Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay if you're not expecting much, but nothing you really need to see, 7 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Thing (2011) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
John Carpenter's remake of The Thing from Another World was met with box-office failure and disappointed reviews even from his cheerleaders, all but killing off his big-budget mainstream aspirations, only to stage a surprising resurrection on video and even more surprisingly eventually overshadowing the original's reputation. The 2011 prequel that unhelpfully shares the same title, The Thing, was met with similar box-office and critical failure, but it's doubtful the indifference it was met with will be reversed in time. Not that Matthijs van Heijnengen Jr.'s film is particularly bad. It isn't, but a solid, decently crafted if somewhat over-reverential reworking of the original film was never going to have as much impact. Following the ill-fated Norwegian researchers who first discovered the Thing and leading Up to the very first shot of Carpenter's film, it's half-remake rather than adding much to the story. Once again characters are fairly thinly drawn, with only Mary Elizabeth Winstead's palaeontologist, Ulrich Thomsen's chief scientist and Joel Edgerton's helicopter pilot getting anything in the way of characterisation. While the first two are fine in their lead roles, in a thinly disguised but less charismatic clone of Kurt Russell's role in the Carpenter film Edgerton, often a powerful presence in Australian films when given something to work with, is disappointingly bland and ineffectual, though not fatally so. As for the others, their distinguishing characteristics are limited to beard, cockney accent, doesn't speak English, token woman, black...

With the rest of the cast creature bait, it's all down to the execution. van Heijnengen is good at drawing out capable performances and recreating the look and surface feel of the 1982 film thanks to fine cinematography by Michel Abramowicz that compliments and at times directly duplicates Dean Cundey's original work (but doesn't look its best in the rather flat Blu-ray transfer) and production design that scrupulously replicates the original film (though the spaceship exteriors are distinctly underwhelming), but he can't bring the sense of mounting dread that his predecessor managed. Nor do the advances in special effects bring much to the film. Thanks to fluid CGi enhancing the on-set animatronics we see a lot more of the Thing in its natural state, but the wow factor of the original film's mechanical effects is noticeably absent. The end result is a pointless but efficiently executed film that doesn't do much that's new, rarely genuinely excites but doesn't bore either. Had Carpenter or Hawks never made their films it may have seemed a bit better, but as it stands it's just an average, acceptable sci-fi horror film that passes muster if you're not expecting much from it rather than one you'll remember in a week's time let alone a decade or two. If okay is enough for you it may be worth a look, but otherwise you don't really need to see it.

As expected for a box-office failure, extras on the disc are perfunctory and show minimal effort: audio commentary, a superficial making of puff piece, a featurette on technical advances in safely setting stunt performers on fire that focuses on the death of one character that was cut out of the film and which features in the mostly dispensable deleted scenes, which also shows what happened to the suicidal radio operator discovered frozen in his chair in the original film. That a couple of deaths in a horror film and the fates of two characters were deemed dispensable tells its own story.
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3.6 out of 5 stars (145 customer reviews)
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Trevor Willsmer
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Location: London, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 66