Hall of Fame Speech #11: A Sound of Thunder

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a third class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly eight years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. This is the first installment leading up to the sixth (eighth?) Smaddies Baddies bringing you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. One of America’s greatest science fiction writers brought us a tale of time unravelling due to a few flaps of a butterfly’s wing. And with the tiny problem of bankruptcy, the film adaptation unravels becoming a quintessential example of what happens when you run out of money for CGI in the middle of post-production. A true blue embarrassment. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for A Sound of Thunder

What would happen if a film was made that should, by all accounts, be buried or released direct-to-DVD was, instead, released to 800 theaters? The answer is, oh what’s that? It’s a SOUND OF THUNDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! What I’m sure started as a perfectly fine plan to adapt a Ray Bradbury classic quickly turned into a debacle as the production company went under in the middle of post-production. So what do you do when half your CGI isn’t complete and you have no money? Pay interns to fill it with 90’s era video game cutscenes I guess. As The Bad Movie Twins, we have to keep our standards, we can’t just go watch any old piece of garbage. Lucky for us, some people decide to release their garbage to theaters. This is possibly the worst CGI I’ve ever seen in a wide release film, and that is plenty to get it into the Hall of Fame. Let’s get into it.

It has been over five years since I watched this thing, so what do I remember?

  • The CGI is literally insane. From what I remember the cars are like … blocks, and the dinosaur looks like an Adventure Company cutscene. The entire thing should have been shelved for a few years while they got an extra million together because …
  • At times the movie isn’t all bad. It is at the very least an interesting idea. Obviously. I mean, it is a Bradbury story after all.
  • Not all the CGI is terrible, the monkeys I remember at one point were okay.
  • There is a specific scene in which the main character walks into a building holding a bag of dirt over his face … I don’t know why, but I need to see this scene again, because the way I remember it is crazy.
  • OH IT’S A SOUND OF THUNDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! For years we have said this to each other. This morning when I mentioned to my brother that I was doing the rewatch he said it to me. He said it to his roommates back in the day. It’s what we remember.

As has become tradition I put the most important one first and last. The first because honestly that is why this is here. This is the worst CGI in an otherwise wide-release and genuine film I’ve ever seen. It is unfinished and somehow the production company thought that it was better to release than just wait to get more funding together. It is very very weird obviously. Have we seen others since? Sure, Atlas Shrugged Part II comes to mind. That was also a film that was barely released to 1000 theaters and looked like garbage. But this was one of those very Hollywood stories. These people weren’t fanatics who needed to release their film to satisfy their pride. They went into bankruptcy and somehow this film just kind of … got released. That is amazing.

The last is just something to mention about how BMT films can have a very profound impact on our lives. For years we’ve said “oh … it’s a sound of thundaaaaaah” to each other. Things like that is why I love BMT, and why this movie belongs in a personal Hall of Fame. As much as the astonishingly bad CGI which really sets it apart. It is arguably why we created the Hall of Fame, to remember the films that have shaped BMT through the years. And this one certainly did.

So how did it go? Let me start by saying that I was concerned about this rewatch. I was concerned that the CGI wouldn’t be as terrible as I remember, that the story would be fine, and all the weird bits I loved at the time just wouldn’t pop now that I have more bad movies under my belt. I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, the cars look a little better, but nearly everything else looked as bad or worse than I remembered. The CGI is not only terrible, but it is unrelenting. It is constant. Every scene that takes place outside it just complete green screen and looks very bad. I genuinely saw better CGI in video game cutscenes. It really is truly insane.

The story doesn’t make much sense, and I think with having watched more bad movies since I can also tell what the director went for (and ultimately failed). There is a very strange set of characters, the two assholes who mess up the past, where you can see him tip his hand. The entire film takes place in 2055, but it is supposed to, basically, be 1955 but kind of updated in a fun way. They are wearing fedoras, they slag on their wives, and they talk about their big brass balls a lot. It is really an interesting idea. Whether that is all in the original short story, I don’t know, but I think it was an interesting idea either way. That would be both a good and a bad for me. It is an interesting idea, but it is sloppy and weird, but I don’t remember noticing it way back when.

And the bag scene? Not that weird. The only weird bit is that he walks into the apartment and just kind of … hangs the bag of soil on his shoulder. It is a weird choice by Edward Burns, but I’m pretty shocked we both noted it at the time. Clutch note in my opinion.

So there you have it. If you are ever in the mood for watching a genuine movie with bar none the worst CGI I’ve ever seen in a wide release, you now know the movie. And I honestly think that is plenty for the Hall of Fame. Some films just deserve it. They’re unflashy, but they check those boxes. Congrats A Sound of Thunder (oh, it’s a SOUND OF THUNDAAAAAAAAAAAAH), you put in the work and it was all well worth it.

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