October 20, 2011

The Thing (2011)

"At an Antarctica research site, the discovery of an alien craft leads to a confrontation between graduate student Kate Lloyd and scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson."

Well, I finally got round to watching "The Thing" prequel last night. As my only eagerly anticipated film this year, I was so excited about it that I'm probably going to rate it a lot higher than I should do. Even so, it still turned out to be a huge disappointment overall.

Since I'm not one of those people who suffers from nostalgia, I'm not even going to compare the prequel/premake with John Carpenter's 1982 remake too much. To do so would be unfair to both movies as, although the two films look somewhat similar at first glance, apart from the title they are very different entities.

Taking "The Thing" (2011) as a standalone movie is, however, impossible. It's little more than "Alien" (1979) all over again but set in Antarctica rather than outer space. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays a Ripley character with a lot less balls than Sigourney Weaver but, with all the action scenes, the similarities are too in your face not to notice.

Another film that "The Thing" is like is "AVP: Alien vs. Predator" (2004) due once again to the formulaic female lead and the overall feel of the movie. Just like "AVP", there's not much tension and the plot tends to lag when it should be full of suspense.

This version of "The Thing" is supposed to be an action movie at heart so it abandons suspense round about the middle of the film in favour of becoming yet another slasher. I found this to be a major weakness and, without giving away any more spoilers than I have to, the monster is revealed way too early and the action is confusing as hell. The sheer number of bearded characters are too many and too undifferentiated for you to care about any of them particularly.

Another big problem is the use of CGI which isn't bad but is hardly groundbreaking or imaginative either. A lot of the time the flaws are hidden by the darkness of the background but this is computer game stuff. Coupled with the extremely loud "boo scares", it's pretty obvious which generation "The Thing" is made for and it's not the older fans of the original.

I'm going to rate "The Thing" as just average for now. It's a prequel after all so it's meant to compliment John Carpenter's version rather than replace it. It was a nice try but, once I get this on DVD, I know that I'll be able to find dozens of anachronisms and plot holes which I didn't even notice during the theatrical experience.

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