Review – THE THING (2011)

If it ain’t a remake/reboot disgracing your local theaters, then it’s studio execs second favorite cash cow: the prequel. Despite prequels claiming to tell the story before the story, they seem more like ways to remake a flick without the stigma of being a remake. At least that seems to be the case with 2011’s The Thing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKjErC2JLQc

Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a paleontologist, is asked to come to Antarctica because a group of Norwegian scientists have discovered an alien spacecraft buried deep within the ice. While exploring, they stumble upon the frozen body of the sole survivor. They take it back to Thule Station thinking they’re gonna be rich and famous because of their discovery. But when the block of ice thaws and the alien escapes, they group must stand against it. But how do you fight a being that can mimic your closest associates?

We already know how the Thing operates, so the movie has already been deprived of any and all mystery. Perhaps they will add something new? Nope. That would be asking too much. Instead, we get little more than a rehash of Carpenter’s version. Some situations/scenarios from Carpenter’s film are even recycled here such as the sabotage of the blood test experiment, the flamethrower malfunctioning when one of the scientists begins transforming, the scene in which they burn several bodies outside in the snow, the destruction of the final creature, and so on. Even the characters just seem like recycled versions of the one’s in Carpenter’s version.

thing1

And speaking of characters, all the characters here are as bland and boring as it gets. Hell, they’re so similar and bland that I forgot who was who while watching. The actors and writers of Carpenter’s version saw fit to endow the characters with memorable personalities. Come on, who doesn’t know the names and personalities of MacReady, Windows, Palmer, Copper, Blair, et al? Here, you get So and So, What’s His Face? Who’s That? What Was His Name? and so on, none of which is helped by the performers’ indifference to the material and the movie. Winstead only stands out because she’s a female. She tries desperately to fill the boots of Kurt Russell but lacks the charisma to do so.

And of course we have to attack the tacky CGI on display, which is on par with a Playstation 2 game. (In fact, the CGI made me wanna break out The Thing on PS2 and have some fun.) Granted, there are times when good practical effects are used, and they don’t use CGI blood, but these moments are few and far between and don’t take away from the fact that what you’re looking at is basically a survival horror video game with little in the way of entertainment value and scares.

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Despite all these faults, however, The Thing isn’t awful. Just very average, on par with a sci-fi/horror you might find on TV on Sunday afternoon. This thing comes nowhere near Carpenter’s flick. It doesn’t even come close to the 1951 original (The Thing from Another World for those unknowing souls). What it does score a bullseye on is forgettability. Five minutes after watching I hardly remembered a damn thing.

Final Thoughts:

The Thing fails to make a mark on anything. Recycled elements, bad CGI, and uninspiring characters make for a very uneventful time at the movies. But it might be worth a rental if Suicide Squad is your only other option.

About Evan Romero

Evan Romero has been a horror fan since watching “Leprechaun” at the age of five. Aside from watching and writing about horror flicks, he delights in torturing friends with Z-grade movies. He’s also an unabashed Andy Milligan fan, God help him.

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One comment

  1. Imagine how good the Prequel would have been if the studio let them leave the Practical FX in and didn’t replace them all with crappy CGI…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBzpT7VmSaU