The Thing (Prequel, 2011) Review By Someone Having Not Actually Seen The Film
Okay, hit play before you start reading (and thanks to for posting the John Carpenter’s The Thing Main theme).
This may be my best review I’ve ever done. Hell, I may even start reviewing every movie like this. Don’t even watch the film, just blather on about a film I haven’t seen, why don’t you?. As you probably know, The PREQUEL ti the classic horror/sci fi film (remake) by John Carpenter came out today. And usually I display the film’s poster at the top of my reviews, so just to keep regular readers comfortable….
There. Is that better? Okay, I love horror films. I love science fiction, too. So when you combine those two genres… Well, what’s that word that’s not usually tossed around on this site because this reviewer believes it’s one of those metrosexual terms to be avoided? Oh. ‘Nerdgasm’. Right (see why I don’t use that word?).
I even used to draw (John Carpenter’s) the Thing regularly (no, I’m not digging those up right now). There was nothing better than not listening to one of my high school teachers because I was concentrating on drawing a dude with a vestigal Siberian husky growing out of the side of his head.
So you’re probably wondering why I’m not watching the Thing prequel right this very moment (so that I could write an ACTUAL review instead of this)? Oh. You’re not wondering… Well, just stick with me and I’ll tell you, anyway. I’m not saying I won’t see The Thing prequel. I’m weak willed. I may hold out 4 or 5 days, then I’ll cave in and off to the Rave Theater of my choice I go. But here’s why when the clock struck 12 AM on this Friday mourn that I wasn’t in a theater seat, as usual, watching the midnight showing of the Thing prequel.
First, if it IS a prequel to Carpenter’s The Thing, then I know how it ends. The original… dammit… no, the remake… starts out with the lone survivors of the Norwegian Research team (that found The Thing in the ice) chasing the Thing (disguised as a Husky) via helicopter in Antarctica. Dog-thing makes it to US National Science Institute Station 4. Copter lands. Mistakes happen. No more Norwegians. All gone. They all die. So, if the prequel is a true prequel, then that must be the ending. If it diverges, then the filmmakers have failed in making a prequel featuring the Norwegian station.
Digression: Okay I just had Deja Vu… No, really. That was weird. What was I saying? End of Digression.
Okay, we know that they (the Norwegians) all die. Kurt Russell and company even fly to the Norwegian station and find all of the leftover chaos… No survivors, thing or un-thing… But the trailer is giving away far too much and when that’s happening, it usually means that the producers know they have crap on their hands (not literally… or maybe…).
They also show some flying THINGs in the trailer which lends me to believe the producers are giving themselves an option for making a sequel that doesn’t have to end up with John Carpenter’s The Thing, thereby doing what a film like Alien 3 did (which is to make the previous film’s story meaningless), but this one will b an attempt to make the original… I mean the remake… impotent. And everyone loves the Alien series after the first two, right?
What looks to be the feminizing of the film with Mary Elizabeth Winstead as some kind of wannabe Kurt Russell-like Thing protagonist . I say that because from the trailers it looks like they’re just repeating a lot of the same things (I don’t mean THINGs… well you know what I mean) that occurred in the first film only making the lead female. They show the same dog kennel setup. They show Winstead trying her best to look tough with the flame thrower. I’ve even seen sevearl reviews stating they do the same blood test thing as they did in the Carpenter version… Only with a chick… GRRRRRIIIIRRRLLL POWER! I really hate that trend in contemporary horror films. That never works very well. I don’t need social engineering messages in my horror films. Make a point. Don’t preach to me. Making it a GRRRRRIIIIRRRLLL POWER! movie goes against what horror films were originally made for anyway, which was to get your date (or guy it appears nowadays) recoiling into your arms. Horror films were supposed to be date movies. GRRRRRIIIIRRRLLL POWER! movies are trying to… you know… empower young girls. Just keep that shit out of Rated R horror films. I don’t need a f’ing politically correct social message. Don’t misunderstand me. I have no problem with films that have a feminist slant like the aforementioned first two Alien films, Near Dark and/or Ginger Snaps (all great films). I’m just not a fan of the PG-13 GRRRRRIIIIRRRLLL POWER! message movie and that’s what this looks like to me.
And Mary Elizabeth Winstead… If I do see this, I’m going to be wondering when the next wig change is going to happen onscreen. But that’s just me. Nothing against the actress (who did a great job in the Scott Pilgrim movie).
The casting of Winstead along with what looks an across the board youth movement onscreen to make this appeal more to a target audience age also lets me know that they’re going for quick commerce over quality filmmaking… In the original, you got some gnarly looking scientist types. Kurt Russell believably played a pilot. This didn’t look like a group of actors. They all looked the parts.
I mean it had Wilford Brimley (in one of his best ever roles) for God’s sake! The new film…
That guy from the previous pic doesn’t resemble any of the Norwegian dudes from the first… no, second… film. This guy’s beard looks a whole lot thicker than the one above or any others I’ve seen.
Okay, the poster. The poster way up at the top of this post. It says ‘By the Producers of Dawn Of the Dead’… Whenever a film says ‘By the Producers of’, NEVER trust that movie… NEVER! Producers don’t make good or bad films. Directors make good or bad films. Whenever a directors name is bantied about like ‘Produced by Stephen Spielberg’ or ‘Produced by Guillermo Del Toro’ means that the script wasn’t something that the director was interested in, but by attaching their name the uninformed will think that they have a much bigger role in the process when most directors who produce always get out of the way of the director (because they know what that’s like) and the real director is ALWAYS three steps down from the director’s name in the ‘Produced BY _Director’s Name Goes Here_’. And the fact that this film states that it’s from the producers of Dawn of the Dead, an inferior (but somewhat enjoyable) remake in itself, means they haven’t produced anything that’s of even mediocre quality in quite some time. And the fact that they’re not putting the director’s name (whoever that may be) on the poster says all you need to know really.
Last, but certainly not least, I loved Rob Bottin’s FX in the… that John Carpenter movie. Sure, they aren’t perfect, some are a little dated, but for the most part, the FX are visceral, tactile, lovingly putrid, gorey, bloody… I loved it. The new film is slick CGI. Some of it in the trailer looks pretty cool and some of it doesn’t. When you see actors running and jumping in front of what you KNOW is a green screen… It takes any tension that there might be away.
My rating for this film based entirely on my own biases for the original, speculation, the trailers and what I’ve read in a few reviews; all of which made me reconsider going to see The Thing (prequel) at the theater…
2 of 5
Now, I’ll probably have to go see this in order to see if I’m spot on in my pre-viewing assessment… For now though, I’m stickin’ with the original… I mean, the remake. Not the prequel. And if you want to see my short review of ‘John Carpenter’s The Thing’, just click here. That film DOES have some flaws to it, but it appears I ignored them all because of my strong feelings for the film…. No, no, no… (Ahem.) John Carpenter’s… The THING.