Sunday, October 16, 2011


While presenting itself as a prequel, the 2011 'The Thing' is basically a remake of John Carpenter's 1982 The Thing, which was itself a remake of Howard Hawks' The Thing from Another World from 1951.  That's right, a remake of a remake (hey, it's been done - look at Invasion of the Body Snatchers).  The story of "Thing 2011" takes place in the cold tundras of Antarctica, right before the Carpenter version; the 1982 movie begins with a Norwegian dying in a helicopter explosion, so what we see in "Thing 2011" is the before-math of the blown-up Norwegian camp and how its crew dealt with the crazy shape-shifting alien they find chillin' under the ice.  The only problem is that this pre-make lacks any of the depth or intensity that made Carpenter's version so great.  

The first thing that's wrong is the cast.  If we're talking logistics here, it probably should've been an all-Norweigan cast - or at least people who look Norwegian and do the accents.  Although it was kind of a sausage-fest, what made the 1982 Thing feel real was that the cast of characters didn't really look that attractive; I mean, there's Kurt Russell, but nobody seems as though they were dolled up for their close ups.  Despite there being a crew of bearded lumberjack-type dudes, in Thing 2011 of course there has to be two young, attractive "leads" to headline the picture (one of whom, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, is probably one of the most attractive young actresses in movies today - not exactly "fitting in" with the established world - and the other is Eric Christian Olsen, the guy who always plays a douche bag in every movie he's in most likely because he is one); it's a studio decision that is so transparent you can't help but be taken out of the movie.

Even though the special effects were eye-catching in a grotesque kind of way, far too much CGI was used on the creatures.  This film doesn't hold a peanut to Rob Bottin's effects work on the 1982 version (possibly the best practical creature effects of all time).  It's mind boggling why they chose this property to re-vamp, because the creatures in the 1982 version seem as though they're as good as creatures are ever going to look in movies - at least try something new!  This is really just about remaking a film solely for the sake of making more money.  Cast two attractive lead actors (of opposite sex to attract both boys and girls), put in a creature that looks like it's from a video game (hey, it's easier than making the damn thing!), throw in a few jump-scares, and somehow tie it in with the original to please those few "fans" out there in the audience, and you've got your classic disappointing remake.  The Thing 2011 is horror-by-numbers and any serious fan of Carpenter's version should want this movie flame-throwered to death.

Rating: D+

1 comment:

  1. The cast is almost entirely dispensable. It gears up the carnage and the interchangeable Norwegians/Americans (strangely, nationality is no help in telling the characters apart) start dying fast before the genuine paranoia sets in.


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