Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


T-Rex and time travelers
A SOUND OF THUNDER (2005). Director: Peter Hyams. Loosely based on a short story by Ray Bradbury.

In  the future Travis Ryer (Edward Burns) works for an outfit that sends wealthy clients back in time to hunt dinosaurs, the animals' slayings timed to occur just before they would have died anyway. This is done to prevent anything screwing with the time stream and affecting the future. Travis meets a lady scientist, Sonia Rand (Catherine McCormack), who claims she not only helped create the time machine and was shut out of enjoying its success, but that Ryer and his associates are endangering the world with their time jumps, on one of which something comes back from the past. This happens because boss Charles Hatton (Sir Ben Kingsley) wants to save money by turning off the energy-using screen that would prevent this. Because of this anomaly, the world is affected by time waves that create new "prehistoric" animals and even begin affecting the human race itself. Can Travis and Sonia manage to set things right in a world beset with dangerous monsters, hysterical humans, and weird sweeping changes to the landscape and everyone else at all the wrong moments ...? A Sound of Thunder has a great idea and is entertaining for the most part, and some scenes are rather well-done (a struggle with a hungry underwater creature, for instance) but there's just something off about the movie. By no means as bad as, say, a Syfy Channel Original, there's still something second-rate about the entire enterprise. Edward Burns, who often makes and stars in smaller personal films, seems uncomfortable in the role of action hero, although Kingsley is more on the mark as slimy Hatton [although you still have to wonder what he's doing in this movie]. McCormack and the other cast members are all professional and then some. The effects are uneven, although there are a host of good-looking futuristic baboon-dinosaurs, and most of the other monsters are at least well-designed. Ultimately the movie isn't terrible, just unconvincing. Hyams has directed better movies, such as Outland and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, and Kingsley has appeared in worse movies, such as Thunderbirds.

Verdict: Interesting disappointment. **1/2.

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