The Thing (2011)
About a year ago, two things (no pun intended) happened that connect me to this month’s The Thing. First, I was at a panel at New York Comic Con where the cast and director of The Thing talked about the movie. They explained how and why the movie wasn’t a remake and how much they respected what John Carpenter had done with his version of the story. Secondly, I reviewed John Carpenter’s The Thing (https://damrb.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/director-spotlight-john-carpenters-the-thing) for our John Carpenter Director’s Spotlight. I’m a big fan of Carpenter’s movie and the story it was originally based on. Carpenter’s The Thing is a remake of 1951’s The Thing From Another World, which itself is based on a classic science fiction novella called Who Goes There?. They all basically tell the same story, an alien creature crash lands in the Antarctic and is discovered by scientists. Each version of the story adds it’s own unique vision and The Thing stands in good company.
It’s 1982 and deep in the snowy wasteland of Antarctica, a team of Norwegian scientists lead by Dr. Sander Halverson (Ulrich Thompson) accidentally discovers a crashed spaceship buried deep underground. They also find an alien creature that escaped from the ship, seemingly died from exposure and was frozen solid in the snow and ice. The Norwegians bring in an expert on ancient species from the United States, Dr. Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) because the creature and the spaceship they found under the ice has been buried for at least 100,000 years. As the team investigates their discoveries, they find that the alien creature wasn’t dead and it’s definitely not friendly. The creature is a shape-shifter and by violently absorbing it’s victims, it can mimic any life form.
This movie is ¾ prequel mixed with ¼ remake. It’s a good horror and science fiction movie that was made for fans of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Being a fan of the other movies, I was expecting the worst from this movie and was quite surprised that this was both a good story and very respectful of the horror classic from 1982. In some ways, The Thing is the perfect prequel. It tells it’s own story while still being connected to the movie that inspired it. There a lot of little touches in this movie that fans of the original will instantly pick up on (I won’t ruin the fun of catching them. Keep your eyes open and stay for the credits.) and new viewers are in for a wild ride. The monster looks great (we see the creature in it’s natural form for a few scenes) and the special effects and make-up are outstanding. Usually, I’m not a fan of horror movies with mostly CGI special effects, but The Thing uses the technology well. Except for a few scenes of silliness, the effects work. The cast is good in this and a few performances stood out for me. Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kelly, who I have not seen in anything else, does a great job of leading the cast as a Sarah Conner from Terminator or Ripley from Aliens type of movie heroine. Joel Edgerton (Uncle Owen from the Star Wars prequels and Warrior) also gives a good performance as Sam, an American pilot hired to take Kelly to the Norwegian camp.
The Thing is a good horror movie and the perfect prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing.