Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Film Review: The Thing (2011)


In a place where there is nothing. They found SomeTHING.

There is plenty of hate going around for this prequel of John Carpenter's The Thing...called...The Thing...which incidentally is a remake of The Thing From Another World...which has borrowed its story from the 1938 science-fiction novella "Who Goes There?" and has absolutely nothing to do with The Fantastic Four's "The Thing". Haters gonna hate.

If you've seen John Carpenter's original masterpiece...then, there's really no need to go into the premise when you hear the word prequel. If you haven't seen John Carpenter's original...then, well...all hope is lost with you, my friend. However, for the uninitiated...this new film takes place before the events of Carpenter's original.

The film opens very nicely. Some Norwegians in one of those yellow snow vehicles are searching for something in the arctic using what appears to be some kind of spaceship detector. Well...they find something...and before you can LOL at the joke they share, they fall into a crack in the snowy surface and wedge themselves before what appears to be----THE THING logo flashes onto the screen. And, I have to say...I got pretty frickin' excited. Just seeing the logo appear was enough for me to abandon any cynicism I had going into the film and invest all of my new found interest into what I was about to watch.


Mary Elizabeth Winstead is hot. There's nothing about her that isn't hot. I mean...just look at that picture above. I imagine her reaching a sexy climax while fighting off a gory "the thing" during one of the confrontations with the shape-shifting alien. Even in the snowy unsexiness of the sub-arctic where you have to pile on layers of unsexy clothing...she still manages to be hot. I very much enjoy her in any film. Well, here she plays excavation scientist graduate Kate Loyd, who is recruited by douchey scientist, Dr. Sander Halvorson (played with exquisite doucheyness by Ulrich Thomsen) to go off to Antarctica and help excavate what appears to be the find of the century.

With the persuasion of her buddy (Eric Christian Olsen), Kate travels to Antarctica to help out. Once she arrives she is treated, as are we, to the spacecraft that was shown in the original. Seriously, as a Carpenter geek...I dare you to try not to geek out at this mythical sight. It's pretty damn awesome and gets the juices flowing for this installment back to what once was. Anyway, they end up excavating what appears to be a "thing" trying to make a break for it but, ultimately falling victim to mother nature being encased in a block of ice. Douchey scientist demands a tissue sample...which most likely ended up waking up the "thing" and we proceed with the action portion of the film.

Now, here's the part where I say (as a professional reviewer of film)...OMG...this prequel replicates everything that Carpenter already did in the original. Therefore, it sucks all kinds of suck. However...no. It doesn't suck. In fact...I rather much enjoyed it. I saw it as a nice complementary piece to the original. Albeit an unnecessary complementary piece. Still, it was nice to go back into the world that Carpenter created with his masterpiece.


There are several elements of dumb logic on display in this foray. If you are the "thing" and you are trying to get to the mainland to further "infect" and take over the human populace and you are disguised as one of the humans...why on this Earth...or any Earth, for that matter, would you deliberately blow your cover and crash land the best way of achieving your goal. That part didn't make any sense and pretty much betrayed any sense of alien superiority established in the first film.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is hot.

The gory practical special F/X are pretty awesome and worked fine with the blending of CGI...up until the third act...and the acting is pretty solid. I did enjoy Joel Edgerton's Carter for the most part...until he grabbed the wrong ear.

OH! (there may be some spoilers concerning this film and the original ahead)

That reminds me. The earring! I liked this film all the better because it helped solve the age old question of Childs being a "the thing" in the first The Thing! He's wearing a fucking earring! So, he couldn't be a "the thing"! Trust me...after I watched this new The Thing...I jumped in my truck and sped all the way home to pop in my copy of John Carpenter's The Thing in order to prove my theory based on the logic that this new installment offers. These alien "things" cannot replicate anything that isn't organic...hence the clever tooth-filling scene in the new The Thing...and hence Childs wearing an earring at the end of John Carpenter's The Thing! So, you see...decades of me thinking that Childs is the "thing" has been wiped clean and now we can all go back to our everyday lives.


So, anyway...along with the stupid plot stumbles, there were a few things that I didn't care for. Like Kate going back into the spacecraft and encountering that futuristic Tetris thing then, hiding in the air conditioning of said spacecraft in order to escape the "thing". I didn't like the lack of symmetry of this new theory of what might have happened in the Norwegian outpost prior to the events of the original. They could have done a number of different things to both satisfy the Carpenter geeks...as well as create a complete logical offering with this apparent prelude. Especially since they took such great care to weave the prequel into Carpenter's film with all the detail they injected. Missed opportunity.

Still...it is a fun little film that takes you back into the world that Carpenter created back in 1982. Yes...it is sometimes dumb. Yes...it copies most of the original's main plot elements (it is...after all, a prequel). And yes...they could've approached the finale much smarter. But, it's still a very competent film born from the shear love of what the original set out to do. To entertain and scare. It is also important to note that most critics hated the original when it was first released. So, by that measure...this new The Thing will surely go down as a classic....right? Not really. But, it is a decent time...even tho unnecessary.

AND(!!!)....CHILDS IS HUMAN!

3 out of 5


Thanks for reading,


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You make us weak, Ramona Flowers...

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