Movie review of The Thing remake 2011 | Gamerillaz

The Thing

The Thing
 

If there was ever a movie that didnt need a prequel sequel remake or reboot, then John Carpenter’s The Thing is that movie. It hasnt really dated, there’s no franchise potential, it’s a entirely self-contained horror cinema capsule. But it’s been 30 years, it was a remake itself and seeing as JC is currently chuntering out abysmal dreck like The Ward, why not let some other ballsy soul have a crack at a bit of claustrophic paranoid arctic body horror? Initial reports sounded ominous…delayed release dates, cg effects, unknown cast and crew of assorted scandinavians..it seemed a direct-to-dvd fate awaited the bearded mutant pretender. But it’s arrived, and while it may not be as much fun as a kennel full of exploding huskies it’s a lot better than we feared.

Confusingly it’s not a remake, despite the identical title, but a prequel detailing the fate of the unfortunate norwegian crew found frozen and deceased by Kurt Russel at the start of the 1982 version. The norwegians (and a few americans dropped in to prevent too many subtitles happening to the audience) find the entombed alien craft and drag what appears to be a giant block of ice containing a giant beetle back to base. They faff about with the refrigerated intergalactic pikey for a while, have a few bevvies and next thing there are tentacles, screaming mutations and mighty morphing human heads all over the place. The story plays out very similarly to the original..there are few surprises but it’s competently put together and moves along briskly after the first human vs gribly alien tentacle interface. The special effects…well they are cg but they really are exceptionally squidgy and impressively gross. They can’t compare to Rob Bottin’s deranged latex symphony from 1982…as always the computer-generated elements somehow don’t seem to inhabit precisely the same reality as the rest of the on screen elements, but it’s an almost subconscious thing and the variety of twisted alien simulacra are impressive. They seem to share more visual dna with the insectile squawking necromorphs of Dead Space than the flowing slithering madness of the earlier movie’s setpieces (both movies do share a disappointing end level baddie though)
The weaknesses of the movie are some of the 1982 films strengths….we know how the narrative will ultimately pan out, and while it’s mildly neat watching the movie set out the pieces for its 30-years-ago sequel, there’s not a lot of ┬áreal suspense. There is little feel of the almost outer space remoteness of the location, and it’s hard to keep track of ┬álarge cast mostly comprised of interchangeable weathered blokes. The performances are adequate – the lead is the girl from Scott Pilgrim vs The World, so she’s used to sharing the screen with abberant almost-human lifeforms, and there’s a sphincter-eyed american chopper pilot who seems so similar to Kurt Russell that I managed to convince myself the writers had somehow managed to write Macready into the prequel by mistake and would have to concoct some kind of contrived head injury to induce amnesia to fit the earlier movie’s narrative.

 

To sum up, then, it’s a respectful if unnecessary companion piece to the John Carpenter version, and well worth a rent, but we wont be praising its virtues in 2042.
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