‘The Thing’ fails to impress

David Gutman

Riding on the coattails of one of the greatest cult science fiction movies of the 1980s, “The Thing” (2011) manages to mess with the factors that made the original movie great while providing an entertaining way to spend approximately two hours.

“The Thing” is a prequel to the 1982 science fiction movie “John Carpenter’s The Thing”. The 1982 movie stars a young Kurt Russel, beginning with scientists at a remote Antarctic base getting a rude awakening when two foreign men from another base arrive to kill a dog that they have been pursuing.

The two foreign scientists died in an accidental explosion and the dog was adopted by the American scientists. Unfortunately they had no idea that the dog was not what it seemed to be.

The 2011 remake deals with who the two men were and what happened at their own base.

Having much to work with in terms of retroactive continuity, the movie had much promise but flopped in many points.

First off, why do the two movies have the same name? It’s not a remake but a prequel. Having a separation of the two would have been much less confusing.

The 1982 movie’s theme is all about not trusting people. The Thing eats and then assumes the form and shape of the people it consumes. Essentially the tension and horror that are supposed to affect the audience are brought on by extreme paranoia.

In the 1982 film, the Thing would only reveal itself when it was obvious that everybody knew who it was imitating. Conversely in the 2011 film, the creature revealed itself for no reason other than to have cool special effects to terrorize the audience.

Unfortunately in the most recent movie, the Thing’s motives are quite different than in the original movie that it is based on. In the 1982 movie, the Thing wanted to go to civilization to infect the world.

Almost at every turn in the 2011 movie, the monster seemed like it didn’t want to leave the base, even going so far as to destroy the helicopter as it’s leaving for civilization. This conflicts to the very idea of the Thing and it’s original motives.

All in all the 2011 movie didn’t need to be made. Other than to have better special effects which are quite redundant as the 1982 movie special effects are still effective.

While the production team had much to work with in telling a story that hadn’t been thoroughly told, all they did was retell the same story all over again, even having a character fill the role that Kurt Russel supplied in the original.

They do that managing to sweep away virtually all of the parts of the story that connect to the movie that it was prequel to.

So as a prequel it was not very good, but if seen without expectations and without seeing the 1982 movie, it still could be a good experience.

If audiences want to see a similar movie, but with better story-telling and gripping suspense, then all they have to do is see ‘John Carpenter’s The Thing’, it’s just the same movie, but better.