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The Thing Review
Synopsis:At an Antarctica research site, the discovery of an alien craft leads to a confrontation between graduate student Kate Lloyd and scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and when you can’t come up with any original ideas, you spit out an old one and label it as new. In 2011 that’s just what Universal Pictures did with, The Thing (2011).
The Thing (2011) is a remake/reboot/prequel of the classic 1982 horror film of the same name. And as its title suggest, it’s pretty much the same movie. This movie is dripping with slimy studio assembly line style writing. Everything’s different, but the same. Sure, the monsters aren’t practical effects anymore, but there’s still monsters. Yeah, the team isn’t as dynamic with conflicting personalities, but there’s still a team. Don’t worry about it; it’s a prequel, it’s all original, except the same.
I love the 1982 version. In my opinion, it’s a perfect movie. But, even that was a remake! Which if any of you have been on the internet, you know that by now. But, the difference is that John Carpenter made a movie so different from the original, it stood on its own and became a classic. Now I don’t think there was a chance in hell for this movie to become a classic, but maybe it could have become something not so forgettable. I mean, I’ve seen it three times now, and I still don’t remember a single character’s name. Except for Lars, Lars is great. Love the Lars.
Unfortunately, Universal wanted to make the same exact movie and bank on its name to pull people in. They originally set out to make a full-on reboot of Carpenter’s movie, and most likely franchise it out till it turns into its own parody. But, after they hired on writer Eric Heisserer he pitched the idea of setting the movie before the original. An idea I actually quite enjoy. Sadly, once the movie starts, it immediately abandons its setting and becomes a beat for beat remake of the original.
I’m pretty sure studios think that fan service is remaking a scene. They’re wrong. Really really wrong. Fan service is a cameo, something simple that gives a nod to the original. You’re not pleasing us when you replicate the plot. You’re ripping us off… feel free to bring up The Force Awakens now you nerds.
Take away all the negative side effects of remakes and take a look at what’s good about this movie. Some of the cast is at least trying. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton, both are always good, even in terrible movies. Their characters weren’t all that great, but they serviced them well enough to keep me somewhat attentive. At least attentive enough to notice that they were direct rip-offs of much better horror protagonists. Winstead as Ellen Ripley and Edgerton as R.J. MacReady.
Some of the lore is explored, and we learn a bit more about the aliens. But, not too much, which I found impressive. The aliens are still shrouded in mystery, making them incapable of comprehension which is pretty scary. Although, I never felt frightened, I appreciated the reluctance to fall into the pit of over explaining your villain aka Rob Zombie’s Halloween.
Also, the set design was very good. You could tell that the filmmakers were truly faithful to the original when recreating the camp. THAT is the proper way to use fan service. We all know what we’re looking at, but we’re not distracted by impulsively comparing what’s going on in the film, to what had happened in the original.
Clearly, I’m not going to talk about the story. If you’ve seen John Carpenter’s The Thing, then you know this story. In fact, just watch that one. Over and over and over. There, now you’ve seen a much better version of 2011’s The Thing. It’s settled. Now let’s bury this one and start making more original horror movies.
2 CGI Globule Monsters out of 5
About The Thing 2011
Original Title: The Thing: The Beginning
Runtime: 103 minutes
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Mystery
Total Avg. Votes: 46
Writers: Eric Heisserer, John W. Campbell Jr.
Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.