Friday, October 14, 2011

10-14-11: One Thing Leads to Another

THE THING (2011) ** D: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Eric Christian Olsen.

In the winter of 1982, US scientists in the Antarctic investigate a nearby Norwegian research facility and unleash a deadly shape-shifting alien that can assume the form of anything it kills, man or beast. That is the premise of John Carpenter's sci-fi/horror remake masterpiece "The Thing." This film is a prequel and chronicles the events that transpired at the Norwegian base camp.

This film is very reverential and referential to Carpenter's film. From the score, to the credit fonts, even going so far as using the same shots to establish scenes. When it is linking up the prequel to the original, it works. They took iconic, memorable moments from when MacCready and Doc toured the camp and show how things turned out as they were. Who can forget the guy whose wrist was slit and the frozen blood coming out of the wound? Well, now you see how he got that way. Or the mound of flesh and bone with two faces in the snow? Here's how it came to be. The tying things together and when recognized it is fun.

However, its main problem is that it lacks the level of suspense and awe that Carpenter did so flawlessly before. Unlike the original, this one lacks any sort of moment that would leave an indelible impression on the viewer. Nothing really stuck with me after seeing it. Another drawback is the over reliance on CGI. There are many scenes where they clearly used practical effects and they were great. All of the creature effects in the Carpenter's film were practical and created by make-up legend Rob Bottin. They should have used the same approach in the prequel.

It's an okay companion piece to the original but other then linking plot points it isn't all that necessary.

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