There are those that worship at The Thing
alter, to whom John Carpenterís The Thing is a near perfect
horror movie. Sure, it has some third act problems but for most of it,
itís a perfect storm. Beautiful production values, a brilliant story
that oozes claustrophobia and suspense, a great ensemble cast and
amazing special effects. More than that, it intelligently explores
issues of trust and isolation in one of the most hostile environments on
Its fan base isnít massive but they are adoring and
like most small fan bases, fanatical. They will be hard to please.
Going to see a prequel made so many years after the
original without any of the people involved, is like going on a blind
date with an ex girlfriend, you kind of know what to expect, you think
it could be a lot of fun but almost everyone you talk to thinks itís a
Iím not going to go into debates like ďdid this need
to be made?Ē or ďWhy couldnít it have been a sequel?Ē that some people
seem so obsessed by. I think we have to remember that the director
talked the studio out of doing a remake. Anyway; its here, this is the
film we got, whatís it like?
Itís pretty damn good actually.
This is a film that would stand up on its own as a
solid horror film, but as a prequel itís more than just a love letter to
the John Carpenter version, itís inappropriately forward on the first
date. And I love it.
The Thing prequel
confusingly called ďThe ThingĒ (but what else could they call it?
A Thing? Another Thing? Thing Again!?) deals with the events in
the Norwegian camp that are just hinted at in the original. Because this
is an American film there are some Americans in it, but itís also chock
full or famous (in Norway) Norwegian actors to form a full
When a Norwegian science team finds something ancient
and alien in the ice in Antarctica, American Paleontologist Kate Loyd is
brought in to oversee breaking the creature out of the ice. Things go
wrong when the Thing wakes up.
The problem here is the special effects. The CG
looks ok but not a patch on the original practical effects. Given that
through production everyone involved talked up their commitment to
practical effects this is a disappointment.
The things they do right here is the slow burn, the
claustrophobia, the nods to the original including some nods to the 1951
version. In some ways it does follow a predictable path but then the
ending was set from the beginning and whatís important is how it gets
there and the path it takes is fresh, new and invigorating. Most
importantly it segues almost seamlessly into the JC version and I for
one got goosebumps when I heard the originals music start up over the
credits and saw the dog leap out and run across the tundra
followed closely by the Norwegians.
Video: The video here is really nice, itís sharp and
clear but given how good the JC version turned out to be on Blu-ray they
had to make it look good.
Audio: Good solid 5.1 mix with a good use of surround
channels especially for chewing noises.
Special Features: Bit of a poor turnout here.
Thereís a fun and interesting commentary by the director, two
interesting if a little short featurettes, one basic making of and one
dealing with flame throwers (that features the designing of a scene not
found in the film) and Deleted scenes. But not enough deleted scenes.
There were scenes in the original trailer that arenít featured here; the
scene that the featurette on flame throwers focuses on also isnít
included. Clearly there is an alternative cut that we are not getting.
Is it better? Who knows? Without all the material we know is out there
this feels like a very incomplete package.