Making the Grades
The year is 2055 and Dr. Travis Ryer (Edward Burns) is heavily involved in collecting DNA strands. Using the information, he hopes to re-establish extinct animals with a cloning process. However, research of this kind takes time and money. To pay for his studies, Travis works as an expedition leader at Time Safari.
Owned and operated by the ambitious Charles Hatton (Ben Kingsley), Time Safari caters to the incredibly wealthy members of society who crave a little adventure in their life. Using a time traveling machine, Travis and his crew take clients back 60 million years on a hunting expedition for a Tyrannosaurus Rex. This one-of-a-kind encounter is heavily monitored by government officials and operates by strict rules.
But an unforeseen accident causes an undetected breach in the protocol. Coming back from a jump, the team and their customers discover subtle ecological variations are starting to occur. Within minutes, fast-growing plants and hoards of bugs overrun the city. Unsure of the reason, Travis tracks down Dr. Sonia Rand (Catherine McCormack), the woman who created the transportation program.
As he questions her about the changes, the city is washed over by the first in a series of time ripples, causing further alterations in the evolution process. With limited hours remaining, the group of tour leaders must discover and undo the mistake before it is too late.
Based on Ray Bradbury's A Sound of Thunder, this sci-fi screenplay starts out with an intriguing look at the possibilities of time travel along with its pros and cons. Then before long, it bogs down like a dinosaur caught in a tar pit. Scientific facts are sparse and the special effects are anything but special, as the characters in one scene walk aimlessly in front of a very obvious green screen.
Unlike Bradbury's story, the developments caused by the unfortunate misstep are more environmental than social. Rather than modifications in the culture or language of civilization, hungry beasts that resemble a cross between baboons and raptors roam the streets in company with other prehistoric-looking creatures. The result is a bountiful, bloody body count.
Profanities and sexual dialogue are also abundant, with two men comparing their level of courage to the size of certain body parts. One presumptuous patron tips her guide by showing up at his apartment completely naked. Audiences get only a strategically shot side view but the exchange is entirely unrelated to any aspect of the plot.
Instead of exploring the consequences of seemingly insignificant daily events or choices, the story wanders off into creature feature territory where humans have to fight off marauding monsters and poisonous thorns. Surrounded by decay and destruction caused by evolutionary adjustments, Travis and his cohorts will be lucky to even find a way to rewind the clock.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about A Sound of Thunder.
A simple intrusion on the biosphere leads to significant changes to the future in this film. What environmental decisions from the past may be presently affecting us? What kind of effect could the personal choices you are making now have on your future—physically, financially, academically etc.? Without traveling back in time, are there ways for you to undo the consequences that follow?
Dr. Rand is the scientist who develops the time travel computer. How does her intentions for the program differ from Charles Hatton’s? In what other ways can scientific discoveries be altered for more profitable or private activities?