Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Review: The Thing (2011)

The Thing (2011)

I loved John W Campbell Jr's short story "Who Goes There", I think that it's 1951 screen version The Thing From Another World is a beautiful gem of film making that is worth watching over and over again, and I'm even willing to concede the brilliance of John Carpenter's 1984 remake, The Thing, even though I thought it leaned too far into the gore-for-gore's-sake territory for my taste.  That being said, what insane venal impulse motivated Universal to green light this remake/prequel/abomination?

This dross is horrible.  Not only is there absolutely no point in this quasi-remake, it isn't even a good film in it's own right.  Once again, we have the ancient spaceship found in the ice of Antarctica, the monster that can imitate anyone and the paranoia of being trapped with it, but all of that it lost in a story utterly lacking in tension, humour, atmosphere or even logic.  It's like some weird party game where you're told to paraphrase a script and lose points for every time you make a direct quote.

The direction and writing are phenomenally lazy. Instead of ringing new changes on the story, the film makers merely assume we're up to speed with the concepts and run with it.  There's no attempt to capture the horror of the situation or the spine-tingling moment of coming into contact with the impossible Other.  This is just giant claws and stalking monsters with neither alien nor human showing a bit of sense.  Worse, we are once again lumbered with Action GirlTM, who weighs about seven stone yet can effortlessly carry a fully loaded flame thrower that must weigh as much as she does (where the hell did they get these, anyway?) and has the scientific insight of Doctor Who despite looking like she hasn't even finished her master's degree, though no one ever adequately explains what the deuce she's doing there other than to be The Heroine. Worst, the pace is slow, the monsters are unconvincing, it's too long and the Antarctic setting is virtually an afterthought.

The short review:  This is modern Hollywood at its cynical worst.

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