The Thing (2011)
Palaeontologist Kate Lloyd is propositioned to join an expedition team heading out to a remote Norwegian base camp in Antarctica where some scientists have discovered an alien ship underneath the ice, but that’s not all. Something else is frozen in the ice, an alien specimen that’s not nearly as dormant and much more dangerous than they assumed.
Over the past few months there’s been ample speculation as to whether or not this THE THING was indeed a standalone prequel to John Carpenter’s THE THING or if it was just another glamorized remake that nobody wanted to see. I can honestly say that this THING is a prequel, but I can also see why there’s been so much fuss because the situation (and end result) very much mimic the original. Personally, I loved Carpenter’s film, as a matter a fact I’m going to sit down with it tonight to enjoy the full effect both films are trying to produce. The first one is the better to be sure, for a lot of reasons, mainly for me because of Kurt Russell and of course because when John Carpenter’s on his game, he’s really on his game and delivers accordingly. His films are all or nothing for me, and THE THING was definitely one of his better works. I will say this, the prequel has its moments but it’ll be your love and interest in the original that fuels your enjoyment here.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead is no Kurt Russell but she holds her own as the palaeontologist who knows what’s what. I loved her as Ramona Flowers in SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD and even though they tried to make her look a bit “plain Jane”, she’s still a beautiful woman. Now speaking of Kurt Russell, they really tried to make Joel Edgerton’s character look and feel like Russell’s which works and doesn’t. I like him and I’m glad he’s getting so much attention lately as his smaller roles in KING ARTHUR and SMOKIN ACES impressed me. I just wish he’d been around more in the film, he didn’t say much and wasn’t there enough to really count, not to mention his character has nowhere near the charisma Russell’s did.
Most of the other human talent were cannon fodder, which neither bothered me nor came as much of a surprise. For the most part, if you’ve seen the original, you pretty much know most of them (if any) won’t be making it out of there alive. What gets me here though is that I know these guys are scientists and I know finding an alien spacecraft as well as an alien life form is a big deal, but why not call it in when things start to go awry? They probably don’t want the government to come in a cease everything and I get that, but you can still be smart about it to ensure you not only get the credit and find…but actually live to tell about it. And I don’t know about any of you, but if I cut an alien out of the ice that looked like this one does and was as big and ugly as this one is, I sure wouldn’t be prodding it for a tissue sample or keeping it inside so the ice could melt. Talk about a room full of stupid smart people.
THE THING establishes itself rather nicely as a prequel despite the familiar recipe. The tension and darkness are present in the atmosphere but never seem to reach that special brooding pitch the first one had (that said, it’s different when you know what’s coming so I guess we can’t nitpick). The creature itself looked similar enough to the original with a tweak here and there, and why not, we’ve got thirty years of special effects on the first one so there’s nothing wrong with flexing a little muscle. Again, credit is due here simply because there are some terrifying moments of fear and wide eyed terror, an impressive feat considering how much of the cat was already out of the bag. The ending pays homage to the original which I also feel helps distinguish the two, not to mention adds a familiar bit of fun. It’s also worth mentioning that although the alien spacecraft didn’t blow my mind, the particle puzzle thing was pretty cool. We’re rather short on horror this Halloween so I’d totally recommend you see this instead of say PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3, at least you’ll get a couple good scares and some real action.