Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

THE THING (2011)

THE THING (2011). Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.

This is not so much a remake of the classic The Thing from Another World from the 50's, but a prequel to John Carpenter's remake of that film, The Thing. [This film opens and closes with Ennio Morricone's "music" for the Carpenter film.] At the Thule station in the Arctic, a group of Norwegian scientists stumble across a spaceship in a crevasse, and thaw out the alien creature inside of it. Bad idea -- this creature can mimic anyone or anything, and before long the scientists are paranoid as to which among them has been taken over and is no longer human. There's a good scene when they look for fillings in their mouths to see who's changed, and some grotesque encounters between the alien and its victims. Mary Elizabeth Winstead  makes an impression as Kate, with the chief male characters being portrayed competently by Joel Edgarton (pilot Sam Carter) and Ulrich Thomsen (Dr. Halvorson). It's interesting that John W. Campbell's source story "Who Goes There?" actually has an upbeat ending [as does the first film version] while the two subsequent versions, while more faithful to Campbell's concept, are much darker. If you've seen Carpenter's film you already know that this prequel ain't gonna end happy.

Verdict: Some good scenes and effects if ultimately quite depressing. ***.

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