The Thing - Review

In general, i have nothing against prequels. They can give the viewer great new insights into beloved and interesting characters, like for example Don Vito's backstory in "The Godfather Part II".
But when i heard that there was going to be a sequel for "John Carpenter's The Thing" (which i am going to refer to as the original "Thing"), i was more or less intially repelled by it. Especially, when i saw the first trailer, that showed us exactly every person that was going to transform into the creature and therefore completely destroyed any tension. GREAT JOB YOU IDIOTS! Those trailer editors should have been fired right away if you ask me.
But alright, let's be fair and see how this prequel (remake) holds up.

The plot:
Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has traveled to the desolate region for the expedition of her lifetime. Joining a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago. But it is about to wake up. When a simple experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, Kate must join the crew's pilot, Carter (Joel Edgerton), to keep it from killing them off one at a time... (source: RT)

The storyline of the new "Thing" completely focuses on the Norwegian research station, whose remains have been shown in the original "Thing".
Right from the start, this prequel made no sense to me:
The unknown happenings on the Norwegian station in the original "Thing" served as a great tension building mystery. Uncovering it now in this prequel only takes away from our imagination of what could have happened there.
Although the choice of doing a prequel is still better than doing a remake, 2011's "Thing" can't resist to keep stealing massively from John Carpenter's original:
Many scenes like the "test-scene" and "dog scene" have been copied even though slightly changed (like the test-method to check whether or not you are an alien, though drastically flawed).

Storywise, there's not much to talk about here. The narrative structure completely follows the course of the original: Discovering the thing, isolating the thing, killing the thing. A little something different would have been nice, but yet still, it's okay compared to my biggest complaint about this prequel:

My biggest complaint about this movie is that the film's director very obviously didn't understand why John Carpenter's original worked.
In the original, the thing was a creature that doesn't want to be spotted. Everytime the thing got spotted, it was not in the creatures intention and most of the time it was just caught in the act of absorbption. Additionally, it did kill the scientists in a more stealthy way...SO THAT IT CANNOT BE SPOTTED. Therefore, when the thing actually DOES attack, it comes right the fuck out of nowhere. Think "Invasion of the Body Snatchers".
The prequel has everything about this idea wrong. The thing constantly blows its cover, always transforming BACK to its monster form to slaughter the scientists. It's not even like the thing got accidently caught, but just like the thing is...stupid and didn't even try! The sneaky killing style of the creature gets totally lost in the obsessive over-the top gory depictions of the kills, which brings me to my next complaint...the effects.

The effects (mostly concerning the thing) suffer from the same problem that each remake/prequel suffers from, when its remaking an 80's classic horror film --> an execssive overuse of CGI (like the "Nightmare on Elm Street" remake). The creature is of course completely CG. While still creepy looking and true to the original designs, the effects of the original are far superior. You only got to see the creature in bad lighting and only got to see glimpses of it, hindering you to get a full look. Mostly you had to hold on to your imagination to complete the picture.
Obviously, director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. thought to himself: "Hey! Now that we have CGI, we can show the audience the complete monster....ALWAYS!". The thing's appearance is simply far more effective when NOT shown completely, but that's just another aspect that the director didn't get.
Additionally, the effects look pretty dated most of the time compared to the best CG out there nowadays.

The acting is pretty ok as far as horror movies go. But it's the script that's causing most of the problems, resulting in you not caring for ANYONE in the film to live or die.
The story fails to try anything new and mostly mimics the Carpenter original (that's why it's more like a remake/prequel). There wouldn't be that much wrong with that, except that when it actually DOES try to do something new, it's mostly very rushed and/or executed the wrong way.
Also i was pretty disappointed that, although it's about a Norwegian station, they still had to involve Americans
(I mean the Norwegians found an alien and so they get an AMERICAN paleontologist to help them...are there no Norwegian paleontologists they could get??? Wouldn't they want to keep this thing at least under their national control??)

To sum it all up, 2011's remake/prequel of "John Carpenter's The Thing" is of course far inferior to Carpenter's original. Not only does the 2011 version tell a prequel story that better shouldn't have been told, but it's also executed the wrong way for the most part. With the creature being probably the most important "character" about the movie, director van Heijningen completely got the thing wrong and instead entirely relied on lousy CG effects.
And while this flick does actually try one or two new things, they are far not imaginative or fresh enough to make up for the movie's numerous flaws.

I only recommend this movie to fans of the Carpenter original, who want to see this movie out of sheer curiosity. Therefore, it could be an interesting watch (if you are aware of it being a far inferior film). For everyone else, there are far better horror movie's out there. You are better off watching Carpenter's version again than this lousy prequel to "The Thing".

Final Verdict: 3 out of 10


No comments:

Post a Comment