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The Thing

A movie directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. (prequel to the 1982 film)

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Stupid, unecessary rehash of the original; acting as a prequel to it.

  • Mar 1, 2012
*1/2 out of ****

"The Thing" opens with the discovery of a flying saucer that has - since it has gone unnoticed and undiscovered until now - been buried under deep depths of Antarctic ice. It is found when some Norwegian researches are making way across the icy landscape by snowcat; only to fall right into the darkness of what lies beneath. The film has been marketed as a prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 film of the same name, which in itself was based on an earlier movie titled "The Thing from Outer Space", which was based on John W. Campbell's "Who Goes There?"

I've seen all previous adaptations of the story, and was expecting something new and different from this prequel, which feels more like a remake and re-telling of the other film adaptations of Campbell's novel rather than its own unique movie. It's the kind of movie where there's a slippery, slimy monster; and a good number of manly men and women who take it upon themselves to end its slimy reign once and for all. Once the movie is done, the Carpenter film is about to start and one wonders whether there will be yet another installment in this long-running horror franchise, you know, to complete the story, as if it needs such treatment.

Anyways, in this version of "The Thing", paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is recruited by extraterrestrial researcher Dr. Sander Halvorson and his assistant, Adam Finch (Eric Christian Olson) to assist them in their further investigation of the flying saucer from the opening frames, as well as an alien life form that they've also dug up in the process of discovery. Encased in a frozen block of ice, the creature is brought back to home base, where the scientists observe it for a while. And suddenly...escape!

The creature - we'll just call it The Thing for now - is fast, furious, and intelligent. It can hide discreetly enough in the shadows, until somebody is stupid enough to seek it out (and there are plenty of duds in this Antarctic base). It also boasts an impressive number of mouths and body parts; originally looking something like a large crab, and eventually absorbing the body parts of its human victims to gain arms, legs, and even heads. While it's a dangerous and silent killer; it would appear that the being from outer space can be killed with fire. And where will the heroes of the story get this fire? From the flamethrowers that they've got stashed away nearby at all times, of course.

So yeah, you're basically watching the John Carpenter movie all over again, just with less, you know, intrigue or entertainment value. Whilst Carpenter was a talented filmmaker - perfectly capable of handling the premise with skill, wit, and an eye for nerve-wrecking suspense - the director of this re-hash, Matthijis Van Heijningen, succumbs to the Hollywood definition of tension and gives just a bit too much away early on. His attempts at build-up are truly, marvelously pathetic.

So with all the real, human horror of the original lost; the prequel still has plenty of time to melt until it's liquid, and in those moments, it does absolutely nothing. It makes an attempt to make up for the lack of scares and individual characterization with gore and some nice creature FX. Actually, while I'm on that note; I'd just like to say that the creature was the only character in the entire movie that I liked. Even when you've got characters - boring characters - played by the likes of talents such as Joel Edgerton and Ulrich Thomsen, I was rooting for the slimy monster to consume their bodies and their brains alike. Perhaps then, they would be just a little more interesting.

At that, the film is reduced to a fancy special effects showcase. There's literally nothing else to it than that. It's boring and easily forgettable; the kind of movie where there was work put into it visually, but otherwise, laziness is absolutely apparent. Performances are bland, direction is uninspired. In my honest opinion, the movie sounded really interesting when it was in the pre-production stages. Winstead's character reminded me somewhat of an attempt to re-create the whole Ripley (from "Alien") character feel; and there are indeed a few nasty, good ideas that went into the conception and re-designing of the creature that is at the center of the story. But all this talk of "The Thing" is making me want to go back and watch "The Thing" - the far superior Carpenter version - and perhaps even the film that inspired it, which I've already mentioned. Then I'll look back on this movie and ask, "Why?"

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More The Thing (2011 film) reviews
review by . October 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
John Carpenter’s 1982 classic “The Thing” was in fact a remake/re-issue (for those of you who didn’t know) of the 1951 film “The Thing From Another World” but Carpenter’s film proved to be a far superior and much more faithful adaptation of the novella “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell Jr. Well, it seems like the success of Carpenter’s film had almost inspired a sequel, and even a mini-series; however, director Matthijs Van Heijningen …
review by . October 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Three days before...
Among the most irksome of common cinematic misconceptions is the notion that John Carpenter's horror/sci-fi exemplar The Thing is a remake of Howard Hawks' The Thing From Another World. Despite Carpenter's blatant homage to his admitted idol (manifest in an opening title lit ablaze in imitation of its predecessor's), these are very different adaptations of John W. Campbell's inspired novella, Who Goes There? - of which Carpenter's is the more faithful and ingenious by far. …
review by . October 14, 2011
After the success of a videogame based on the original film, rumors of a sequel arose many times but never came to fruition, with creative differences between Universal and John Carpenter cited as the main reason. It was oft-speculated that Carpenter made a deal to write and produce a sequel provided he got to name has director. But when he opted to name himself director the studio balked and the project fell apart. In the aftermath, rumors of a miniseries on the SyfY channel arose along with the …
review by . October 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Despite sharing the exact same title, The Thing is not a remake of John Carpenter’s 1982 film. Nor, for that matter, is it related to Howard Hawks’ 1951 film The Thing from Another World. It is, in fact, a prequel to Carpenter’s film, taking place three days earlier and telling the story of the ill-fated Norwegian science team stationed in Antarctica. Provided you’re familiar with this story, it doesn’t take a great …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


Genre: Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release Date: October 14, 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Eric Heisserer
Runtime: 103 minutes
Studio: Morgan Creek Productions, Strike Entertainment
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