THE THING (2011)
An American paleontologist and a team of Norwegian scientists fight for their lives against a shape-shifting extraterrestrial that can perfectly mimic any living creature in this prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 horror classic. Upon receiving word that the Antarctic research team has unearthed an alien craft, paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) joins the group to explore what secrets the ship might hold. Though by Kate's estimation the creature inside the spaceship has been dead for centuries, it has actually just been lying dormant in the ice. Perfectly preserved, it has awaited the day when it would finally be freed from its frigid prison; now, after eons of lying in wait, that day has finally come. Suddenly revived during a crucial experiment, the malevolent alien begins methodically mimicking each member of the crew undetected. By the time Kate realizes the frightening implications of the creature's unique ability, it may already be too late. As paranoia among the crew begins to intensify, it's up to Kate and the crew's helicopter pilot, Carter (Joel Edgerton), to make sure the extraterrestrial menace is exterminated before it has the opportunity to escape -- for, should it manage to make its way to a heavily populated area, humanity's days may be numbered. Matthijs Van Heijningen Jr. makes his feature directorial debut from a script by Eric Heisserer and Battlestar Galactica's Ronald D. Moore. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Eric Christian Olsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Release Date: Oct 14, 2011
Rated R for Strong creature violence and gore, disturbing images and language
Runtime: 1 hr. 43 min.
Genres: Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
The Thing prequel was always going to be a dicey subject for me since Carpenter’s remake from the 80’s is one of my top 3 favorite horror films of all time. I’ve tried to keep an open mind but I am only human and I’m sure my prejudices infect this review more than it should. This prequel feels a lot like a remake especially in the first act. It plays very similarly but first time director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. seems more interested in getting to the creature effect as opposed to building up suspense. The story also changes the creature’s logic, making it more aggressive where as Carpenter’s version reacted in a more defensive manner. The effects in of themselves are impressive and pay homage to the Carpenter film but the CGI is of variable quality, occasionally looking very good then looking incredibly bad in others. Heinjinigen turns this prequel more into a standard creature feature with characters that could barely be called paper thin. The characters, including the lead, feel like nothing more than fodder for creature. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is terribly miscast her and she reads lines about as flatly as they can be read. Her performance and character are never engaging or interesting instead a general sense of bland throughout. The remainder of the cast is simply asked to replicate versions of characters from the Carpenter film, with Joel Edgerton and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje doing their best Kirk Russell and Keith David impersonations. There are a few scares here and there but with the lack of any tangible suspense they are all telegraphed making them fairly obvious. The final act plays more like something from the Aliens franchise. The ambiguity of the Carpenter film is missing right through the end. A nice wrap up scene, setting up the Carpenter film, during the credits is well done but doesn’t do much but put the final pieces in place. Fans of the Carpenter film will find things to like here and there and will probably walkout with the desire to watch the Carpenter film as soon as they leave the theater, quickly forgetting this prequel.