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Film Review: The Thing (2011)

2012/01/16

First off let me start by saying I am just as many, many people out there a HUGE fan of the original film, “John Carpenter’s: The Thing,” but I will, to the best of my ability, not allow this fact to judge my review of this film. In addition I will most likely reveal certain key elements of the film in this review but will be sure to mark them clearly with **SPOILERS** cool? Alright.

Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.‘s “The Thing” tries very hard to add to the already stunning film adaptation of John W. Campbell Jr.‘s novel, “Who Goes There?” rather than reinvent the wheel. It uses much of the original film’s soundtrack, sets, logic and story elements with a few added twists. I have to say I really respect the fact that the Director insisted that, against the studios request, they do a prequel rather than a remake as the original is perfect in many people’s minds. I also have to acknowledge that part of the reason the main character in this film is female is to be the anti-thesis to Kurt Russell’s Macready in the original film, instead of just trying to reproduce Russel’s character. Both those points make my feelings towards this film a little less bias as clearly the people who made this film want to show that they’re not stepping on anyone’s toes, yet still trying to make a fun popcorn flick, and that’s really what this film is.

The story starts off with The Norwegian crew, seen briefly at the beginning of the original film, discovering the alien ship and subsequently the alien or ‘Thing” that came from it and for some reason decide to call an American scientist in to help, who is neither the best in her field nor close in proximity to the site, but is recommended by the expedition leader’s assistant, (apparently assistants have a lot of pull). Logic aside, Eventually they extract the “Thing” From the ice and the terror begins almost immediately and after a short explanation and a little scientific work, the main protagonist Kate realizes that the Thing can duplicate itself into any biological form it kills. The first of my issues with the film was the reliance of the main character, part of the main appeal of the original film was that it wasn’t only following one character but rather a series of characters that are working together while trying to figure out who’s the Thing, even at the end of the Original we don’t know if our Main Character Kurt Russel is the Thing or not. Having the main character only one person eliminates her as the threat and thus takes any real suspense off the table, that being said the number of characters is a little much, to the point that there are so many people dying that you don’t have time to create an affection towards them. Other than that it’s really just a crap shoot of who’s the Thing now, so much to the point that whenever a character who has been proven NOT to be the Thing is alone with someone who hasn’t been eliminated as a suspect they almost always are. Because of this it becomes safe to assume that any character that goes missing for more than a minute and shows up again was most defiantly turned into the Thing.

Again I could dissect the film to a pulp with my opinions in comparison to the original but the main point is to look at it independently, the mood of the film is tense and dark, the soundtrack is mood setting but forgettable (except for the parts taken from the original, sorry) the acting is pretty good, especially from the supporting Norwegians, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, not so much. Another concern is the general ending where we **SPOILERS** see the main character get into a car and then cut to black, we never find out what happens **SPOILERS DONE** kinda annoyed me. But the credits film shows the connection to the original which was kinda cool.

Ultimately it was fun and spooky, not worth a buy but if you’re a fan of the original worth checking out.

My Verdict? Mint Bubblegum! It tastes good but not great, you chew it but you don’t swallow anything.

6.5/10

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