The Thing is a pointless remake ... er, prequel | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Thing is a pointless remake ... er, prequel

Posted by Google on Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Mary Elizabeth Winstead breaks out the flamethrower.
  • Photo by Kerry Hayes/ Universal Pictures
  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead breaks out the flamethrower.
THE THING
*
Opens Friday

Considering it pits its heroine against a ravenous space alien whose man-eating orifice resembles a vagina dentata, you’d be forgiven for believing The Thing actually contains a thing or two to think about. Or at the very least, something to differentiate itself from John Carpenter’s 1982 The Thing (which itself was a remake of the 1951 horror classic, The Thing from Another World).

The 1982 movie, made during the height of Carpenter’s career, benefited from the director’s then-deft suspenseful touch, a terrific cast, Ennio Morricone’s score and Rob Bottin’s cringe-inducing makeup effects. This pointless new film, purportedly a prequel, features direction by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. that’s as cold as its Antarctic setting, as well as unremarkable actors and a soundtrack that’s forgettable except when it incorporates Morricone’s pulsating bass chords. Moreover, gooey prosthetics are replaced by computer effects that, while competent, lack any tactile ickiness.

The plot: Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (well played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is recruited by snarky scientist Sander Halversen (Ulrich Thomsen) to fly to Antarctica to join a Norwegian scientific team. Given Kate’s thin résumé and Sander’s clear contempt for her, it’s never clear why she was invited. Nevertheless, the expedition’s purpose is to inspect a buried spaceship that crashed to Earth thousands of years ago, as well as the frozen corpse of its alien pilot. You know bad things are bound to happen: The alien revives and turns out to be a carnivore that takes the shape of any life form it consumes.

But like the shape-shifting alien, The Thing absorbs its predecessor and spits out a pale carbon copy; here, the friend-or-foe conceit lacks emotional punch when the humans aren’t particularly interesting to begin with. What’s especially discouraging is that the film’s floundering gets worse on the few occasions it threatens to break away from its predecessor’s moorings. That said, kudos to the filmmakers for making Kate the smartest person in the room and not turning her into a sniveling scream queen. As The Thing demonstrates, if you’re going to make a copycat sci-fi movie, there are far worse ideas than including an imitation Ellen Ripley.

Tags: , , ,

Pin It

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

When discussing this play, you need to be cautious not to imply that it's an accurate depiction of autism. Mark …

by Curio Onscreen on Theater Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Lights Up the Mathematics of the Mind (Arts)

First comment sounds like Crawford wrote it.

by Chris Kassel on Scott Crawford Refused to Sell Us a Plate of Food at Crawford and Son (Arts)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

When discussing this play, you need to be cautious not to imply that it's an accurate depiction of autism. Mark …

by Curio Onscreen on Theater Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Lights Up the Mathematics of the Mind (Arts)

First comment sounds like Crawford wrote it.

by Chris Kassel on Scott Crawford Refused to Sell Us a Plate of Food at Crawford and Son (Arts)

Best ending should have been:

Aurora got really hurt by projectile (in movie it hit her arm). It should …

by Sergej on Movie Review: Passengers Proves a Bad Ending Can Ruin an Otherwise Good Movie (Arts)

I'd keep an eye on the Facebook page and expect to see events there as they finish reshuffling, but if …

by Brian Howe, INDY managing editor for arts & culture on An Epilogue for Unexposed Microcinema's Bold, Meaningful Year of Holding Down a Stable Venue for Experimental Film (Arts)

sorry i missed these events. how do I find out about future ones? Web link is dead. FB/Twitter links appear …

by Geoff Dunkak on An Epilogue for Unexposed Microcinema's Bold, Meaningful Year of Holding Down a Stable Venue for Experimental Film (Arts)

© 2017 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation