DVD REVIEW: The Thing (2011)

The prequel to the 1982 film of the same name arrives on DVD and Blu-ray but will it do justice to one of the best-loved sci-fi horror films of all time? Because this franchise has such a following, we had to get two people to review this movie. One, a true aficionado of the original, the other, someone who has only seen the original a few times.

The follow-up is a prequel to the movie of the same name that was a remake of the original movie based on the book called “Who Goes There?” Still with me? Good then let’s begin.

At an Antarctica research site, a team of Norwegian and American scientists intercept a mysterious signal and soon make a startling discovery in the frozen wastelands. They unearth an ancient alien craft that’s been buried for 100,000 years together with a startling life form that’s also in deep freeze. Back at the base, a decision is taken to take a sample from the frozen creature which leads to a confrontation between quarantine-cautious graduate student Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and lead scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson. Whilst the team are celebrating their life-changing find, the frozen organism starts to thaw with devastating consequences for not just the team but all of mankind. Realising too late that it is still alive, the team make the horrifying discovery that ‘The Thing’ is consuming and replicating the team members.

As I mentioned, for this review I had to get another set of eyes in to watch this film so I could understand why some people had a dislike for it. Silver Fox to lend me a hand.

Montoya: For me I have no problem with the fact that this movie was made as I do not see what the fuss is all about with the original. I would have changed the title of the new film as that is just confusing. This is a prequel to a well known tale and fills in the back story that for me was always missing from carpenter’s version. But even though I know that most, if not all of these characters, might not survive I still want to see the journey they go on and what happened.

Silver Fox: The film is trying to tell a story that we all know. The ending is known, unless they were going to undo everything leading to the point that the ‘The Thing (1982)’ started at. With that background, why is anyone going to invest in caring about the characters who do not survive? This is film’s first and major drawback. As the film does centre around a small team trapped in an Arctic base with an alien, I found myself watching a remake, not a prequel.

Montoya: The special effects try really hard to combine practical and CGI with mixed results but as I watched the “making of” found on the extras I was amazed at the detail on the practical models they created and somehow found the final effect overshadowed by the CGI usage.

Silver Fox: The special effects are generally, dreadful. They did get better as they film went along, but first impressions count, and the first man-to-creature transformation was just ‘poor’!

Montoya: The cast are a mix of Norwegian, American and English which gave it an international feel which somehow seems right for a base stuck out in the Antarctic. I loved the character of Kate Lloyd played Mary Elizabeth Winstead which was an obvious homage to Ripley and in fact in some scenes she look just like her from Alien. Other notable cast members were Carter the helicopter pilot portrayed by Joel Edgerton who seems to be channelling Kurt Russell here which is nothing to be ashamed off and in fact seems kind of right in a way. The Norwegian cast members all play it very straight and bring a touch of class and reality to proceedings. Ulrich Thomsen as Dr. Sander Halvorson was also a highlight for me with his arrogance and how he treated others especially Winstead’s palaeontologist.

The Director does a good job of mixing the cast up with opposing views using culture and language as a tool to amp up the tension within the base.

Silver Fox: The female lead was great, and reminded me of Ripley in the first Alien, in as much as the transformation from team member to ‘warrior woman’ occurred smoothly across one film but her ending troubled me – I was not happy with it at all.

Montoya: The music, composed by Marco Beltrami  was slowly enticing with some great build ups. Beltrami has previously composed for a wide variety of films across genre’s including Jonah Hex, The Hurt Locker, Die Hard 4.0 and many more. In this film he creates a score that is enticing and suspenseful.

GS Rating: Montoya: 3/5 | Silver Fox 1/5 | Average rating 2/5
GS Reporter: Montoya & Silver Fox

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