifelessly that you couldn't possibly care. Once you've given up on working out the philosophical implications of this mess, there's nothing to hold your interest. But I used every ounce of my being to stay strong and get to the end, just to save y'all the trouble of seeing this.
And then the end totally fucking sucked.
This Sound of Thunder sounds eerily like a turd hitting the toilet bowl. It's Some Ole Bullshit, alright.