Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Thing (2011)

Halloween Movie

"The Thing" is an alien organism that invades its hosts on a cellular level and imitates them. Creating a near perfect copy of its victims. Ironically, according to a film critic, the 2011 version of The Thing is just like the alien in the movie. It (the movie) imitates the John Carpenter's The Thing (1982). I'd have to agree. Right off the bat, at the beginning of the 2011 film, the old 1982 Universal Studios logo was shown. The tonal structure of the movie was a lot like the 1982 version. Even the score is very similar to Enrico Morricone's composition for John Carpenter's movie. The Thing (2011) is a facsimile of the 1982 version but, much like the alien's imitations, it looks the same on the outside but something is off...

That's as far as I'd agree with the critic because, I enjoyed the The Thing (2011). I think the similarities were done to be consistent with the 1982 version. At least that's what I got out of it. Sure the plot with the guessing game of who's a "thing" and who's not is just like the 1982 version but, we do get to see some pretty far out concepts. We get the story of what was in that slab of ice. Don't expect to see a full shot of the alien though. I was disappointed by that. We get blurry glimpses and parts of it but, the full infested alien was never on screen. I thought the entire movie was going to be like that. I'm glad it wasn't. All the infested human were shown in horrible mutilated alien logic. I don't even know how to describe them. A lot of tentacles and one of them was a huge mouth. I wonder if the "The Thing" is one huge organism that was broken apart on a cellular level and spread throughout the galaxy? In any case, this movie delivered on the "you gotta be $%#*'ing kidding" moments. Also, we finally get to see the inside of the alien ship and designs for the um... engine? controls? Whatever was in the ship, the designs were pretty interesting. I wish more of the ship was explored.

Not only does John McLane (Die Hard) kick ass, so does his daughter, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. With the parallels of this movie and the 1982 version, she takes on a similar role that Kurt Russell had in the older film. I was afraid that Mary Elizabeth Winstead had too much of a doe eyed demeanor and couldn't take on the action that the The Thing (2011) demanded but, she kicked ass. I shouldn't be surprised, she did alright in Live Free or Die Hard and Scott Pilgrim. Joel Edgerton (Owen Lars from Revenge of the Sith) and Adewale Akinnuoye-Abaje (Mr. Eko on Lost) played the American helicopter pilots who were in charge of taxiing the Norwegian scientists from the Antarctic research base back to civilization. They could have been played by anyone. Almost all of the characters in this movie can played by any actor and the roles are interchangeable. They were there as fodder for the alien organism. That's one of the drawbacks of this prequel. I didn't care much for the characters other than Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Kate Lloyd.

Yes, it's a prequel. Even at points, it feels like a remake. The Thing (2011) shows us what happened to the Norwegian base that Kurt Russell explored in the 1982 movie. All the details of the destruction was fleshed out... the axe on the wall, the holes in the base, the scorch marks, the fused body... creepy... Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. direction was able to give off the creepiness and other worldly concept of the organism. Heijningen also did a really good job of not just haphazardly blow a hole in the wall just because it was there in the 1982 film. All the predestined mayhem (like the axe on the wall) was done very well and felt organic. The Thing (2011) is not as bad as most critics made it out to be. There are some logic holes but nothing that's super dumb. Also since this film is set in 1982, there was nothing that I could spot which did not belong in that era. Technology for example. It's definitely worth checking out. Especially when you want to be creeped out in the season of Halloween. You don't need to watch the 1982 movie to understand this one. But if there is one Thing to watch, I'd go with John Carpenter's The Thing (1982). Every subsequent scene of the alien organism in the 1982 version makes me forget the previous $%#*'ed up moments. Rob Bottin's creature designs in the 1982 version is just #*$%'ing unreal.


A bit of trivia: The Thing (2011) is the prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing (1982). John Carpenter's movie is a remake of Howard Hawks-Christian's 1951 movie The Thing from Another World. The 1951 movie is an adaptation of John W. Campbell, Jr.'s novella Who Goes There?.

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