“So i’m going to die because I floss?”Review by Lewis Goodall
If you haven’t seen my top 5 films post, the original ‘The Thing’ film is in my number 3 spot. I’m talking the John Carpenter version, not the other one that just had a man wondering around scaring people. That film is just insanely good and I always seem to bring it up in other reviews but I refuse to review it, I don’t want to put an analytical eye to it because I just want to enjoy it for what it is… so the closest thing to getting to do that is to review the 2011 prequel which i have refused to watch and you know what.. I was not disappointed….. fully.
As mentioned, The Thing 2011 is a prequel to the original and starts with the discovery of a downed UFO that has been locked in the ice of the Antarctic for 100,000 years. Kate Llyod (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), is a science graduate who specialises in preserving corpses that have been frozen in ice. She has been scouted by Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) to help uncover the new discover. When they unearth a terrible beast, the two and the rest of the crew must survive an alien that can assimilate any life form.
The reason I was put off from watching this is because of how much I love the original and I didn’t want to have this film taint with that but as they added it to Netflix I thought why the hell not. I’ll talk about what I loved about it first and then move onto the more rant filled area later cause I certainly have problems that I was expecting. Matthjis Van Heijningen jr is a directors name I would never attempt to pronounce in real life, but he’s obviously a director who was a fan of the original. I mention this because what this film does incredibly well is match the details to the original. In the original they discover a research facility that belong to Norwegians, which is where this 2011 takes place. In the original they look at the aftermath of what happened to the Norwegians. There’s a big ice container where the alien was, there’s dead people, there’s axes in the wall. Obviously something bad went down. The 2011 film matches this details perfectly and gives them all coherent context as to why things end up being where. The axe in particular, in the original it’s there but you don’t really take it on board but in this is shows why it’s there, its because they attack the alien with it, it leaves blood on the handle to they decide to leave it In the wall. It’s just all wonderfully set up for the first film which was something where weirdly its expected but also blows you away when you see it done right.
Its that sort of thing that I really appreciated and I’ll semi spoil something which isn’t really a spoiler but in the original, its starts off with a helicopter chasing a dog through the snow, shooting at it with a rifle. This film finishes with them getting into the helicopter and then starting to chase it, so it leaves directly as the original begins. I loved how they did that that I had to watch the original straight after as it transitioned perfectly. It was also great doing that because then I could look out for things that they did in the prequel to which there were some things done perfectly and I really appreciated that sort of effort.
Small decline on the acting aspect, I didn’t really have a problem with anyone’s acting, I felt that Kate acted well, but nothing blew me away, no one had the same immense and real panic that I felt during the original which made it so great. Bit of a bigger decline now before i get onto my biggest problem with the film, but the story itself, although lending very true to the original and giving everything a bit more meaning, it was great for the first part but the end of the film ended up being a generic horror film ending where the main character fights the big scary monster. Yes yes yes I know this is what happens in the original but this felt different, this felt very unrealistic to what would happen whereas the original felt real. I’ll explain this more in the next paragraph I’m going to title “Lewis’ big fat rant about how they fucked up the alien in the prequel”
What I love most about the original is the alien which I feel is probably a lot of peoples favourite aspect as well. In the original the alien only shows itself when it needs to, its blends in with its surroundings by assimilating a life form and staying hidden so that it can slowly take over the research station and then slowly, the world. Even better is that there is no CGI in the original and it’s all practical effects which makes the alien feel real and means that the film has aged incredibly well… the Alien in this film, I’ll start off and say that along with set design, they didn’t design parts of it well, the design did feel true to the original with some parts but what really grinds my teeth is the way it behaves and the fact that its mostly CGI. This may seem petty and looking to much into but when you’re as much as a fan as the original as me then things do need to be spot on, hence why I appreciate the set design. The alien in this film is way too aggressive, sure in the original it kills people but it does it in a fight or flight situation and it needs to to protect itself whereas in this film it seems like it just wants to kill everyone. It’s too quick as well, I know they were limited with the practical effects in the original but in this the alien just moves too erratically and makes itself known. There’s a scene… honestly skip to the end of this paragraph if you’re bored, I’m just going off on one so you can move on if you wish…. anyway there’s a scene where some guy gets hurt and they’re dragging him off to safety, they are still believing him to be human, so when they drag him into a room where everyone is, it just exposes itself and starts killing. The alien in the original would never do that, it wants to stay in the shadows and only exposes itself when people know that it’s an assimilation. It just felt cheap that they turned it into a typical horror monster because the original had that fear aspect of not being able to trust anyone, being killed when you least expect it, being killed by someone you least expected.
The CGI annoyed me a lot too, maybe not as much as that but the original still feels great because it’s all practical, and somehow this prequel felt older because the CGI has aged badly so it just goes to show that practical always wins.
Overall, although I just had a massive rant about it, I would still recommend this to any fans of the original, purely because, although the story does go cliche at the end, it does perfectly set up the original and it does it to the very last drop of blood, it is wonderful. Without the original though, this is a very cliche film and goes to show that changes small aspects like making the effects practical and changing the way the alien behaves, really can change it from generic film to a masterpiece. The original being the masterpiece that is, not this one, this one is good but nothing on the original is lacked the same suspense that made john carpenter’s so great…. that’s my final note, peace out I guess.