The Thing (2011)

November 28, 2011 — 28 Comments

The discovery of an unidentifiable structure and unknown creature buried deep beneath the ice of Antarctica, leads a group of international scientists, based at a nearby Norwegian research centre, to investigate. The Thing (2011) is a prequel to John Carpenters, infamous 1982 masterpiece, which was based upon the equally perfect novella, ‘Who goes there?’ written by John W. Campbell, Jr. in 1938. Consequently it hard not to measure, The Thing (2011) against these high set standards.

What really stands out throughout the film is its attention to detail, its creators have tried exceptionally hard to fill in any gaps between the two movies and recreate John Carpenters style, the result is a prequel that links immediately onto the 1982 movie and stays very faithful to its story. They have incorporated a strong 80’s horror influence, notably Ridley Scott’s Alien.

The principal draw back for the movie is its effects and CGI, which, at times, appears amateurish and rough in places, often choosing to show far too much, instead of leaving it down to the viewers imagination. Worst still is that you can’t help but compare these effects to the truly amazing robotics and prosthetics created by Rob Bottin for the original back in 1982. In addition to the poor special effects, the casts performances are generally unremarkable, none of them have done a particularly bad job but no one stands out either, although this could be argued that it is a product of relatively unexciting script.

As a stand alone movie, The Thing (2011) is quite good. It’s got enough jumps and scares to satisfy most horror fans, and even manages to build a fair amount tension at times. It would make a superb piece of bonus material, attached to the original, and the two together should make for a fantastic double feature.

Our Rating: 6.6 / 10

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28 responses to The Thing (2011)

  1. 

    I noticed you liked my review of the movie over on my blog today. I thought I’d check out your reviews also. Some pretty good ones on here. The Thing I liked, but I thounk youre being a little harsh on the effects. There were moments that were dodgy, the last one in the ship in particular, the face was badly done and cheap looking lilke The Scorpion King, but I thought on the whole, they managed to get the look right and similar to the 1982 film in style. What I didnt like was the ending of her character…what happened? An unanswered question there methinks. Good nonetheless. I have to get a hold of Kill Keith next, heard about this a while ago. Happy blogging. Wicked Wednesday would love to here from you this week =)

    • 

      Its more that the effects were so poor compared to the 1982 Thing (Ironically almost 30 years older). Overall I enjoyed it. I believe the ending, in a roundabout way, was supposed to mirrored the ending of 1982 Thing and also leave it open to a sequel without conflicting with the original, quite clever actually.

      Thanks for your comment – I liked your blog, it looks sharp 🙂

      • 

        Rob Bottin’s special effects are incredible. Apparently he worked on the film seven days a week for a year and five weeks. I guess this is apparent in the quality of his work.

        • 

          Was it really that long? Not that surprising, I suppose, I vaguely remember reading somewhere that he collapsed on set and was admitted to hospital with exhaustion during the later stages of the film. The SF/X in this film is so far ahead of its time, it’s hard to get your head round that it was made in 1982!

          Thanks for the comment. Your site is great 🙂

  2. 

    I love the original John Carpenter version. This version was “Meh!”.

  3. 

    I saw this last night and liked it, surprisingly. I share the same sentiment toward the CGI. Did they REALLY have to return to that ship AND it actually got activated (YET it didn’t achieve lift-off). Three strikes there.

    But! I did like the main girl, the research assistant, and the helicopter pilot. I wish their characters were more fleshed out (no pun intended).

    • 

      I couldn’t agree more! I actually cringed a little when I saw that – especially when she finds the ‘Central computer thingy’. I guess it was put in to explain why the ship is completely uncovered in the 1982 film.

      I’ve read through a lot of your site. It looks really sharp. Love all the reviews I’ve read (Even if I disagree with a few ha!)

      Where do you get the time to do so much? 🙂

      • 

        Thank you! And I love people who disagree. 😉 If you do, feel free to express them. I always appreciate being shown a different angle on things.

        I actually started my website in 2008 (August 1st). So, I guess the reviews just add up over the years. My reviews, back then, usually had only about 5 to 6 sentences. (I delete those as I find them. So embarrassing.) Over time, I had more things to say. Just keep writing, find your rhythm, and before you know it, you’ll have hundreds, thousands even.

  4. 

    I love the 1982 version. For me The Thing is pretty close to being a flawless film, so if you’re going to make a prequel it better be damn good, with something to add to the original, and not just an easy cash in. To be honest, I’m not sure The Thing needs a prequel. I think I’ll give this a miss, but I’m now inspired to re-watch Carpenter’s film soon.

    As a bit of trivia the 1951 film adaptation (The Thing from Another World) of Campbell’s book features in the background of Carpenter’s Halloween.

  5. 

    Prequel to the best film ever? Not interested I’m afraid. I know I shouldn’t knock it until I’ve tried it, but hell I haven’t tried it and I’m not knocking it, but I just don’t care. It’s wrong.

    • 

      Don’t get me wrong, if I personally had the opportunity to stop this film being made – I would have without a second thought, and then beat up on the guy who suggested it, for good measure.
      Nevertheless, flavor of the decade is remakes and reboots, so it was going to happen – money grabbing film companies would want to cash in on John Carpenters magnum opus of horror movie culture sooner or later.
      However, I try to be positive, for one thing, the movie could have been a lot worse, and for another, I would hands down take a prequel over a sinful, straight remake or even worse, a sequel that reveals what happened the MacReady or Childs (Just writing that distresses me).

