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A Sound of Thunder

Year: 2005
Production Co: Franchise Pictures
Director: Peter Hyams
Writer: Ray Bradbury
Cast: Edward Burns, Ben Kingsley, Catherine McCormack
You've got to feel a bit sorry for Ed Burns. He was one of the most promising indie fixtures after The Brothers McMullen, but he somehow never managed to grab the same magic again, and is now little more than a B lister headlining straight to video dross (like this) or a second fiddle in rom-com ensembles like 27 Dresses.

It's the near future and time travel has been cracked and is being exploited by an entrepreneur (Kingsley) who offers filthy rich clients the opportunity to go back to Jurassic times to hunt a huge man eating dinosaur.

The catch? Clients must stay on the ethereal path the time machine transports them to in the olden days, not touch anything, not bring anything back and not leave anything lest they kick off a butterfly effect that could fundamentally change the present.

So it's no surprise that a jittery client sends it all pear shaped (nor is it a surprise that it's with a butterfly that he commits the symbolic act) and the heroes come back to a present slowly transforming.

Science would cause them to come back to a new present intact where everything is completely changed, but to keep the drama up, the writers have invented a device to heighten the drama – not everything changes at once, but after one of several giant invisible waves that roll across the Earth and change life from the simplest organisms up.

It's an effective if scientifically laughable premise - while the cities become choked with vegetation and brutal half mandrill, half lions stalk the fleeing remnants of humanity, people themselves will be the last to change when the feared Last Wave arrives.

So it's up to the head scientist (Burns) and a winsome anti time travel protester (McCormack) to save the say while things fall apart around them.

It was a good idea but it's a shame they couldn't come up with a better idea than the steadily destructive waves. Besides the story, the film however is let down by the budget. Such a sweeping vision of the future is well realised but needed much more money, bigger sets and better CGI to do it justice.

Apparently the production company went bankrupt after losing so much of the sets during the 2002 Prague floods and the film sat on a shelf for months waiting for new finance to finish it. As a consequence it returned barely $2m of the $50m budget and became 2005's Shoot Em Up.

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