The Thing (2011)
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Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) joins a Norwegian scientific team in Antarctica that has discovered an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, and an organism that seems to have died in the crash. When an experiment frees the alien, a shape-shifting creature with the ability to turn itself into a perfect replica of any living being, Kate must join the crew’s pilot, Carter (Joel Edgerton), to keep it from killing them off one at a time. Paranoia soon spreads like an epidemic as they’re infected, one by one, and a thrilling race for survival begins… The Thing is a prelude to John Carpenter’s classic 1982 film of the same name.
- Deleted/Extended Scenes:
Two Phone Calls
Come In, Over!
That's Not Karl
Start the Helicopter Now
- The Thing Evolves
- Fire and Ice
- Feature Commentary with Director Matthijs Van Heijningen and Producer Eric Newman
Rather than opting to remake a classic of yesteryear, the team behind 2011’s The Thing had other ideas. Appreciating that, in particular, John Carpenter’s exceptional 1982 horror film would still be lodged in people’s minds, the plan here was to avoid the idea of simply redoing it. Instead, for this new The Thing, the story has been set earlier, making it a prequel to the earlier film.
It’s completely standalone, too, joining a team stationed at an Antarctic outpost that soon unearths something really quite extraordinary. Turns out, given that this is a movie, it’s the kind of thing they soon wish they hadn’t uncovered, as they find themselves stuck in the middle of nowhere, facing a very deadly foe. You can probably work out what that foe may be.
It all works a lot better than you may fear, too, perhaps over-relying on CG over practical effects, but still generating jumps and tension. The DVD presentation looks stunning at its best, too, with the barren, white landscape crisply presented.
The disc also boasts an interesting commentary, featuring director Matthijs van Heijningen, which dissects the film in an accessible manner. You sense that some sizeable stories have been left untold here, but it’s well worth a listen nonetheless. The other supplements are less bountiful, although they do at one stage dig into why the project was embarked upon in the first place.
After all, the truth is that this new film of The Thing is no much for John Carpenter’s earlier remake. But it’s still a carefully crafted, respectful and surprisingly appropriate prequel. --Jon Foster
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When John Carpenter released 'The Thing' in 1982 fans of the Campbell book and the Howard Hawks 1951 film complained that the creepy atmosphere had been sacrificed to special effects. In the novella the alien is four foot tall, three-eyed, blue-skinned, tentacle-armed with thin lips and snake teeth; crucially, though, it can read minds and clone a human or animal from a drop of its own blood. In the Hawks adaptation its brief appearances seem to suggest the Frankenstein monster. But Carpenter went some way in getting the creature's modus operandi right and making Campbell's rather incoherent story (he was forced to juggle a lot of characters who might or might not have been the monster) easier to follow.
One would have hoped that this high-budget reboot (pitched as a prequel) could have resolved the issues of impressive creature versus the sweaty atmosphere of testosterone-fuelled men camped together in the Antarctic having to isolate themselves further and further to contain a threat to the rest of the world. Except this source of tension has to go because this is 2011 and two women have been injected into the story, one of whom is the hero. Now their presence among these sex-starved characters - one or more of which might be a rabid alien - could have been made into a tension-builder by a more skilled director, if not a clever comment on human sexuality, but despite a remark made early on not much is made of the situation.
Otherwise, besides populating the camp with many Norwegians and a more-or-less by-the-numbers shadowing of Carpenter's achievement, little has changed in the van Heijningen version, and what has is not always for the better. Indeed, it starts off wrong-footed with an off-colour joke and never quite recovers. Fans of previous versions may wonder what happened to all the dogs (the book had huskies, cattle and even an albatross). The presence of the sole dog here proves eventually a pretext for a groaningly weak twist. And the all-too-visceral monster which fans of the novella complained about in the Carpenter version reappears here in spades, complete with the sort of chase sequences all too familiar in post-'Alien' sci-fi flicks.
But if you like science fiction films and can't find better this is worth watching for nothing. It is entertaining if you don't think too hard - but also quite forgettable. The bottom line, though, is that a rare opportunity for a classic version of the story has been sadly missed.
And i think they did a good job of this one. Its pretty much a pure remake, under the premise of being a prequel.
The prequel aspect is pretty good, showing us what happened at the Norwegian station (worth watching the extras to see the lengths they went to).
And emulating the originals plot means it cant really go wrong in that area.
The special effects are ok, with what seems a limit on CGI (the 82 thing still has convincing effects to this date)
IMO this isnt just worth a watch, its thoroughly enjoyable.