The Thing is the new prequel to John Carpenter’s original movie … The Thing. (Same name? Yeah. Ok, so right away this movie comes across as a little stupid).
Have you ever seen a horror movie that just when the suspense is building and you begin to edge yourself to the end of your seat, you start to lose your normal breathing pattern and your eyes widen to find out what will happen – then the feeling is killed by what is supposed to be a gruesome, intensity-building atrocity, which is actually is just kind of … ewww. The original The Thing, of course, also went for an ewww factor. This updated version had a lot more technology behind it in order to well-capture the grotesqueness it was going for. So, I guess that’s a good thing. I still think, though, that by the end the movie was trying a little to hard and ended up getting in its own way.
Basically, unlike the original The Thing, this Thing kind of just reminded me of a not as good, not as suspenseful, Alien (one of my favorite movies).
The first element that made me raise an eyebrow were the characters. Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Death Proof) plays Kate, an American paleontology grad student. Winstead did a pretty good job in her role (she was no Sigourney Weaver, but eh, what are you going to do). But I couldn’t get over the fact that these experienced Norwegian and American scientists were going trust this young, inexperienced, female (it’s 1982, I know it’s not like it was 1942, but still) to lead the paleontology portion of this important expedition. Everyone else in the movie is just there to be expendable. They are almost completely indistinguishable. This is rather annoying when they are referencing a specific character and I have no idea which one that is.
My final complaint is that it the ending was utterly predictable. I knew exactly what was going to happen and how. I hate that in a movie. Unless I am watching a romantic comedy where I want to turn off my brain and allow myself to be mindlessly led along, I don’t want to know the end before it happens. In short, the movie lacked the wit and vivacity to make it as engaging as the first.
The good side? I don’t think it was really trying to be as good as the first. I think it was trying to sell tickets and not completely disgrace the first movie. And in that it made it’s goal. By the end I was ready for it to be over, but I was generally amused during the film. If I knew what I was in for, I would have waited for it to come to video. But if your friends want to drag you to this, you won’t have completely wasted your night or your $10.00.