It was the $80 million sci-fi adventure which promised eye-popping time-travel, jaw-snapping dinosaurs and temporal disaster on a global scale. It ended up limping straight on to DVD after earning critical scorn, derisive catcalls and a pitiful $10 million worldwide. So what went wrong?
Just about everything, frankly. Floods during filming, money woes during post-production, special-effects so bad you can play the mother of all drinking games while watching (take a swig of grog every time you see a terrible CG effect – just don’t come complaining to us when you’re hospitalised for liver damage). You know a movie’s doomed when the CG beasties are dire but shots of characters walking down the streets of a futuristic Chicago are worse.
Not that all the blame for Thunder’s awfulness – and, dear God, it is awful – lies in its effects: its biggest problem is the cast. Only Ben Kingsley looks like he’s having fun with his hammy turn as the millionaire who sends tourists 65 million years into the past. Leading man Edward Burns and Brit Catherine McCormack left their charisma at home during filming; their performances are so lacking that the crappy CG lizard-baboons have more accomplished facial expressions.
Audiences might take Thunder to their hearts, championing it as a movie so bad it’s actually brilliant. And, truth be told, it does play better after a few drinks. Even if it looks best when your TV is turned off.