Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Thing (2011)

"The Thing" (2011, Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., Strike Entertainment) is the prequel to the 1982 original John Carpenter film also called "The Thing". Why they didn't just come up with a different name, I don't know!

As a film it's ok. The special effects are fantastic and they try very hard to make it feel like the early 80s. And it's convincing.

But it lacks the tension and plot of the original. The lead protagonist, Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), jumps almost instantly to the conclusion that the alien they've dug up is copying and becoming people. Despite having only some crude equipment, an odd corpse and 80s science to base this on... And the others don't take that long to believe her. Now, fair enough, their Norwegian buddy has just been eaten by something that they dug out of the ice (dead)! But, I expected more "You're just crazy, lady" before the big agreement bandwagon jump-on.

The film pretty much redoes the original; it begins differently and it ties in to the orginal in some ways, but on the whole it goes through all the motions of the original plot, but with less finesse. The effect thing/alien is very well achieved, and I liked how they explained the two-headed corpse from the original film. And who doesn't appreciate an insect-like killer hand every now and again?

I feel that it must have been an interesting script to work on, like making a film backwards from what we already know from the original and reconstructing the events leading up to it. But, unfortunately, as interesting as that process must have been, the outcome seems a bit hollow when viewed as an outsider.

The whole checking-for-tooth-fillings-thing-to-be-sure-that-you're-you is a bit cruddy, I'd say. I mean, I would say because I don't have any fillings (oh yeah! 24 years old and no fillings, I am truly that awesome!)! But the little point on body jewellery was a valid one. But, surely, she could have at least tried to converse with the only talkative and apparently 'sane' alien?! See what the hell it was up to? Ask if it just wanted an aspirin or something?

There was also a point where I thought they'd killed off the female protagonist before the end of the film, and I thought Wow, that was a brave move, I like it! and then she came back. Damn.

There's a lot of flamethrower action, too. Which is fine, but gets a little dull after a while.

By far, the point I was waiting on was how they ended it so that it was set up for the beginning of the original film. I think they achieved this well. I was waiting with baited breath, fearing that they had killed off all the possible useful characters for this scene (remembering that the two guys in the helicopter are Norwegian at the start of the original film, not American or English. Oh, and they're also men), and then voila! They saved it.

However, on the whole, it wasn't so groundbreaking that I'd rather watch this than the original masterpiece! But worth it for the special effects.

[Picture: Strike Entertainment]