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“The Thing” about bad reviews! (2011)

Article by SisterRoboto of

Directed By: Matthijs van Heijningen

Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has traveled to the desolate region for the expedition of her lifetime. Joining a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago. But it is about to wake up. When a simple experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, Kate must join the crew’s pilot, Carter (Joel Edgerton), to keep it from killing them off one at a time. And in this vast, intense land, a parasite that can mimic anything it touches will pit human against human as it tries to survive and flourish. The Thing serves as a prelude to John Carpenter’s classic 1982 film of the same name.

One of the most treasured horror films in the history of cinema is John Carpenter’s 1982 The Thing.  It has become the poster child for excellence in practical special effects. The latest 2011 prequel relies heavily on CGI (computer generated imagery) making the creature appear, well… fake as hell.  However, I do think the movie did a good job of leading up to the reveal of the alien in this one.  The mystery and buildup behind what was encased in its ice coffin was truly frightening and seemed to have so much potential. The instant the “thing” escaped from the melting ice, it was all down hill for me after that.  Way too much CGI, not enough good old-fashioned artistic creativity! I hate to see that horror creators are becoming so lazy they rely so heavily on computer programs to create all the effects. Whatever good intentions were behind this prequel to Carpenter’s 1982 classic, the poor execution does not pay it homage.  I was rolling my eyes throughout this entire movie, as it got progressively more absurd.

Right off the bat, you’ve already got a problem when you replace Kurt Russell as your hero with the dull Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a paleontologist flown down to a Norwegian base in Antarctica to take a look at the strange “thing” they’ve found in the ice.  Unfortunately, they dig up the creature and bring it back to base before they figure out it’s a shape-shifting alien.  Not only does it have gross tentacles and about five mouths, but also the ability to perfectly replicate a human host. This disguise gives it the power to strike when they least expect it.  Chaos quickly ensues as the team gets picked off one by one, and eventually Kate is the only one with the smarts… and the flamethrower!  I wanted Kurt Russell to make it and save the day! I could care less if Kate survived.

There was too much monster screen time, which left absolutely no mystery. I lost interest because after you’ve seen it on the screen continuously for 30 min., it has nowhere left to go.  During this long, dragged out period of alien over-exposure, the filmmakers feel the need to use excessive amounts of CGI and fake blood. In one scene there’s literally a full-on computer generated shot of the creature standing 12 feet tall. It looked like something pulled straight out of a video game.  The acting was just as bad as the fake blood spewing everywhere.  Because everything is computer created, the actors had nothing physical to react to.  When you start routing for the monster to wipe them all out because none of them are likeable, that’s a good indication of below par acting.

It’s also a stupid script. It ends with the characters bumbling inside the crashed alien spaceship, the sort of scene that has been done in a hundred science fiction films but just didn’t work well in this. It feels silly, especially because the interior design of the ship is so blah.  In this movie, the “thing”, hidden as one of the crew, is being airlifted out of the camp when he suddenly, and for absolutely no good reason, explodes his face and the helicopter crashes. What the hell is the point of that?

The Thing is not a remake that will somehow lessen the original by existing – if anything, Carpenter’s original seems all the stronger after sitting through this one. But it’s frustrating to see talent, money and time wasted on a movie that’s just a pointless imitation of something that’s already perfectly good on it’s own!  I would not waste a single second watching this one, instead watch Carpenter’s version. Bigger and louder is not scarier or better, it’s just more annoying. Two things should have remained buried for all eternity, the alien creature and this movie!

About SIster Roboto (21 Articles)
I am a graphic designer, mother, and lover of all things scary. I enjoy a delicious beer and the company of my lunatic friends in my downtime. I am a horror fanatic at heart and if something can give me that intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust... I'd like to share it with the world.

3 Comments on “The Thing” about bad reviews! (2011)

  1. Geek Soul Brother // March 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm // Reply

    I agree with everything you said. And yet I really liked the film. Or to be more accurate, I liked what the filmmakers did with the film. I imagine that it’s incredibly hard to make a prequel and a remake of a classic horror film. But that’s pretty much what they did with the story. It mimicked AND it told the story of what led up to Carpenter’s Thing at the same time. I give them a lot of credit for that. What really turned my frown upside down was the ending during the credits. If it wasn’t for those scenes I would have hated the film.

  2. Good review! Pointless is indeed an apt term for this film. Start to finish I was significantly unimpressed. Another movie that tries to make up for its complete lack of substance with an over kill of special effects.

  3. “I could care less if Kate survived.”
    ‘CouldN’T’ care less.’
    Otherwise you could actually care less, which means you care if she survives. And that’s not what you meant is it.

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