Prayer Focus
Movie Review

A Sound of Thunder

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for sci-fi violence, partial nudity and language

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
Sci-Fi, Thriller, Action Adventure
1 hr. 43 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
September 2, 2005 (wide)
Copyright, Warner Brothers Copyright, Warner Brothers Copyright, Warner Brothers
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Brothers
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Featuring: Edward Burns, Ben Kingsley, Catherine McCormack, Corey Johnson, Jemima Rooper
Director: Peter Hyams
Producer: Phil Anschutz, Howard Baldwin, Karen Elise Baldwin
Distributor: Warner Brothers

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Set in a near future where time travel is possible, this is the story of a travel agency, Time Safari Inc. (owned and managed by Kingsley’s character), that arranges hunting trips for wealthy customers back in time to hunt dinosaurs. Each trip is carefully planned, with a scout identifying dinosaurs about to die, and then sending the clients back just seconds before, so the course of time is not altered by the kill.

However, in this case, a nervous hunter steps off the trail, and steps on a butterfly. The historical repercussions of the death of a single butterfly, compounded by millions of years of effects, leaves the hunters to return to a future that is not quite the one they came from… Now, Travis Ryer (Burns), the lead dinosaur hunter, must team up with Sonia Rand (McCormack), the inventor of the time machine technology to stop the “time waves” that are rippling up from this event, threatening to erase humanity from existance.”

I have been a fan of the Science Fiction genre for a long, long time. My favorite theme has always been Time Travel. I enjoy history and the thoughts of being an eyewitness to an event in the past. I’ve been working on my own Time Travel novel.

Most Sci-Fi fans know that the first rule of Time Travel is don’t mess with the past. You never know what might be the future ramifications. That is the premise for this old fashioned Saturday matinee-style drama. It is definitely an adventure for this Jurassic starved generation. You know, let’s go back in time and hunt some dinosaurs!

Director Peter Hyams, who has a past with futurist dramas (“Timecop”, “Capricorn One”, “Outland”) doesn’t just pull a plot out of thin air. “A Sound of Thunder” is based on a Ray Bradury short story. I found the story both intelligent and intriguing. There is plenty of action and special effects to help you find the bottom of that large bag of popcorn. Most of the CGI was outstanding. There were some forgivable scenes where the dinos have a shiny coat and the Chicago of the future looks like blown-up models.

The main story is about wealthy adventurers who aunty up the jack to go back and hunt those large toothy dinosaurs. They must not stray off the pathway. They are not to take anything with them or leave anything behind. Our adventure into the Cretaceous period includes killing only animals that are about to die. You know, let’s go check out the local tar pit or lava flow patterns from area volcanoes. Remember, these 21st Century visitors are not to disturb anything.

But something, of course, goes awry, and 65 million years later the Earth begins to pay the price. Time waves begin to sweep over Chicago. Each wave begins to advance the evolutionary scale. The climate turns very hot and humid. Enormous trees begin to spring up overnight. Thick vines begin to swallow up skyscrapers. Giant spiders appear, and the animals in the zoo morph into extremely large creatures. It is an amazing doomsday transformation.

Our scientist hero, every SciFi nature run-a-muk flic has to have one, is Travis Ryer (Edward Burns). His mission, whether he decides to accept it or not, is to go back in time again and see where this safari went awry. His assignment should be simple enough: See what happened and correct the mistake. Unfortunately, the time wave vines have wrecked the laboratory for the Time Safari. Not even our cool, bottom-line businessman (Ben Kingsley) can solve this one.

No problem, enter the inventor of the time machine, Sonia Rand (Catherine McCormack). She plays the role of “see I told you so” strict adherent to all the rules. Sonia must now build a new machine, just like that, and save the world. Before they can go back, our A-team must scour Chicago for clues to the current havoc. Well, no one ever said it was going to be easy. Yes, lucky breaks and predictable coincidences help to move and push all the right buttons.

This film is not without some negative content. The sexual content is fairly mild. You know, your obligatory women in revealing clothing and some sexual dialogue. Most of the profanity is covered over by the extremely loud sound track, but there are lots of obscenities and religious exclamations. I was offended by an abundance of sexual slang. This isn’t your typical PG-13 movie with lots of bloodless violence. There is plenty of carnage for the new X-Box mind-dulled generation. I also do not agree with many of the evolutionary overtones in the story line.

My recommendation is somewhat mixed. This is a decent SciFi film with all the typical flaws. The PG-13 rating should be strictly observed. Parents may want to wait and watch a filtered version with ClearPlay technology. I know that I love my ClearPlay DVD player. It cuts out the language and skips over the offensive content.

Viewer Comments
Neutral—…this movie had only a couple of objectionable comments that occured in the first 30 mins. which were simply unprovoked. There was no visible nudity, no sex (the movie had only one kiss on the cheek). That said, I only enjoyed this movie because me and my friends and a dozen other people that were in the theater made fun of the boring lines, bad acting and “Fictional” extinct characters that made appearances (like dinosaur-looking animals that had faces like that of gorillas which at some point slept upside down in the rafters of a ruined building which we called “Monkey bats” and an alien-looking grey animal that looked like a seal with whiskers the size of human fingers, which we called “Cat Fish”).

The cgi was just terrible and others commented that the folks at The Discovery Channel should’ve been hired for a week or so to do a better job. The Sci-Fi channel has much better looking shows. This movie was set in 2055 and the time travels were made in camouflage unis and a helmet. Your first reaction I guarantee would be “How is that 70s looking camou supposed to protect anything”

Towards the end, when the main character was to make a crucial time travel to fix what had been altered during a time jump, he took his time to put on this uni even though he had only seconds to get transported into the past (Just put your helmet on and go). This gives you an idea of the flow of this movie.

This futuristic Chicago city had obviosly very fake looking cars streaming the bumpy streets in an unrealistic manner and eveyone wore 2005 attire about their everyday lives, not even what I would call 2020ish. Even the ending was bad. Watch this movie with your friends and pretend its a TV episode, not a sci-fi blockbuster and just ignore its shortcommings, because even though the ideas were “Fururistic”, the execution was simply haphazard.
My Ratings: Better than Average/1½
Emeka, age 25