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A Sound of Thunder.

A Warner Bros. release of a Franchise Pictures presentation of an Apollomedia, QI Quality Intl., MFF (Sound of Thunder) Limited, FilmGroup 111, Coco co-production in association with Crusader Films of a Scenario Lane, Jericho production. Produced by Moshe Diamant, Howard Baldwin, Karen Baldwin. Executive producers: Elie Samaha, Romana Cisarova, John Hardy, Rick Nathanson, Jorg Westerkamp, William J. Immerman, Breck Eisner. Co-producers, Frank Hubner, Jan Fantl.

Directed by Peter Hyams. Screenplay, Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, Greg Poirier, based on a story by Ray Bradbury. Camera (color), Hyams; editor, Sylvie Landra; music, Nick Glennie-Smith; production designer, Richard Holland; art director, Keith Pain; set decorator, Richard Roberts; costume designer, Esther Walz; visual effects supervisor, Tim McGovern; visual effects producer, George Merkert; special effects supervisor, Joss Williams; sound, Manfred Banach; line producer, Guy Louthan; assistant director, Charlie Watson; casting, Anja Dihrberg, Jessica Horathova. Reviewed at Edwards Marq*e 23, Houston, Aug. 31, 2005. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 101 MIN.
Travis Ryer                      Edward Burns
Sonia Rand                Catherine McCormack
Charles Hatton                   Ben Kingsley
Jenny Krase                     Jemina Rooper
Tech Officer Payne              David Oyelowo
Dr. Andrew
  Lucas                Wilfried Hochholdinger
Clay Derris                     August Zirner
Christian Middleton             Corey Johnson

Every bit as bad as advance buzz indicated, Peter Hyams' long-delayed "A Sound of Thunder" finally arrives in megaplexes just in time to provide an appropriately downbeat end to a disappointing summer season. It's a clunky and cheesy disaster that doubtless will fast-forward to bargain bins at homevid outlets.

Loosely based on a story by Ray Bradbury, pic is cautionary yarn about time travel. In 2055 Chicago, Time Safari Inc. uses cutting-edge technology to zap wealthy customers back to the Cretaceous Era to hunt dinosaurs. Everything is supposed to be rigidly controlled--like at "West-world"--to ensure nothing that occurs will alter the flow of history.

But, of course, something terrible happens--specifically, someone inadvertently stomps on a butterfly--and that in turn triggers a series of "time waves" that threaten to revert the planet to a prehistoric state.

As primordial plant life overruns the Windy City, and bizarrely evolved predators (one part primate, one part reptile, all parts nasty) prey on bit players and co-stars, Dr. Travis Ryer (Edward Burns), the studly scientist who leads the Time Safari treks, and Dr. Sonia Rand (Catherine McCormack), inventor of the time-travel technology, struggle to reverse the reverting process.

"Thunder" might have been more impressive with an upgrade in its production values. The chintzy special effects often make it appear the actors have been dropped into the middle of a video game. But all the high-tech gloss in the world wouldn't smooth Hyams' bumpy pacing or untangle the sometimes torturously muddled storyline.

There are definite signs of last-minute cutting, re-cutting and re-recutting. And there is every indication that most of the cast didn't feel "Thunder" was worth excessive effort. Ben Kingsley has a few choice moments as Time Safari CEO Charles Hatton, a glad-handing greedhead who undermines safety precautions. Unfortunately, he's forced to wear an outrageous wig.

There's probably an interesting doc (or docudrama) to be made about the making of "A Sound of Thunder." Pic was buffeted by mishaps like massive flooding during location filming in the Czech Republic, and the bankruptcy of Franchise Pictures. This drama behind the drama would be far more entertaining than what actually appears on screen.
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Author:Leydon, Joe
Article Type:Movie Review
Date:Sep 5, 2005
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