Friday, 16 December 2011

261 - Review: The Thing (2011)

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

The Thing (2011) poster

The Thing (2011)
15th December 2011. Location: Cinema

Okay, right off the bat: I saw 1982's The Thing for the first time properly last year when Cineworld screened it. I wasn't very impressed. Filled with unlikeable characters, dated effects and John 'Direct the film, write the theme tune, sing the theme tune' Carpenter's score. My main issue is that people big it up like it's one of the greatest films of all time, and I don't see that at all. At best, it's a 1980's b-movie, and they're not supposed to be great.

And so, it was with great trepidation that I ventured out to see the 2011 prequel. Yeah, I'd kind of assumed it was a remake on account of it having the same actual title as its counterpart. But it's definitely a prequel. Which I've got no problem with at all, for the record.

So it starts like some bizarre homage to AVP and Jurassic Park (bizarre when you think that AVP is an homage to JP in itself), with a palaeontologist being recruited to investigate 'a structure' discovered in Antarctica. A subterranean craft is established as the cause of the excitement, as well as 'a visitor', which has clawed its way out of the ship at some point in the last 100,000 years, only to become encased in the ice mere feet from the surface.

What follows is a very standard horror tale of one-by-one deaths and enemy-in-our-midst paranoia. That said, it's very well made. Yes, we've seen it before, sometimes better, but it's certainly got that old-school tension going on whereby you know they're going to die, but it's still a gripping ride (although, it has to be said, there's a plethora of 'silent-silent-silent-JUMP' moments). What really makes the film work is the performances from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton. Where the other actors/characters are fairly by-the-book, Kate Lloyd and Braxton Carter, respectively, are characters that you do care about, and have more than two-dimensional motivations (and lines). Also worth mentioning is the effects work which (unsurprisingly) puts the 1982 version to shame. It seems very video-game-inspired, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Ultimately, I enjoyed The Thing, when I really wasn't sure what I was going to make of it. It's not going to change my life or make me want to watch the Kurt Russell version again (even though the end sequence segues beautifully into the opening of that film), but it kept me engaged for 100 minutes, when many films haven't this year.

A weak five, but a five nonetheless.


Oh, and it it just me that thinks the threat in the movie is a horribly clunkly allegory for the AIDS virus? Maybe just me overthinking it. As usual.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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