STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $27.98
RUNNING TIME: 110 Minutes
Theatrical trailers

The Pitch

The biggest budget Sci-Fi Channel production ever! What a minute? You mean this is supposed to be an actual theatrical motion picture? Get the hell out!

The Humans

Edward Burns, Catherine McCormack and Ben Kingsley

The Nutshell

Bored with your everyday routine of riding in future taxis as they drive by shiny future buildings and take you home to eat your flavo future pills? Maybe the cure to your ills lies in the past! Stop wasting your money on holoreels and come on down to Future Corp. For only a few million credits you can have the adventure of a lifetime as you travel back in time to shoot a T-rex with your futuro pulse rifle.

Do be careful not to disturb anything in the past while on your little excursion. We here at the not at all shady and corrupt with power Future Corp trust that giving our customers a two foot walkway on which to stand while in the past is a foolproof system and the likelihood of someone stepping off the path and screwing up history is quite improbable.

Stunning visual effects brought to you by 3D0

In the unlikely chance that this disastrous scenario occurs, do not fret. We here at Future Corp have engineered our own crazy theory of time travel which makes changes to the timeline occur in waves. This will give you enough time to band together with a square jawed hero character and a take no prisoners scientist to save the world.

Along the way you’ll be hunted by incredibly fake looking monsters that look straight out of Python vs Boa and Mansquito. How odd that the altered path of evolution resulted in animals resembling awful computer animated atrocities! Don’t worry if your friends die, as they will be resurrected once the time stream is restored, removing all since of urgency and suspense from your adventure. Please enjoy your Future Corp adventure experience and refrain from downloading restricted holoreels better than this movie i.e. every film ever made.

The Lowdown

Sometimes a film has a hard time making it to the screen. Several things go wrong and the journey from script to screen becomes a long and taxing affair. Many times the end result is a great film made even more remarkable by the struggles the filmmakers had to go through in order to have their visions realized. Other times the myriad of pitfalls that occurred during the making of the film should have been interpreted as a warning – the film gods are displeased with your film and will do anything to stop it, whether it be floods, hurricanes or giving your best boy and key grips leprosy.

A Sound of Thunder is one of those films. Not only did filming get interrupted by floods in Prague, the production company went bankrupt during the making of the movie. The film sat unfinished for years before a few bucks were thrown its way to complete the computer animation, presumably at minimal cost. Perhaps the film would have been better served being abandoned in a vault. Then people would actually want to see the “lost” Ray Bradbury adaptation. There would be websites devoted to it and many film geeks left wondering what might have been.

Surf’s up dudes! Catch the time wave!

The disasters that occurred during filmmaking only served to make what would have been a bad movie even worse. Even if filming had gone as smoothly as possible and the production company had unlimited resources, this film never had a chance with the script it was built upon. To put it in perspective, the script was so bad that even Renny Harlin was smart enough to drop out of the production. The movie he left this one for? Mindhunters. Mindhunters is a smarter, more expertly written film than A Sound of Thunder. Let that sink in.

Approach this film expecting a serious sci-fi film and prepare to have your mouth fill with bile and venom before the movie is done. Approach this film with the same attitude you would approach any low budget Sci-fi Channel production and prepare to laugh. Everything about the film is so poorly executed that it transcends into a House of the Dead level of comedy.

The original short story was too small to sustain a full length film, so A Story of Thunder requires lots of padding. Enter computer animated ape/bat hybrids. The expendable characters run from location to location for half of the film, pursued relentlessly by animals that look like they were rendered on a Sega Saturn. The problem with heroes being stalked by animals in a time travel movie is readily apparent – their lives mean absolutely nothing because they won’t exist if time is restored. The film’s characters even realize how pointless the whole affair is and comment on this several times.

Scientific progress goes "WTF"

A Sound of Thunder is clichéd, pointless and poorly made. That’s okay when you’re making direct to cable monster flicks, but when you have a 52 million dollar budget people tend to expect a little more. That means you spent 51 million more to do something Charles Band could do in little less than a month. It would be a noble effort for someone to go back in time to prevent filming of this movie, but perhaps it would be even nobler to let it remain. Maybe movie studios will learn from its failure and be careful not to repeat its mistakes, just like they did with Imposter, Battlefield Earth, and Mission to Mars. On second thought, someone needs to go back in time with a hit list of film executives ASAP.

The Package

The cover art for A Sound of Thunder uses the original theatrical poster art of a butterfly in the palm of a red hand. An interesting fact is that Bradbury’s original short story about the death of a butterfly in the past and the resulting implications of that was written nearly ten years before the concept of the butterfly effect was introduced.

Freaking cliffracers!

The only extra features are two theatrical trailers. Their inclusion on the disc serves as evidence that they existed, since only a handful of people got to see them in theaters. Neither does much to make the film look good, although both are careful to avoid long shots of the creatures, lest audiences see how awful they look. The most impressive thing about the package is that they managed to find a positive pull quote for the packaging. If Mick LeSalle of the San Franciso Chronicle thinks A Sound of Thunder is “an imaginative science-fiction thrill ride,” his head would probably explode if he came within 30 yards of Buckaroo Banzai.

2.0 out of 10