Genre: Sci-fi action flick.
The pitch: In the year 2055, a reckless company arranges time-traveling dinosaur hunts, but a minor change in the past alters evolution and overruns "present-day" Chicago with lethal flora and fauna. Doesn't sound like intelligent design to me.
Money shots: Hero Travis Ryer (Edward Burns) and company outrun a prehistoric volcanic eruption. Rain forest-style vegetation increasingly overgrows the Chicago skyline. The time line changes in tsunami-like "time waves" that are kinda cool, even though they make no sense.
Ask-for-your-money-back shots: Whenever Ryer stands on the futuristic streets, the special effects look about as realistic as a weatherman standing in front of a Doppler radar map.
Fashion statements: As the greedy CEO of Time Safari, Ben Kingsley sports bristly platinum hair, as if he's growing out a Flock of Seagulls haircut. Craven businessmen wear fedoras and pin-striped suits like chorus members from Guys and Dolls. Ryer's time-traveling hunters don helmets like goldfish bowls.
Best line: "It wasn't a bug he stepped on -- it was evolution," says Ryer, summing up the premise in a quip suitable for the film's poster.
Hey, Wait a Minute: Time Safari claims clients can hunt the allosaurus in the Cretaceous period, but that dinosaur hails from the Jurassic period.
Literary Pedigree: Ray Bradbury's pitch-perfect short story has seen numerous homages, most recently from Homer Simpson on "The Simpsons" and Ashton Kutcher in The Butterfly Effect. A Sound of Thunder tosses the intimations of future tyranny (and all conceptual logic) in favor of monster attacks.
Bad timing: At one time slated for release in 2003, A Sound of Thunder has been in a kind of time warp itself. The film, featuring scenes of American refugees and looters, had the bad luck to open the weekend after Hurricane Katrina.
The bottom line: Director Peter Hyams used to craft delectable cinematic cheese like Capricorn One but now offers stale junk food like End of Days and this. It's hard to hate a film with red-faced dinosaur baboons, but to rescue A Sound of Thunder, we'd need to go back in time and give Hyams some special effects that don't suck. Now playing. 1 Star
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