Saturday, November 24, 2012
The Thing (2011)
**This review contains spoilers**
I will always love The Thing 1982. It is an excellent science fiction/horror film, and this film ranks high up my list of remakes, because it is one of the best damn remakes ever. I always enjoy this film, and I pop it into the DVD player a few times each month. The prequel/remake to John Carpenter’s 1982 classic was at the top of my must-see list of films for 2011. I was anxious to see the prequel, and I had some hope for it, but this was an enormous letdown for me.
The 1982 version of The Thing was fantastic. This film featured some very good tension, it was mysterious, and this film could be genuinely scary most of the time. Also, The Thing 1982 was repulsive, because the special affects in this film could always provide plenty of shocking and cringing moments. But the same thing can’t be said about the 2011 version.
Yeah, The Thing 2011 does feature some very impressive special effects, because the CGI does look great. But the CGI in this film didn’t provide any shocking and disgusting moments. In Carpenter’s 1982 version, the creature kills and absorptions brought that “HOLY SHIT THIS IS GROSS! I CAN’T BELIEVE WHAT I’M SEEING” type of reaction out me. But the creature kills and absorptions in this film brought that “Oh look. Cool CGI effects” reaction out of me. The effects in this film didn’t shock me, and they didn’t want to make me turn away from the screen. The visuals in this film are a pleasing treat for the eyes, but they don’t provide any shocking moments.
The Thing 1982 provided some great tension throughout the entire film, and this film did feature a chilling and eerie atmosphere. But this version of The Thing felt pretty dull and boring most of the time. There wasn’t any real tension here, there aren’t too many spook moments, and this film isn’t scary at all. They tried to give the audience some more action and suspense in this one, but the attempt at some extra thrills didn’t do anything for me. For the most part, the action in this film isn’t too thrilling, and the suspense doesn’t pick up until the very end.
I like Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She’s a solid young actress, who has some promise. Winstead did deliver a very solid performance in this film, and she wasn’t bad as the leading lady here, but she is no R.J. MacReady. Kurt Russell was a better leading character in Carpenter’s 1982 version. Russell’s acting was better, and his character was a lot stronger throughout the entire film. Kate Lloyd (Winstead) doesn’t show any signs of real strength until the final moments of this film. She slowly comes out of her shell, but Winstead’s character just comes off as this person, who nobody wants to believe, and she has to eat shit from her boss, Dr. Sander Halversen (Ulrich Thomsen). Winstead did deliver a very solid performance, but her character seems so weak most of the time. Also, the bulk of the cast was pretty bland here. Carpenter’s 1982 version featured a nice set of colorful characters, and the overall acting was a lot better. Lars was the only other character who stood out in this film. Jørgen Langhelle could be funny, and at times, he was believable as a bad ass. And Joel Edgerton (Sam Carter) actually delivered another solid performance, but his acting couldn’t help elevate this film. The majority of the 2011 cast was so dull, and I was actually waiting for some of them to die, because I didn’t care about their characters.
Also, the tests in this film didn’t make too much sense. In the 1982 version, blood tests were used to determine each character’s health. These tests would let everyone know, who was human and who was an alien. Blood test make a lot of sense, but in this film they use teeth tests??? The creature can’t copy inorganic materials, and Kate found some bloody teeth will fillings in a bathroom. The creature spit out the teeth, because it couldn’t absorb them, and it was trying to hide this important secret. Someone wasn’t human, so Kate came up with the idea of having teeth tests. Her idea was pretty simple: whoever had fillings was human, but anyone without fillings in their teeth was an instant suspect. Everyone had to endure the quick teeth checks, as Kate checked every mouth with a flashlight, and these tests did cause some finger pointing, and the trust issues began to unfold. Yeah, I thought this was pretty stupid. Everyone doesn’t have cavities, because some people actually do take good care of their teeth. The teeth tests really didn’t solve anything, because Kate still wasn’t sure who was 100% human. Blood tests were the only surefire way of determining the human characters, and the teeth tests were a waste of time. I know, I know, this is a new version of The Thing, and the story will have its differences, but the teeth tests were still silly.
Survival was another important theme in the 1982 version of The Thing. A deadly alien creature has taken over the research facility, and this alien wants to escape. The deaths are coming quickly, and they’re becoming more frequent and viscous as the story progresses. I can understand trying to contain the alien threat, but the safety measures in this film didn’t make any sense. Kate begins to panic, because she realizes how serious the situation is. She doesn’t want the alien to escape, because it might try to take over the world. So Kate has one bright idea: Disable the vehicles??? Umm, yeah, I know you don’t want to take the chance of the alien escaping, but I couldn‘t buy into these precautions. The creature could destroy the Earth, but shouldn’t you give yourself a chance to survive? You’re going to have to leave the research facility at some point, so how in the hell are you going to leave, if you disabled all of your means of transportation??? And you’re pretty much stranded at a remote location in Antarctica, a massive snow storm is approaching, so you can’t just start walking to find shelter. The “let’s destroy the vehicles, so it can’t escape!” stuff drove me nuts, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on-screen.
The ending of this film does provide a nice cliffhanger, because the final moments of this film do show us how the alien survives, and story wise, this ending does open the door for the 1982 version. But in the end, this little cliffhanger wasn’t enough, and it couldn’t save this film. Bottom line, John Carpenter’s 1982 version of The Thing is far superior in every way, and it makes the 2011 version look like a joke. Sorry, but the theme music wasn’t enough. Using the same theme music from the 1982 version was a nice touch, and it did provide some good nostalgia for fans of the older film, but this touch of nostalgia couldn’t improve anything here.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, and Jørgen Langhelle were the highlights of the acting department, because they did deliver some very solid performances, but the cast in the 1982 film was still better in every way. Carpenter’s 1982 version featured better acting, a better cast of characters, the tension was unbelievable, this film was genuinely scary and terrifying, and the special effects looked more realistic and disgusting.
The 2011 version does feature some cool effects, and the CGI is great. You can’t deny that, but in a way, the amazing and detailed CGI hurts this film. As I said before, the effects in the 1982 version created some genuinely disturbing moments, but the CGI in this film can be too mesmerizing at times. I was in awe of the special affects, but they didn’t make me cringe, and they didn’t disgust me. The Thing 2011 is a boring and lifeless big time Hollywood production with cool special effects. This wouldn’t have been good as a standalone film, and this wasn’t a good prequel/remake. The Thing 2011 is mediocre at best, and fans of the 1982 version should avoid this. Don’t let the “how it all it began” stuff lure you to this film, because you will be disappointed. Just watch the 1982 version. Don’t waste your time with the new film, because the experience isn’t worth it, and you will hate this.
Final Rating: 3/10