The Thing Movie Review

The Thing Movie Review


New Movie Release 2011’s “The Thing” is, confusingly, a prequel to 1982’s “The Thing.” It’s a similar movie in that it has similar effects, existentialism, and body horror. Unfortunately, this upcoming movie also forgets about important things like tension, character, and humor – the very same things that made director John Carpenter’s first movie such a big success. Young viewers who haven’t seen the older movie or a movie clip of the older movie may initially flock to the box office but it’s doubtful that “The Thing” 2011 is going to have the same effect as “The Thing” 1982.

The new movie is similar to the first in that it’s inspired by an original 1938 short story by John W. Campbell entitled “Who Goes There?” It’s about a group of scientists in the Antarctic who find a spaceship which has crashed and carries the body of a passenger who’s been frozen for 10,000 years. It turns out that the passenger is alive, and when thawed, can not only change his shape, but can also imitate the voice, shape, and memory of anyone else. Pretty soon, all of the people on the Antarctic base are afraid of which person on the base might be “The Thing.” The shape shifting plot comes from Campbell’s story. In an earlier film (1951), directed by Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks, the creature was acted by James Arness but there was no shape-shifting.

A lot of this new movie picture is the same as the first – the set, design of the creature, snow-filled wastelands, and horrible transformations. Of course director Matthijs van Henningen, Jr., can use computer side effects, something not available to Carpenter and the team of the 1982 movie (the team also included Rob Bottin and Stan Winston). It’s unfortunate that the computer aided work sometimes doesn’t have the same effect as say, Bottin’s handiwork made of horrible rubber and goo.

The heroine of the movie is a vertebrate paleontologist played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She’s a tough dame much like Sigourney Weaver. Joel Edgarton plays the chopper pilot. This new film doesn’t have enough story line for the crew. None of the supporting cast gets the realism exhibited by Wilford Brimley, Richard, Masur, Keith David, or Donald Moffat from the older version. One nice thing the new “The Thing” brings to the table is a mad scientist played by Ulrich Thomsen who thinks that the creature should be studied without any interference from the outside, a little pride which leads to big horror in the classic B-movie way.

There’s only one big mistake in the script by Eric Heiserrer. Most of it is very smart. At one point Winstead gets away from the creature by going around a corner which is unreachable to the creature. Since we already know that it can take off its own limbs and use them as murder weapons or stretch them like chewing gum, this idea is rather ridiculous. 2011’s “The Thing” is not a really awful movie. It’s better than, say, another “Saw” film. It’s just that the original is so much better. No matter how much you’re enjoying it you know that you’re watching something that was done better before. No matter how much viewers are going to enjoy this new movie, they’re still going to know that it’s just an imitation of a wonderful classic.


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