“… practically a remake of the original, but it is executed much worse.”
So last night I watched 2011’s The Thing for two reasons: First, I want to watch both movies in the franchise and canonically, this comes before the John Carpenter classic. Second, if you told me that I had to eat a bowl of ice cream and get kicked in the dick, I would choose to get kicked in the dick first so that I could enjoy my ice cream in peace. So The Thing (2011) takes place before the original film, in 1982. Kate Lloyd (played by Mary Elizabeth WInstead), some kind of ice paleontologist, gets a job to go to the Arctic to help with a recent discovery. Upon her arrival she finds out that the discovery is actually an alien spacecraft and she is there to help dig up the remains of the alien who was presumably its pilot. Of course its not that easy because the alien wakes up, and starts killing people and changing its appearance to take the identity of its victims. It’s really just the same plot as the original.
Now when I compared this movie to getting kicked in the dick, I was maybe a little harsh. I’m going to say it right now: I’m not a fan of this movie, but had the original film never been made, this film would be passable. I know that sounds confusing, but let me explain. The Thing (2011) is supposed to be a prequel to the film of the same name form the 80’s. This is fine, and even welcomed by some because the world presented in the original film is so intriguing that we want to know more. The problem is that this film is essentially a remake of the original, with many ‘beats’ ripped straight from the script apparently. That means that this film loses every ounce of suspense if you have seen the original. Now of course it does stray a few times (like the completely pointless ending set piece), but for the most part it is a carbon copy.
Not only is the film the same, but it is objectively worse. The Thing (1982) is a film that constantly keeps you guessing. The plot is so intriguing because literally anyone could be the monster. In fact, it is still debated to this day wether or not choice people were infected in the original film. The Thing (2011) expanded on this by saying the monster could not replicate inorganic material (fillings, earrings, metal plates, etc.). This allowed for a ‘surefire’ way to determine whether or not someone was infected. The problem arises when one of these characters has a trait that is used to beat you over the head multiple times. I’m not going to spoil anything overtly… You know what, fuck it.
The rest of this review will contain spoilers for The Thing (2011). Proceed at your own risk.
So it’s fucking Joel Edgerton. He has an earring that is about as subtle as being punched in the face. This is then his failing point at the end of the film, when he no longer has the earring. My problem is why the fuck would they make that a plot point? It could have been a nice little easter egg for the audience to pick up on after a few viewings, but no. Instead they decide to fucking linger on the fact that he has no earring, taking out any mystery that could have been there.
So if the story is the same, and the mystery is gone, then what is there? Well, you would expect there to be kick-ass effects whenever the monster decides to morph into someone, much like in the original. Well, if you were expecting that then you will be sorely disappointed. Where the original film strives at making its creations appear real and grotesque, this version relies almost solely on CGI which makes the film look like it’s fucking plastic. The designs for the actual creations were pretty cool I will admit, but the execution was about the level of a fucking straight-to-dvd Barbie movie. This hurts especially because there are videos online showing that these creations were made with practical effects, but then they were all replaced last minute with CGI. It might be one of the sadder things in the film world that I have ever heard.
Even though the creations were pretty well designed, one thing I can’t get over is the alien’s “true form”. First of all, it is completely unnecessary to show the original appearance of the alien because that kind of defeats the purpose. Second of all, what the fuck was it? It’s kind of like when you watch the Michael Bay Transformers actually transform. None of the movements make sense, there are arms everywhere, and really its just a blur. I mean seriously, this thing had pincers like a beetle, legs like a spider, a chest like a dog’s ribcage, and no face that I could see. It just looked like a pile of paper mache sitting on a table. It’s just the cherry on top of this shit sundae.
One last thing,which really doesn’t have much to do with my review, I noticed while watching this film is that it is remarkably similar 10 Cloverfield Lane. I mean you have Mary Elizabeth Winstead, aliens, deformed people, explosive shit getting thrown in mouths, and our protagonist crawling through tight spaces while being chased. This is apparently a perfect recipe for films that I dislike. Even though I am a fan of Mary Elizabeth Winstead she just keeps being a part of my favourite franchises being fucking destroyed.
Ultimately The Thing (2011) is not a very good movie. It is practically a remake of the original, but it is executed much worse. Even the effects, which should be a focus in The Thing, are terrible. Its just not a fun time.
I give The Thing (2011) a D