The Thing (prequel) 2011
Directed by: Matthijs Van Hijningen Jr.
Written by: Eric Heisserer, and John W. Campbell Jr. (short story °Who Goes There°)
Starring: Mary Elisabeth Winstead, Eric Christian Olsen, Kim Bubbs, Paul Braunstein
So, I just saw a sneak peek of the new °The Thing°. It’s a prequel to the Carpenter flick from ’82, in the remake mold of present day. Or is it? Is it an unrelated alien ouevre that merely copied the cells of Carpenter’s remake and is POSING as a remake, or one that is actually the genuine article prequel. Alright, I took it’s blood and I dipped into it with a heated up wick, and I’m relieved to say it’s the real thing.
The cast is interesting. It’s not dynamite like the original with Kurt Russell, Keith David, and Wilford Brimley, but it had me peeking out of the corners of my eyes. It had the dude from °Beerfest°, Eric
Christian Olsen, the one who plays Gunter. I cannot take this guy’s face seriously since I saw that flick, but he was good in this one. Also, obscurely enough it had Paul Braunstein, whom I know as °Johnny, the only brilliant thing about that awful, awful Canadian subway soap opera ‘Train 48’ (RIP)° He dies early, but hey, I’m pretty stoked that a talent like his wasn’t buried by his own country’s shitty programming. Well cast.
The movie is fundamentally different than the Carpenter film in the casting of a female in the lead. This is Mary Elisabeth Winstead (a distant cousin of Ava Gardner whom our very own Mr. Ben Tatar gave sweet sweet coitus to, back in the waywaywayback!). She is excellent as Kate, the American scientist enlisted to help a bunch of Norwegian yokels at an arctic outpost to dissect a newly discovered alien trapped in a block of ice. There is a calm and underdone gravitas of everyone’s performance that really anchors this prequel to the original. Not trying to outdo the cool parts of the original with more firepower and a hip young cast. This one is as bleak and frustrating as the original, with a slightly less claustrophobic feel. Oh, and if you’re worried about a happy ending, not to worry, my dark-souled friends.
Another Canadian, Kim Bubbs, is one of the film’s two females in thefilm. She was there at the the screening and she explained that there was a concentrated effort to use some puppetry and practical F/X mixed into the current digital stuff to absolutely honour the Carpenter original’s tone and magic, and I’m ecstatic to say it did. I did feel they cannibalized °Alien/Aliens° with the design of the um, alien at first, and there were some face-sucking er, uh aliens and such, but at this point it would be like being mad that Iced Earth’s new album copies Judas Priest AND Black Sabbath. FOR SHAME!!
I hate digital effects, buuuut they are needed for new sci-fi, fantasy, horror projects, so get used to it. I think they waited long enough to make this prequel, in order for some of the higher ups at Universal to truly appreciate what made the Carpenter version so bloody spectacular. If they made it back then McReady would have returned as the Thing-Overlord and spouted sly alien one-liners, maybe even rapped!
If you go in with a clean palette and are willing to overlook some minor modern F/X chicanery you will be thrilled with this remake/prequel/clone/alien/pizza/thing.