Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Thing (2011)

         Joel Edgerton
          Ulrich Thomsen
Summary: At an Antarctica research site, the discovery of an alien craft leads to a confrontation between graduate student Kate Lloyd and scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson. (via imdb). 
Okay, I don't know who's been writing summaries on imdb lately, but this is yet another underwhelming description. The long and short of it is that this is a prequel to the 1982 John Carpenter masterpiece, also, confusingly, named The Thing, which is in turn a remake of a 1951 sci-fi classic, The Thing From Another World. I was a bit worried when this was announced, especially when they announced the director, who is handling big time chores for the first time. 
I am happy to report that not only does this film honor Carpenter's film, it enhances it. The  movie is set in 1982, shortly before the beginning of the other. What we get to see is the parts only hinted at and inferred in the original (remake) version. It looks so much like a 1980s film (in a good way) that it makes me question if the producers have somehow mastered time travel. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is, in turns, charming and badass as the paleontologist brought in to study a found alien artifact. I don't want to get into spoilers, but if you've seen the '82 version, you can kind of guess what happens. It also ends exactly the way fans of Carpenter's film would hope.
All in all, the child is equal to the sum of its parents, both outstanding achievements of their respective times. If I have any gripes at all, it would be that there wasn't a lot of mystery for me going into this, as I knew what to expect from the creature. Also, although the effects were good, they still prove that CGI is less than practical effects when things are happening that practical effects can do just as well. Seriously, watch the '82 and then watch this. I think you'll agree.
I thoroughly enjoyed this take on the story and especially how well it homaged and tied into its progenitor. I give it a 9 out of 10. Go out and see it when it hits a theater near you.

UPDATE - It's easy to get caught up in the swell of things when you walk out of a screening high on the theater experience. It's also been a while since I watched the '82 film. So I've mulled it over a bit and then popped in the Carpenter version, and I have a few new things to say.
#1 The CGI is really not as effective as the practical effects. It's even more amazing to see what they were able to do in '82 without any computer aided imaging. The claustrophobic, shut off from the world, feeling is a lot more prevalent in the earlier film too. Part of it is that if you saw '82, you already know almost everything that's going to happen before it does. Some of that escaped my mind in the intervening years, but that leads me into the next thing...
#2 I have to give big kudos to the prequel for its attention to detail. They had the daunting task of making sure that everything we saw when the Americans visited the Norwegian camp is explained and accounted for in the prequel. That, they did an excellent job of. I'm sure if I spent several hours overanalyzing the sequences (as I'm sure some basement dweller somewhere will eventually do) I would be able to point out the differences, but it seemed pretty seamless to me. 
All the above has altered my score some (for the worse I'm afraid), but I did still enjoy it, and will definitely watch it again. It takes a big man to admit he's wrong, but luckily, I'm a big man. Revised score 7 out of 10, mostly for the CGI. The amazing work of nearly 30 years ago not only holds up, it surpasses.


  1. I don't want to say my opinion of the film here. I just wanna say that I think we'll be going for 2 Rounds during episode 4 of Slashercast

  2. I'm sorry if you did the update just because of my first post....never give in to man! Fight the good fight...and all that.

  3. Nah, it was an honest reaction to rewatching the '82 version. My feelings were doused in a bucket of cold "man they just did these effects so much better in the old days" water.