Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One Of These Things Is A Lot Like The Other

We ventured out to a theatre to see The Thing last night. For those who don't know, this is a prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing, which came out in 1982 and is in my Top 20 Favourite Movies of All Time list. This latest version does its best to tell the story of what happened at the Norwegian camp in Antarctica that's essentially the springboard for what happens in Carpenter's early-80s classic.

I'm a bit torn on this movie. On the one hand, it's a geek's dream come true, as it pays off many of the mysterious little bits from its 1982 sequel: the burned, two-faced corpse in the snow, the bloody-handled axe in the wall and the slit wrist on the radio man, among others. It also provides a few genuine surprises, especially in the final act, which I didn't see coming at all. For the most part, though, it follows the rhythm of Carpenter's version so faithfully that it's fairly maddening! I was predicting some of the beats quite successfully, despite this being my first viewing of it. And it also seemed to have a slightly different take on the creature's modus operandi, which I kept having trouble rationalizing with the original.

The other issue I have with 2011's The Thing is that it doesn't really present any sort of mystery, just lots of scares and gore. Julie didn't like Carpenter's The Thing, when we showed it to her in March of this year, because she didn't feel it played fair with the whole "Who do you trust?" angle of the story. While I didn't 100% agree with her, I had to concede her point that that aspect could've been done better. Here, however, there's virtually no attempt to provide clues as to who's the creature and who's not, and you're left feeling that it was all fairly arbitrary. This is the one area where they could've actually improved upon the other film, and instead they flubbed it completely.

Overall, though, it's an effective scary movie that both Vicki and I enjoyed. She spent a little of it hiding her eyes behind the hoodie that I'd given her for warmth (it was a very cold theatre!) and that's always a good sign.

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