The Thing premake (2011)
Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead/Kate
Ulrich Thomsen/Dr. Sander
Eric Christian Olsen/Adam
Peeps at a research site in Antarctica find an alien space craft and its out of this world survivor trapped in ice. They bring it back to base, it thaws out and all CGI hell breaks loose.
I wish I could have been there during the board meeting for THE THING (2011) which is not a remake of THE THING (1982) or so we're told, it's a prequel with the same plot line, a similar chain of events and the same title. It must have gone something like this:“I got a great idea! We want to remake The Thing! But... let's do it this way "snort, snort"! Since what happened in the Norwegian camp in the first film must have been pretty much the same thing that happened to the Yanks, we can do the same shite the original did and get away with it! We'll call it THE THING so we get the name recognition factor on our side, we won't scare off the new audience and by saying it's a prequel instead of a remake, we won't alienate the hardcore fans of the original either. "Snort, snort". It's genius! A recipe that can't fail! Give me another line of coke man!” Well it does fail if you then go on to make an average, cookie-cutter film out of it. Come on man...
Now I will TRY to not spend the bulk of this drivel comparing this Whopper premake to the Sirloin steak original. We all know the OG is better, we knew it before this one was even shot. What I will do is take it as a movie on its own as much as I can. THE THING “PREQUEL” started promisingly enough: a discovery is made, a team is assembled and it's research time! Up to that point the flick had me, it was taking its time to build up its situation, dread was in the air and I couldn't wait for Pop Goes The Thing and the madness to begin! Character wise; although I didn't have much to hold on to (the character development was nil, think types) Mary Elizabeth Winstead did her best with the little she had and looked pretty even when uglied up. On his end Ulrich Thomsen did the smug scientist thang to a T and Joel Edgerton's beard challenged MacReady's face hair in the macho department. Granted, the players were just there, there was nothing stand out about them, chemistry was on the low jive, hence lessening the impact of the situation but at least all of the performances were adequate (Edgerton is one charismatic mofo, the camera loves him). They sold the affair, so I had that. NOTE: Was it me or did Mary Elizabeth Winstead maybe look too young for the role? I kept waiting for her to break out into a cheerleader routine for some reason; maybe it was the blue-balls thinking. END OF NOTE.
So all was fine and dandy, until The Thing was finally revealed and for me, that's where it all went to the shitter. The alien was mostly communicated via CGI (some of the effects were practical with CG enhancements so thick that you didn't see the practical anymore) and to put it bluntly, it looked f*cking stupid. Where the original had wild designs and unsettling practical effects to communicate them, here we had wild designs, that echoed the ones found in the OG but that alas looked fairly cockamamy in CGI form. I giggled like a schoolgirl sniffing glue a couple of times when I was supposed to be horrified. Not good. So if I take THE THING (1982) into account, this one couldn't spit shine its freaking shoes effects wise (even the dated ones). If I look at it by itself, THE THING 2011 was another generic, CGI monster that smashed into shit, didn't look real, that rawred a lot and to make matters worse, was often goofy looking. I kept hoping they'd use the Thing's mimic M.O. within creative and daring scenarios that would result in unique set pieces - they didn't. Bigger tentacles doesn't always mean better horror! PS: For some reason, I kept thinking of SPECIES 2 every time The Thing surfaced to party poop; talk amongst yourselves. Directing wise, it was serviceable, the film looked sleek, we had some pretty cinematography, nothing more, nothing less. Now, I wasn't expecting to be scared here (they did try with some BOO type stuff that fell flat on its sack) but I did hope for suspense and creepiness; which I didn't get. Hard to nail that when you have waif thin characters you don't care about and a monster that comes off as an inebriated and bumbling oaf more often than none.
So to be honest, I watched the last hour in a mostly uninvolved manner, nothing grabbed me! By the numbers, soulless, lets repeat scenes from the 1982 flick but do them different (Looking for tooth fillings eh? Really! Meh...), generic to the core. Thankfully; my smile came back during the end credits of all places; as yes they gave us some goodies that led into the opening of the original. Overall; I didn't hate THE THING PREMAKE, but I didn't care for it either, it came, happened, randomly made me laugh, didn't sucker punch me, oh look some cool gore and then it went. Like dust... in the wind...
We get folks stabbed by tentacles, The Thing liked to split open in human form to vomit all kinds of shite, some blood and gun shot wounds.
T & A
Even with two dames in tow, NO! The Thing, not horny!
I got more out of the 2002 THE THING SEQUEL video game than this premake. THE THING (2011) couldn't mimic what the original did so well in terms of endearing characters, startling special effects and an oppressing mood that crept under your skin. Its bland characters, punch-drunk monster, see through chain of events and lack of tension made sure of that. I was in “detached watch mode" after the first half hour, yes that sucked for me. On that; it moved at an able pace, had likable actors, some of the gore was swell, it was polished visually and the end credit nod to Carpenter's movie was pretty cool. I think (and I may be wrong) that folks who didn't see THE THING (1982) will dig it more than those who did. Maybe it will be less predictable to them. In closing, I can see it making for an okay watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon, so I'd wait for the disk release if I were you. Can't wait to watch THE THING (1982) again this Halloween!
I thought they should have called the movie Some"thing". :)
Yes they occasionally used the bass notes from Ennio Morricone's score from the original.
No we don't see MacReady and Childs get rescued here.
The interiors were shot in Ontario, Canada. The exteriors were shot in British Columbia, Canada.