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Film / A Sound of Thunder

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Evolve or die.

A Sound of Thunder is a 2005 sci-fi movie loosely based on the Ray Bradbury story of the same name. It stars Edward Burns, Catherine McCormack, and Ben Kingsley.

In the year 2055, a company offers time-travel tours that allow tourists to hunt dinosaurs, provided they do not stray from the set path. Otherwise, they risk altering history with catastrophic ripple effects.

The movie contains examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The protagonists use futuristic rifles that fire frozen water rounds (the sound, muzzle flash and the fact the rounds can break a concrete block implies they are some kind of rail gun) to hunt dinosaurs and eventually protect themselves as all hell breaks loose because of stepping on the Butterfly of Doom. The fact that it's ice that will dissolve eventually technically takes care of a detail on the original story (that the hunting company actually dug through the remains of the T. Rex to take out the bullets and leave no evidence of their hunt behind that could disrupt history).
  • Adaptation Expansion: Turning a short story into a feature film might be a good cause for the awfulness.
  • Adaptational Species Change: In the book the main dinosaur was a Tyrannosaurus rex, while here it's an Allosaurus.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Where do we start!
    • Baboonasaurs, that's where. Alternately "Baboonizards." There's also the flying "Batizards," and "miscellaneous underwater shark-eel-thing."
    • And we continue with the claim that lions are descended from Allosaurs. Congratulations. Perhaps they meant "fill a similar ecological niche", but bungled it.
    • The claim that humans were "the last species to evolve." That's... nowhere NEAR how evolution works.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Ryer tries to find a way to get into Rand's apartment, and there just so happens to be a delivery of fertilizer waiting.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Hatton makes it clear in his first conversation with Ryer that he is there to basically make all the money in the world.
  • Cutting Corners: The whole situation started because of a "perfect storm" of 1) somebody panicking and stepping off the path and 2) Hatton shutting down the time machine's bio-filter (which would have prevented this) in order to save money on electricity.
  • Delayed Ripple Effect: Taken to ridiculous extremes. Translucent blasts called timewaves come out of nowhere and start knocking people around. And each time they do more species become "devolved".
  • Dull Surprise: From The Agony Booth's recap, "Pierce Brosnan was originally slated to star. Unfortunately, he was replaced by a wooden marionette that looks a lot like Edward Burns." (It's a running gag on the recap seeing how his facial expressions are the same for most of the film.)
  • Evolutionary Levels: Related: assuming humans are the last to evolve ties into the whole assumption that they're more advanced than other animal species.
  • Extinct in the Future: The reason given for time travel being used to hunt dinosaurs is that all animal species are extinct by 2055. This is mentioned in only one scene and is never referenced again. It also raises many more questions than it solves.
  • Failed a Spot Check: When Ryer attempts to go back to the original hunt, the approaching time wave brings him to a group of Native Americans riding in the southwest. He does not seem to notice that he has materialized in a desert instead of the jungle.
  • Forgot About His Powers: An important plot point is made early on that all the guns are linked to Ryer's, and they won't fire until he does. When his gun doesn't fire, putting everyone else's in jeopardy, he tells Jenny to take the shot... though her gun won't work.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Many of the animals that show up in the altered timelines.
  • Plot Hole:
    • If the time waves cause existing organisms to de-evolve (we know this because that one female character turns into a white naked mole-rat thing at the last wave), and all animals were extinct by 2055 then where did the originals come from?
    • The safari travels back to the same point in time and kills the same dinosaur over and over again. But it is never explained how they never intersect with past jumps, until Ryer does so at the end.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Ryer flirts with a client, and then the scene instantly cuts to the next morning.
  • Sexy Man, Instant Harem: Ryer bangs a client.
  • Shout-Out: Hatton kiss-assingly compares his clients to "Columbus discovering America. Armstrong stepping on the moon. Brubaker landing on Mars". The latter is a reference to Capricorn One, Hyams' debut film, where Brubaker was the captain of a faked Mars landing.
  • Tagline: "Evolve or die" and "Some rules should never be broken".
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Middleton screams his head off when Past!Ryer tackles him, but is merely perplexed when he disappears.
  • Voodoo Shark: Apparently the reason big-game hunters are so eager to go back in time to hunt dinosaurs is because... wait for it... all animals are extinct in 2055. This is mentioned in one scene and then never referenced again, and doesn't explain why people wouldn't be willing to pay to use time travel for more peaceful sightseeing purposes ... or to retrieve healthy animals from the past and repopulate the Earth with them, for that matter.
  • Walk and Talk: A Special Effects Failure thanks to the view suddenly switching to the actors against a dramatic CGI background of the future city once they've finished talking, walking at a completely different pace now they don't have to worry about running over the camera crew.
  • You Get What You Pay For: The boss of the safari company shutting down a key component of the time machine to save power contributed to the catastrophe at hand.