STOP PETER HYAMS BEFORE HE MAKES ANOTHER MOVIE! PLEASE
What in the hell was director Peter Hyams thinking? Was he channeling the ghost of Ed Wood?
Last night I went to see what I thought might be a little bit of mindless fun. A sound of thunder starring Sir Ben Kingsley, and Ed Burns, in a bit of thoughtless sci-fi seemed pretty can't miss. Ah....how wrong, terribly, awefully, and completely wrong I was. I still don't know what the hell the title is suppose to mean. I suspect it was a subtle nod to the fact that the sheer number of feet that would be beating a path to the exits during the first reel would make a sound something like thunder.
This may be one of the worst movies to hit the big screen in the past ten years. I know that is a bold statement considering that the past ten years have seen movies like Pearl Harbor, The Ring and Alexander made, but trust me, this movie deserves to be rubbing shoulders with those giants of bad cinema. In fact it would be impossible to overstate how completely awful this movie is.
The movie tells the preposterous tale of a time traveling safari company whose shoddy protocols (and there is no end to the idiocy that are TimeSafari's shoddy protocols.) end up altering the future (they changed something in the past) in a series of ill-concieved "time waves" that leave the world oddly changed, either by altering creatures presently alive, watch out for your rose bushes, or inserting completely new fauna("It looks reptilian with some primate thrown in."), that have evolved in the interim. Our insipid explorers changed something in the past and each successive "time wave" brings the current earth more in line with that tiny change. Make sense to you? Don't worry, it made no sense to me either. Time travel has a plethora of rich literary paradox to explore, this movie however, decided to go a different route. Mainly they adopt the unthinking, clueless, lets do an even dumber version of
For some strange reason, Ben Kingsley is awesome, which is a nice juxtaposition with the special effects, which are the opposite. I almost left when I saw the "allosaurus." I should have I think. Because then I could be writing about something else, like my black eye, or shoelaces. I digress. Back to the acting. Sir Ben is great. Ed Burns may have some potential as an action hero, but it sure doesn't show in this. And I don't think any of the other actors will ever work again. Except maybe in porn where acting talent isn't so important.
I would love to tell you how bad the science in this movie is. On every level, and in any scene where anything scientific is said, it is almost always 100% wrong.
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is given a really erudite and thoughtful treatment that really furthers the character development and story.
No. I'm sorry. That is bullshit.
I think the author of this screenplay watched Jurassic Park: The Lost World and listened to Jeff Goldbloom rattle off his take on it, and then said author misinterpreted that already spare and inappropriate example, mangled it and voila, it becomes something Ed Wood would be jealous he hadn't written.
Here's the exchange between Ed Burns and another "Actor" after one of their safaris has gone wrong.
Ed Burns: That can't happen again. We must be certain.
Other "Actor": Have you ever heard of the Heisenberg Uncertainty princple?
Ed Burns: Blank stare, seems to convey, how did I get involved in this crap?
Other "Actor": It states that you can't know anything with 100% certainty. Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah...so we can't predict anything."
Ed Burns: We must be certain.
Okay that is paraphrase, but fair.
The moral of this story, is that sci-fi, like supermarket fruit, is a terrible gamble. Heisenbergs Principle aside, I can safely predict I will never watch this movie again.