Critics were wrong about the original movie back in 1982. Are they wrong about the rehash too?

- As a prequel, it ain’t no equal. The biggest problem with the new Thing movie is that people going to see it, knowing that it is a prequel to the 1982 classic (starring Kurt Russell and directed by John Carpenter), know exactly what to expect. Prequels are mostly a bad idea for this very same reason: there are no narrative surprises. (The only prequel that ever worked is this year’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Prequels simply cannot fulfill unrealistic audience expectations.) A sequel to the original movie would have worked better.

- That said, the critics had it wrong . . . again. The Thing prequel scored a dismal 34% at RottenTomatoes.com. We don’t think it was really that bad. Seriously flawed, yes, but never boring or dull. The main concept – of researchers at a remote Arctic base threatened by a shape-shifting alien monster – is strong enough to survive a mediocre execution. Did audiences really want yet another torture porn flick instead?

- Some of the wriggly tentacle CGI effects in this new movie are really lousy and undermine the flick. We missed the sheer physicality of Rob Bottin’s special makeup effects for the original movie. They seemed as if they could actually be real. It is a step back for special effects!

- All Arctic research bases have flame throwers and firearms! Who knew?

- Plot holes and goofs. We always thought that the spaceship carrying the Thing crash-landed and the shape-shifting extraterrestrial got frozen in the ice while crawling from the wreckage. Turns out that the spaceship is in perfect working order after all to which we have only one thing to say: what a dumb-ass place to park your spaceship!

- The prequel needs a bad ass like Kurt Russell.

- We liked that the new movie goes to great lengths to be true to the original film, even down to imitating the first film’s distinctive Ennio-Morricone-channeling-John-Carpenter soundtrack. (This is something the recent Conan the Barbarian remake got wrong: we missed Basil Pouledouris’ rousing soundtrack, damn it!)

- History repeats itself. The original movie was a box office disaster and so is the prequel. In the summer of E.T. and feel-good Reaganism audiences didn’t want a slab of solid ice doom like the original The Thing. It almost wrecked director John Carpenter’s career and one can safely say that he never made such a good movie again. Made for a “mere” $34 million, the 2011 Thing only managed to bring in half of that at the U.S. box office.

 

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Category: Movies, Reviews

About the Author

James has been running The Sci-Fi Movie Page since Before the Beginning of Time Itself (TM), i.e. since the site's inception in 1997. In addition to sci-fi James also likes 1970s motorbikes and chili dogs although he doesn't own the former and no longer eats the latter. He currently resides in Kiev, Ukraine for reasons best left unexplained.

  • Raital

    I dont get the negative reaction to this new film..i thought it was great

  • Mapexking2

    Why does everyone keep referring to the 1982 as the original ? The 50`s was the best !

  • Lighthawk Demon

    I so agree with you. The 1982 version has its place, but the original 1951, “The Thing from Another World”, is by far the superior.

  • Mainviller

    It’s refreshing to see somebody still remembers the black & white classic.  I run that movie on a loop when I want a reminder that once upon a time…they made movies with real dialogue.

  • Joe Schmoe

    First, Carpenter’s ’82 film is obviously the inspiration for this prequel, so it’s perfectly reasonable to refer to it as “the original” when it comes to reviewing this 2011 turkey.  Second, there’s not one single moment in the prequel that’s even a tenth as tense and frightening as the blood test scene from ’82.  Third, the pathetic pandering to female/metrosexual-dorkboy audiences by having a dull piece of cheesecake like Winstead in the lead role just shows how misguided the producers and director of this film were.  Winstead’s ineffectual presence only serves to remind just how desperately this prequel needed an actor with gravitas like Kurt Russell.  It also didn’t pass the smell test, as there’s absolutely no reason – other than for marketing purposes – to have any American characters involved with the Norwegian camp story, especially considering how paranoid the lead Norwegian scientist was of having outsiders scoop his scientific discoveries.  As a stand-alone film, this is just passable C-grade material.  Compared to Carpenter’s ’82 original, it’s downright pathetic.  And please, to refer to the CGI as anything but downright awful does a disservice to people with functioning eyeballs.  The split-face guy on the helicopter was laughable.  It literally looked like some high school kid did that with Photoshop.  Atrocious stuff.  Anyone giving a thumbs up to this offensive bomb is seriously lacking in taste, and no doubt is a major contributor to Hollywood’s incentive to keep churning out one awful, creatively bankrupt sequel/prequel/reboot after another. 

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