Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Thing (2011)

Will try to keep it brief. While the newest version probably won't reach the same kind of classic status that the Howard Hawks original and the John Carpenter remake attained, it merits attention for your Halloween dollar. Was worried about saying this was a prequel to the Carpenter version, thinking that it would be a nice surprise for the uninitiated. But since the studio seems to be pushing the prequel notion front and center in interviews, you might as well know it too. Keeps a couple of main elements from the Hawks version: team discovers spaceship and alien on ice, creature thaws out, havoc reigns while the lead scientist tries to maintain control beyond reason. Aside from one shot in the first half, all homages to Carpenter's take seem to be confined to the second half. Good idea to keep the film in 1982. It limits the technology the humans can use to fight the creature, as well as show how closed off they are from the outside world.

Best addition here is how our main hero is different then the rest of the team, and why the rest of the (mostly Norwegian) team are distrustful. 'She's young, not as experienced as us. On top of that, she's a she who doesn't know her place AND she's an American to boot!' Mary Elizabeth Winstead is the lead whose never less than interesting, and at times, quietly good. The updated CGI technology allows the filmmakers to credibly expand the creatures' capabilities. Not always to the near perfection of the original man-made effects from the Carpenter film. But the first time we get a full look at one of these creatures, as well as a melding sequence used to connect this and the Carpenter film, stand out among the more daring designs that have been successfully pulled off. This version also has a lack of humor, dark or otherwise. But the tension remains credible throughout, and this version of The Thing is worth catching.

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