Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Plug Your Ears: A Sound of Thunder


Science fiction is a dangerous genre.

Aliens can attack from within; robots can (and will) turn on their makers; and just about anything that can go wrong will, in the course of the film, go FUBAR.

However, if the film itself is monumentally flawed, none of this matters.

So how do I describe "A Sound of Thunder"?

Imagine the movie is like the sun, and staring into it directly hurts your eyes.

Now stab yourself in the eyes at the same time.

I am an advocate for the use of CGI in films. I think that, in copious amounts, CGI can drown a film. When used productively, computer effects bring you into a new world of flavor.

But when, in 2005, your images look like rejects from some 1960's claymation epic, you might as well use puppets.

The movie opens with a group of time-traveling hunters stalking an allosaurus. I could have shot the introduction with plastic dinosaurs and a cell phone.

Edward Burns is about the only thing close to a lead in this flick. He plays a scientist, Travis Ryer, who helps keep a corrupt businessman (played by Ben Kingsley of "Bloodrayne" fame) in action.

Obviously the conflict comes from playing with the past. According to the HollyWood BS Theorem, anything is possible. Apparently, when you step on a butterfly in the past, crazy things happen in the future.

In chronological order of the evolution of the species.

And nothing is what it seems.

I'm not going to say this film was bad. I leave that judgment to you.

Firstly, the effects suck, but we've been through that. Scenes involving green screens often make you long for the good old days of puppets and superimposition. I often found myself recalling video games with fuzzy FMV sequences. Only they had better production values.

The script isn't terrible, but it is very poor. Most of the time you'll feel as though the writer just got lazy and gave up, outsourcing the scriptwriting duties to a trained lemur.

The characters are...flat? One-dimensional? Not able to express emotions?

I found the movie uninspiring, with most of the scenes carrying that "it's been done before and better" mentality.

Things jump out from behind boxes and dark windows; creatures are everywhere and hunt in packs; the one easy way to do something is destroyed, leaving only the really, really, ridiculously hard way.

I've seen this movie a dozen times before, only it has never been so poorly implemented.

Something that really irked me throughout the film was the lack of a beautiful woman. Both of the female leads are....OK. Catherine McCormack ("Shadow of the Vampire") is the love interest, at least as far as I could tell, and is decidedly uninteresting for two hours.

Jemima Rooper (The Black Dahlia) is the other gal in this flick, but all she does is act foolish and brave until her "death".

I'd like to tell you the disposable characters in the film make a dent on you as you watch, but in reality they don't. They just exist to die.

Finally, and really my final dissappointment with the film, was the main monster throughout the last act: Baboonasaurus. It was, perhaps, the worst animated creature of the 21st century.

I can't explain it any better than that.

This movie was "a soul-sucking waste" that made me ashamed of cinema.

That'll satisfy as a rating for now.

I'm gonna watch something else.

Something bad.

And then I'll be right back here again.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

...baboonasaurus?

and that is all i need to say.