Ray Bradbury‘s "A Sound of Thunder" is a short story that I have remembered even after many many years of reading it. Of course, today, I don’t remember anything much of the plot. All I do remember is the basic premise – that somebody goes back in to the past, steps on a butterfly and causes cataclysmic changes in the future. Of course, I realize that I remember these incidents probably because they have somewhat of a connection to the "Butterfly Effect" – another favourite theory/hobbyhorse of mine 🙂
I got reacquainted with "A Sound of Thunder", albeit in a slightly modified version when we watched the movie version of the story a couple of days ago. The movie version started off pretty much the same way I remember the short story to have been though to be honest, I don’t really remember much about the short story. The story is about a business named Time Safari’s which sends people from the future to the time of the dinosaurs so that hunters from the futures can bag the greatest game that ever walked the earth, or something like that. The Time Safari people take great pains not to introduce anything from the future into the past or to bring back anything form the past back to the future so as to prevent any time paradoxes or alterations to the timeline.
The movie continues on from where the short story ends and in true movie fashion, finds a heroic solution to the whole issue and the protagonist ends up saving the future and putting and end to the time travel menace in one fell swoop. But I gotta tell you, the movie was downhill all the way after the original short story bit ended :p In fact, the movie would have been great as a comedy but it was laughable as a science fiction flick because, as Laurie likes to put it, "there were plot holes big enough to drive a galaxy through" :p
Leaving out the really bad special effects and the extremely timely deus ex machina fashion accidents and saves that happen frequently in the movie, let me move on to the more absurd points. Apparently, Time Safari goes back to the same time in history for their dinosaur kills – that is part of the plot. However, except for the final scene when the protagonist goes back to stop the butterfly being killed, the Time Safari people never meet themselves. Strange? I would think so :p
Then there’s the outlandish "time waves" :p The butterfly being killed in the past introduces changes to the future. But one would think that the changes would be immediate. But no. These changes come in waves. And you can actually see the wave rolling over the landscape. And the wave (of time, mind you) causes actual physical destruction like flipping cars over or flinging the protagonist all over the landscape like a child’s rag doll 🙂
That is just the tip of the iceberg. There are the strange mutated plants which somehow had evolved over 65 million years to be more vicious because a butterfly was killed. Boy those plants sure must have loved that butterfly :p Then there’s the strange baboon dinosaurs who just make me laugh. I can go on and on and on but why bother? If you haven’t seen this movie, don’t go in expecting good SF. But if you do want a good laugh, this one’s just the ticket :p