Full review can be found at the Herald.

Like I say over there, The Thing–the first one, I mean–is not just one of my favorite all-time sci-fi movies, it’s one of my plain favorite movies. It has Kurt Russell in a hat as large as the rising moon. Wilford Brimley bellowing and whacking a computer with a fire axe. Not some dude’s laptop, either. A 1982 computer that takes up an entire wall *AND PROBABLY SPEAKS LIKE THIS BEEP BOOP BOOP*. Beards for miles. Oh yeah, and a wickedly paranoid plot where anyone could be an alien replicant beyond the moon and the only way to survive is through the execution of makeshift yet relentless logic.

The new The Thing is supposed to be a prequel, the story of the Norwegian camp that first discovered the creature locked up in the ice. Prequel. Not remake. I said prequel.

Yet for at least the first 2/3 of its run, the new The Thing is essentially the old The Thing. Minus Brimley, Russell, David Keith, all those character actors you’ve never seen elsewhere, and any sense of suspense, paranoia, dread, or goodness of any kind, of course. You’ve got the large, ensemble cast of bearded men. Dogs in pens. Isolated antarctic base with the same set design. Grizzled helicopter pilots. A scientist discovering the Thing can thing people into new Things, then the crew struggling with how to figure out who’s still human and who’s been thinged.

There are differences, I suppose. Lead Mary Elizabeth Winstead is pretty obviously a girl. There’s no analog in the original for antagonist Ulrich Thomsen, an arrogant man of science-type. The method of deducing who’s been thinged is changed, as is most of the third act, which is simultaneously more action-heavy yet way less apocalyptic than the “well let’s just blow the whole place up!” finale of first The Thing. The thing about The Thing is it feels exactly like The Thing, except worse in every way, so it’s goddamn impossible not to compare the two and find the new one lacking.

I think this is a case of the filmmakers wanting to have their cake and eat it too: to make a prequel that’s technically not a remake while paying homage to the original by making this prequel exactly like it. It’s all there in the identical title. They took no risks and thus gained nothing. Except a crappy movie. Because The Thing is crappy. The new The Thing, I mean. The old one is great and call it and tell you that you love it. I’m waiting.

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Me

I am a Science Fiction and Fantasy author, based in LA. Read More.
My Book Genres