The Thing (2011)

the_thing_2011“Unnecessary” is a common rebuff for sequels and prequels, as if art itself is actually necessary (maybe as nourishment for the soul, but not in the same way say, chemotherapy or quitting smoking is necessary).

So The Thing is Matthijs van Heijningen Jr’s prequel to the John Carpenter film everyone knows and loves, or should know / love if they’re in the same ballpark when it comes to intemperate Carpenter worship as we are here. The 2011 film is, yes, probably unnecessary. It’s a pretty loving tribute, nice to look at, and mildly compelling, until about half-way through. At that point it peters out like a basketball team shooting the lights out and gassing toward a feeble finish.

To quote President Trump’s bizarre Twitter go-to, “it’s a shame.”

The Thing has the makings of a good film from the outset. The camera lingers on an ominous Antarctica.

The location scouting is absolutely dynamite. This looks, and feels…VERY cold indeed. Chilling, you might say.

And when the creature bursts forth from its icy Jacuzzi, it’s a fantastic and highly memorable scene. The effects are kinda good too. Guess they kinda have to be. Carpenter’s Thing had special effects done by Rob Bottin and company, as well as makeup effects legend Stan Winston. Talk about a two-man all-star team. Many have taken umbrage with the CG, but it’s not nearly as bad as you might think.

As for the cast, the Norwegian crew is hilarious and energized, especially when belting out the unlikely Eurovision Song contest entry showstopper, “Sámiid ædnan” (it’s anyone’s guess how that’s pronounced).

the_thingBut somewhere along the way in this Thing, the crew, poking around around all that ice at the Norwegian research base, become insufferable.

Putting disparate people in harm’s way, is one of horror’s hallmarks, both for zombie films -and it almost goes without saying here as the similarities are apparent – Alien.

But when you stack up this cast against Kurt Russell and company, the guy with a 13-year old’s haircut from NCIS: Los Angeles, just doesn’t quite measure up.

**3/4 (out of 5)

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