  6. 

    This film was a part of our Halloween Horror Movie Spooktacular and I was psyched to include it. I felt the same way about it that you did and found it to be disappointing. It really had me with the old school Universal Studios logo at the beginning too. It was all downhill from there. Very groovy site with a very cool nod to 1950’s science fiction cinema with the name.

    -Steve

  7. 

    I agree on the effects, when CGI is relied upon its unapologetically awful. On the opposite side, I was impressed with the occasional use of practical effects and puppetry. I wouldn’t say its jumpy or scary for a seasoned horror fan, but there was a girl sat next to me though who jumped and screamed at everything though. That automatically makes any horror film better.

  8. 

    When are filmmakers and directors going to realize that CGI most often looks layered on, too fluid, and can not imitate life very good. It always starts to look cartoon-ish. Exceptions to the rule would be Steven Spielberg’s films which seem to take great care to make them really sit in the settings.

  9. 

    The original isn’t that great either. Nice review!

  10. 

    personally i would have give it an encouraging 7, but atherwise i agree with you. on this “They have incorporated a strong 80’s horror influence, notably Ridley Scott’s Alien.” above all

  11. 

    love the ’82 version 9/10. agree completely with a 6.5/10 rating for the 2011 version. Couldn’t have said it better myself. While i review books for fun (new and old) my primary focus is on movies as I’m a paid screenwriter. 🙂 see you around, and keep up the strong work! if you’re interested, i’ve also written a fiction collection and a novella last year. Link below:

    CHEERS! — Matthew Hughston
    http://www.wix.com/matthewhughston/book

  12. 

    I didn’t mind this film, clever how it left the story open for a new sequel that could run along side the original without changing it in anyway.

    Your reviews are lovely to read – don’t stop! 🙂 x

  13. 

    I was really interested in seeing how the prequel compares to Carpenter’s version–which really creeped me out! But you’re right, I was worried that the amount of CGI would take away from its overall creepiness….because that sense of not knowing, of not seeing something that you know (or think you know) has happened, is what really gives me goosebumps. Like in the end of Carpenter’s version, when the last few survivors are getting picked off in the boiler room without being explicitly shown–you just know that the alien isn’t going to give up without a fight.
    Thanks for the great review!

  14. 

    Hi there! Glad you stopped by my film reviews. Normally they’re longer and a little less comical, I was just tired so I thought that would be fun and easy!
    I really like reading film reviews, serious or not. I’m going to subscribe to your site because I think you do a nice job. By the way, I’m new to this blogging and haven’t gotten the hang of all the features. Not sure if you left a comment because nothing came up?
    Thanks again for stopping by!
    Lisa

  15. 

    You’re all too young. The best version of this film was in 1951, during the cold war. The dialogue is so we written and performed that you get caught up in every character. Wonderful stuff.

    • 

      I do love Christian Nyby’s, The Thing From Another World, there’s nothing like a young James Arness running around in a huge green, carrot costume killing people (Unless you didn’t watch the colourised version). I didn’t mention it in my review because often people are lead to believe that John Carpenters The Thing (1982) is a remake of The Thing From Another World (1951), when, in fact, they are both unique interpriations of Campbell’s short story. Although there are some similarities, both films are distinctly different. John Carpenter’s version is a lot more faithful to Campbell’s story, and for me, I still believe is by far the better version.

      John Carpenter is a massive fan of The Thing From Another World, often including clips and posters from it in his films pre-1982, which is probably where most people conclude that The Thing (1982) is a remake. However, I watched an interview some time ago where he said that he was won over after reading Campbell’s story in a re-release of Astounding Science-Fiction magazine.

      Another theory is that Campbell’s own story is a retelling or simplification of Lovecraft’s Mountains of Madness. Campbell’s story was published 2 years after Lovecraft’s, for the same publication group, both are set in Antarctica, where aliens are buried beneath the ice, and both have a similar feel and tone. However, I do not believe this is the case. Antarctica was only discovered at the turn of the century and then only truly explored in the late 1920s. It was still shrouded in mystery, so undoubtedly it would be (and was) inspiration for numerous stories through the 1930s and 40s. Both men were American science fiction / horror writers in the 1930s, writing and presumably reading the same publications, therefore, it’s stand to reason that there would be some similarities in there works. I suspect that Campbell’s story was in works before(if) he even read Lovecraft’s Mountains of Madness. Lovecraft was relatively unsuccessful and unknown until after his death in 1937. There seems to be a fashionable tendency in horror fiction (and even more recently horror films) to trace everything back to the works of Lovecraft.

      I’m fairly well versed on Horror & sci-fi movies of the 50’s – a consequence of watch excessive amounts of horror movies over twenty years. Although I’m afraid I’m technically too young to have seen the release of either of these films, thanks for the comment tho old timer 😛

      Wow Glad I got that off my chest ha! If you made it this far through this reply – well done! I probably should have just done a new post, but I aim to keep all my reviews under 300 words 😀

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