A Sound of Thunder is a 2005 science fiction film based on Ray Bradbury’s short story.
10 out of 10 stars. This is one of the best time travel films out there.
In 2055, Time Safari is a company that will take you back in time to hunt the animal of your choice. Since there are virtually no animals not wiped out from an apocalyptic virus, this is a huge deal. It’s also extremely expensive and only available to millionaires. Time Safari is owned by Charles Hadden, a greedy CEO. But the scientist behind it is Dr. Travis Ryer, who on these safaris, takes DNA from extinct animals in the hopes of someday cloning them.
Time Safari is regulated by the government agency Temporal Regulation Division. They travel back in time to seconds before the animal would’ve died anyway and they follow three rules: (1) Never change anything in the past. (2) Never leave anything behind. (3) Never bring anything back. The assault rifles they use on the safaris fire liquid nitrogen bullets that dissolve in two minutes. And they have a walkway that extends from the time portal so they never touch ancient soil. On the surface, it would look perfect. Except nothing humans do is every perfect.
As the film begins, Ryer takes a Board of Directors of a wealthy company, the CEO and his daughter back to the Cretaceous Period to shoot a Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur. Everything goes perfectly and they return happy. But that afternoon, the janitor damages one of the assault rifles while moving everything. He doesn’t notice that he’s damaged it and he never reports it.
The next day Dr. Ryer notices that it’s unusually hot with 90% humidity. Fish are jumping out of the water. Ultraviolet rays are abnormally high. And plants are breaking through concrete buildings and sidewalks.
His next crew are two executives who are also best friends, Mr. Eccles and Mr. Middleton. Everything is going great until the moment when Dr. Ryer is supposed to fire. Until he fires, the other guns will not work. And his is broken thanks to the janitor. For a terrifying three minutes, Dr. Ryer and the rest of his team try to distract the dinosaur while his gun expert attempts to fix his rifle. Mr. Eccles and Mr. Middleton run around the corner and hide behind the trees. They eventually get the rifle to work and kill the T Rex but have to rush back into the time portal because the volcano explodes while they’re there. (Which is how the dinosaur is supposed to die.)
Middleton threatens to sue. Hadden calms him down. And everything seems fine. Until the next day when the time portal sends the next safari group back five minutes late. The T Rex is already dead. The volcano has exploded. And they have three seconds to get back in the time portal before dying. The regulator reports the violation and shuts them down immediately.
Dr. Ryer immediately notices changes appearing all around them so he goes to see the scientist who created the machine and then was shut out of its operation, Dr. Sonya Rand. She’s predicted that something like like this would happen all along. She has him stand by her window and watch the sun. Within minutes a time wave comes toward them and changes everything. She explains that whatever they changed is making changes throughout time in time waves. Those time waves affect the creatures at the bottom of the food chain first (plants) but will eventually reach the top of the food chain (humans).
They go back to Time Safari and closely examine all of their clothing and equipment as well as the video recording of that safari with Eccles and Middleton. Unfortunately they can’t see what happened behind the trees. So they go to see Eccles. As the team is heading there, however, another time wave comes and dramatically changes the city. It now looks like a rainforest with creatures that are larger than humans and resemble the head of a baboon, the body of a lizard, and they hang by their feet. The plants are poisonous and use their barbs to poison people. They finally reach Eccles after losing one of their men to the monsters. He didn’t stray from the path, but Middleton might have. So they move onto Middleton’s building which is in worse shape than Eccles. When they find Middleton he’s already been poisoned by the plants and is nuts. He kills himself, leaving them to find his clothing from the safari. On his boot is a dead butterfly.
In the original short story by Ray Bradbury, it was also a butterfly that sent time waves into the future, changing everything from the foundation on up the food chain. Hence the term “butterfly effect”.
Huge flying bats chase them back to Time Safari and Sonya sends Travis back in time to fix everything. Just as he is leaving, another time wave hits and Sonya is turned into some type of amphibious creature. Ew. But Travis succeeds, and gets the evidence to permanently shut down Time Safari.
10 out of 10 stars. The perfect time travel movie. Because we really weren’t meant to time travel.