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12/8/11

THE THING (2011) - REVIEW


Hands up who wanted a prequel to The Thing?

Really?

Come on! No one cares about the Norwegians?

Well now you have to, for here is their story. Yes it follows almost every single key scene from the original film to the letter, but why wouldn't something this crazy happen twice in two different places just around the corner from each other?

Because Hollywood knows better, that's why.

So indeed we finally get to see the untold story of the Norwegians, who were the first to uncover the Thing before Kurt Russell and the gang even had a look at it. This time we get Mary Elizabeth Winstead being called into a base in Antarctica to help dig the titular whatchamacallit out of the ice. You know what happens next: Thing breaks out, people scream, paranoia sets in, it all becomes a "whoisit" (as opposed to whodunit) and it all ends in flames.

That this The Thing remake isn't a disaster is almost shocking.

Replacing practical effects as amazing as the ones in John Carpenter's original film by CGI is instantly missing the point and in a lot of instances, the CGI here is cartoony, fake and frankly rubbish. Other times, however, it is rather good and makes for some cool-lookin', crazy shit. This film is about as subtle as a flame-thrower to the face and although this means the film loses out on atmosphere and suspense I rather like that it feels at least a little bit different. To be fair, this remake does have its entertaining and suspenseful moments but when compared to Carpenter's film it loses out every time.

Instead of a blood test, we have a flashlight used to determine who still has fillings in their teeth or not. Sure it makes little sense in that none of this was noticed or mentioned in Kurt Russell's group when shit went down there but hell, it's still a bit of a jump when the Thing actually reveals itself. I am being extremely kind with this shameless retread I realize but when you expect a catastrophe and you get something passable and kinda watchable you tend to be thankful on some level.

I should mention the occasional plot hole and inevitable flubs which occur whenever both films aren't properly linked together. Why isn't everybody brought in together for the test to begin with? Why doesn't the Thing just transform instead of walking around like a big insect most of the time? What's with the tiny spider things? What's with the girl? Why does nothing look like it does when Kurt Russell checks the place out? Is that the guy from Dumb & Dumberer?

So many questions.

The double-headed Thing of the original is cleverly (and kinda hilariously) explained and it all ends with a cool build-up to the original complete with the original music theme. Way to end on a high, douche bags, the theme during the whole movie would have been nice! Besides, this is all well and good but isn't that just another reason to watch the original again instead of this less-good effort?

Yup.

Overall, of course there are worse films out there. Worse horror films even. But if you want to watch The Thing, look no further than the 80's, or perhaps the 50's if you want to check out the original The Thing From Another World. Not bad at all. This is no more than a glossy retread which will pass the time and give you the occasional fun, grotesque moment or jump but which you won't recall existing minutes later.

Shoulda been called The Other Thing.

That's not funny. YET.

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