Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Thing (2011) - ★

Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Writers: Eric Heisserer
Stars: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Eric Christian Olsen

Bringing real horror back, the remake of John Carpenters masterpiece The Thing in 1984 was inevitably not going to be able to live up to the original yet included elements that reminded me of its predecessor. With the incorporation of many different events from the original movie and actually suspenseful horror scenes, the film did have me on the edge of my seat a couple of times.

The story is set in a Norwegian research site in Antarctica, where Kate Lloyd, (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), is a research scientist who aids Dr. Sander Halvorson after a discovery of a UFO was found deep in the ice for hundreds of thousands of years. The attempt to pass Winstead off as if she was a plausible scientist was a laugh, as well as the fact that they had to come up with some ridiculous reason as to why Dr. Halvorson needed an American to aid him rather than a fellow Norwegian. Things, (pun intended), go awry in the camp as they find an alien life form buried in the snow and bring it back to camp. We later found out that this 'Thing' replicates other life forms through almost devouring their DNA and making an identical copy in appearance. However, the person or animal they have replicated becomes one of those Things and starts replicating the crew one by one.  

There was one big problem I had with the movie ever since of the plan to make it. The fact that the monsters were made with CGI rather than hand crafted like the original only took away from the movie. Although the special effects weren't bad, it wasn't good enough as to make it seem like this could happen, thus losing its authenticity as a real horror and became more of a what if this was real? One thing I can say that I enjoyed though was the similar station setting in Antartica which reminded me of the original where they stumbled upon the very same Norwegian space station and found an alien life-form and spacecraft.

The best thing about this movie is that in incorporating old bits of information about the Norwegian research site from the original movie, it makes for a pretty good prequel. It answered many of the questions people may have after watching the first movie, such as, "Why are they shooting at the dog?" and explains how the site got to be destroyed. The ending of this movie was my favourite part because it reminded me so much of the original film, which of course earns it some brownie points. In saying that, there was some pretty average acting, not so good CGI and unconvincing lead characters in Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s The Thing' which makes this prequel unsatisfying. If you're a fan of the original, I highly suggest you don't watch this movie unless you want to poke fun at it.

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