First thing you should know before deciding upon if you should view this movie is that it did its damnedest to stay true to the 1982 version — which was the smart thing to do.  Clearly, they were well aware of the fan following of Mr. Carpenter’s version and knew not to screw with the fans who know everything — including every line to the 1982 film.  So, rule number one of sequels (this is still technically a sequel) was not broken:  do not, no matter how much you might want to, forget why the first one was successful and commence to mess it up.  However, you also don’t want to simply copy the first one and throw in CGI and a female lead — which is pretty much what happened.

It all starts with that dang block of ice doesn’t it?  Yes, even though The Thing 2011 is a prequel to John Carpenter’s version in 1982 (which was a pseudo remake of the 1951 version titled “The Thing from Another World“), the concept of opening up Pandora’s box — or in this case, a slab of ice — never ends well.

In this version we have our heroine Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, of Final Destination 3 fame) who is reluctantly sent to Antarctica to assist in a Norwegian dig of a spaceship and an unknown life form frozen in a block of ice.  Her nemesis, Dr. Halvorson however, informs her pretty quickly that she is only there to assist in digging up the specimen and “not to think”.  Nice.  What bugs me about this is that younger people (specifically this movies screen writers) seem to think that 1982 was horrific in terms of women’s rights.  Well, they weren’t perfect then and they aren’t now, but how about you learn a little history — starting with say, 60 years ago and keep going back — then let’s talk, shall we?  But once again, I digress.

As much as I love John Carpenter’s version, I was quite surprised that I only found two things to bitch about in this one — but they are important.

The first flaw in this adaptation is the number of people at the Norwegian station.  There are so many characters that you lose the intimacy that John Carpenter’s version captured so perfectly.  There are no moments of normalcy in their rooms watching TV and smoking weed or tooling around on roller skates.  Instead, all you have is a lot of people shooting pool and drinking like fish in a common room.  Another  problem with this many characters is that during the chaos you also tend lose track of who dies and how, but hey, maybe that was just me.

The second flaw is how Kate figures out what is going on — i.e. what The Thing is and what it does.  I cannot for the life of me understand how a group of scientists who claim to want to rely only on science to solve the puzzle of The Thing completely dismiss what was seen under a microscope.  Worse, didn’t even think to look again.  Without giving too much away, suffice it to say that Kate’s discovery of how The Thing operates is a novice and intelligence insulting attempt to not copy the 1982 version of discovery.  Well, at least they tried.

Anyway, if you are a fan of the 1982 film of course you are going to watch this one.  Just understand that although the creature effects are good (as they damn well should be) the movie really isn’t a whole lot more than a re-do of the 1982 version while at the same time trying to keep symmetry with the fact that it’s a prequel.  I do give them mad props on taking the pains to make sure every little detail leading up to the 1982 version was spot on and that they at least tried to make a good movie, even though they had some really big hype to live up to.

Advertisements