Film (2005). Franchise Pictures presents a Scenario Lane/Jericho production in association with Crusader Entertainment. Directed by Peter Hyams. Written by Thomas Dean Donnelly & Joshua Oppenheimer and Gregory Poirier; story by Donnelly & Oppenheimer, from "A Sound of Thunder" (June 28 1952 Collier's Weekly) by Ray Bradbury. Cast includes William Armstrong, Corey Johnson, Ben Kingsley, Catherine McCormack, Edward Norton, David Oyelowo and Jemima Rooper. 110 minutes. Colour.
This Anglo-German trainwreck, from the normally reliable and workmanlike sf veteran Hyams, had the unenviable distinction of being the biggest flop in sf film history to that date, recouping less than a tenth of its reported $80m budget in a year which also saw the same writers' Sahara set a still-standing record as the all-genre, all-time moneyloser. Bradbury's story, of a Dinosaur-hunter on a Time Travel safari who changes the present by treading on a butterfly, is the most reprinted story in the genre, not least because of its compactness. This expansion to feature length replaces the ending (and with it any point to the title) with a nonsensical plot about "time waves" changing the present one step of the Evolutionary ladder at a time; the time boffins thus have to identify the change and go back and fix it while battling a series of escalating CG disasters which start with monster plants and move up from there. The middle is padded out with a perilous journey across an obviously greenscreen future New York overrun by hybrid dino-primates to discover what the audience already know, before the long-anticipated return to the Cretaceous proves the mother of all anticlimaxes. [NL]
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