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The Thing (2011)

  Tags: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, aliens, based on short story, creature, creature feature, Eric Heisserer, gore, Joel Edgerton, John Carpenter, Jonathan Lloyd Walker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, prequel, Strike Entertainment, the thing, thing

Your rating: None Average: 7.3 (12 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
6

TheThingOneSheet.jpg
Rating #: 
6/10
Director: 
Matthijs Van Heijningen
Runtime: 
103 minutes
Cast: 
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Dennis Storhøi, Trond Espen Seim, Jørgen Langhelle, Stig Henrik Hoff, Jan Gunnar Røise, Kristofer Hivju, Jo Adrian Haavind, Jonathan Lloyd Walker, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje


The Thing has had a long development process, as it was originally announced as a remake, then later said to be a sequel that would air on the SyFy channel as a two-part four-hour miniseries. Luckily it became neither, as we were eventually given a prequel and "re-imagining" of the series instead. Despite being a prequel, the filmmakers opted to keep the title as The Thing, which has proven to confuse movie-goers into thinking it's a remake of John Carpenter's masterpiece. Going in with doubts, to my surprise, the movie actually turned out to be a fairly entertaining watch.

The flick is set before the events of Carpenter's version, following a young American Paleontologist (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) whose hired by a team of Norwegian scientists to help examine the remains of a possible alien life form that was frozen in the deep reaches of Antarctica. While the group celebrates their amazing discovery, the creature escapes the block of ice and it's not long before fear and paranoia overtake the remaining crew.

Carpenter's vision of The Thing From Another World still remains as one of my favorite movies of all time. The man captured and perfected paranoia like no one had before him and even efforts to this day still attempt to mimic what he managed to accomplish many decades ago. This film knows it can't top its predecessor, so the filmmakers decided to go a different route by making it more of an action survival creature feature instead of the tense brilliant thriller that the 80's version was.

The direction they took actually works in its favor, as we're shown the thing in a different and a more action-oriented and bruting light. Of course this doesn't come without a price, as we're given a dumbed down version of what made the 80's pic such a mesmerizing experience. The paranoia aspect is hastily brushed over a few times and isn't a huge focus, which I guess is fine since it isn't anything the audience hasn't already seen before.

We're also given more of a variety of repulsive forms of the creature, which was a nice treat. Though, in my opinion, none of the new forms were as grotesque as we've seen it before. And as with this modern age of cinema, the great practical effects that made Carpenter's version so terrifying and memorable is now replaced by tacky CG effects, specifically when the creature transforms and reveals itself to the survivors.

Although I'll admit that not all the CG is bad, in fact, SOME of it is actually pretty decent. It really just depends on what they're trying to accomplish in the scene, but in the end it just didn't stick in one's mind like the practical effects did. The dog kennel scene from the 80's version still sends chills up my spine. 

Despite its many faults and not being as smart or as creepy as Carpenter's movie, this prequel still managed to be a fairly entertaining watch. Just be sure to leave your brain at the door and simply enjoy this for what it is -- a straight-forward creature feature.

Posted on December 3, 2011 - 10:30pm | FrighT MasteR

 

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