With September now upon us, the tide of big summer blockbusters has rolled back out into the abyss and Ralph Fiennes is allowed to come out and play again (Focus Features’ The Constant Gardner opens today.) But there’s still some visual effects fun to be had with today’s release of director Peter Hyams’ A Sound of Thunder, a sci-fi monster pic based on a short story by Ray Bradbury.
What months ago looked like a promising summer contender appears now to be a studio cast off. Warner Bros. is dumping the poorly reviewed Thunder in just 816 theaters across the country with hardly any promotion, despite a decent cast and enticing vfx work by QIX, Furious FX, UFO FX, Black Mountain Studio, Modern VideoFilm and Zoic Studio.
The film takes place in the year 2055. Time travel is a reality and the wealthy elite take trips back in time to hunt prehistoric monsters under strict guidelines that prevent them from disturbing the gentle balance of nature. When someone breaks the rules and steps off the path, they unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that alters evolutionary history and causes bizarre creatures to begin appearing in modern times. Edward Burns (Confidence, Saving Private Ryan) stars as a Time Safari guide who realizes what’s happening and sets out to restore the natural order with the help of a time-travel physicist played by Catherine McCormack (The Tailor of Panama, Braveheart). Oscar winner Sir Ben Kingsley (Ghandi, Sexy Beast) plays the greedy Time Safari CEO concerned only with covering his own hyde.
The Bradbury tale was adapted for the screen by Sahara scribes Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer, along with Gregory Poirier, who contributed to The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride and is scripting the sequel to the Disney hit, National Treasure. Hyams directed the classic 1978 conspiracy theory favorite, Capricorn One, following it up with more recent genre fare such as Timecop, The Relic and The End of Days.