“We can’t have accidents”: ‘A Sound of Thunder’ Review

Posted in The Screening Room by - April 17, 2017
“We can’t have accidents”: ‘A Sound of Thunder’ Review

Ray Bradbury is one of the great minds in science fiction; a true pioneer that revolutionized concepts that we still talk about to this day. When most people think of Bradbury they think of Fahrenheit 451 his acclaimed futuristic novel about a dystopian society that is intent on getting rid of books but his short story “A Sound of Thunder” is also one of his most popular ones. Sadly A Sound of Thunder, the film adaptation directed by Peter Hyams, is a truly forgettable and awful experience that has some of the worst special effects of any big budget motion picture in recent memory.

Bradbury’s short story deals with the consequences of altering the present via changing something in the past and how those ripples in time are spread across generations. Hyams’ film, however, extends that premise in whole unnecessary ways by adding ridiculous subplots dealing with some of the main characters. There’s something wonderfully simple and effective about Bradbury’s short story but also something truly thought-provoking about the nature of chaos, free will and how technology is able to affect our history by literally altering it in ways that are life changing.

A Sound of Thunder has an incredibly exciting and great concept but sadly it’s brought down by unremarkable craftsmanship. Hyams is known for directing films like Capricorn One and 2010 (which is certainly not an easy act to follow), so he has a background of dealing with special effects which is why it’s absolutely baffling when it comes for the effects in A Sound of Thunder to show up and they’re truly terrible. A Sound of Thunder doesn’t have bad effects it has embarrassing effects that look like they were rendered out of a Windows XP program. While special effects don’t need to be essential to enjoy a big budget film a lot of the film requires that you believe that the story takes place in this highly futuristic and technologically advanced world; which is simply not the case thanks to its bad CGI.

Not only that but the cast doesn’t even seem that interested in what they’re saying or why their characters would behave the way they do. Edward Burns, as the leader of the hunting team, sent back in time by Time Safari (a corporation that allows hunters to hunt dinosaurs in prehistoric times), is completely monotone in his delivery and looks like he would rather not be there. But one of the biggest crimes of the film is without a doubt the treatment of Sir Ben Kingsley. Kingsley puts in a scenery-chewing performance that foregoes the control and just lets the legendary thespian have free reign. While that sounds enticing in a “Nicolas Cage let loose” sort of situation, Kingsley’s bizarre performance just ends up being weird and completely out of place as a whole.

A Sound of Thunder isn’t just bad, technically speaking, but it’s a massive disappointment that could’ve made a great short film. As a result of the extension, the film ends up feeling dull and completely devoid of proper pacing, instead, it feels weirdly disjointed from an editing perspective and visually unspectacular. A Sound of Thunder is without a doubt one of the worst films dealing with the nature of time travel.

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He is an avid movie fan and loves to write about movies perhaps a little too much. He also considers Casino Royale to be the best James Bond film ever made and he's ready to defend at any moment.
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