THE THING (2011): Discussion, Spoilers, Reviews

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Trekker4747, Oct 14, 2011.

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Grade THE THING

  1. Excellent

    5 vote(s)
    20.8%
  2. Good

    14 vote(s)
    58.3%
  3. Average

    5 vote(s)
    20.8%
  4. Bad

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Terrible

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Set Harth

    Set Harth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Obi-Wan Kenobi would say that his followers are the bigger fools.
     
  2. bryce

    bryce Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What era is this film set in - modern day? Or 1982?

    Just been wondering...
     
  3. Base_Delta_Zero

    Base_Delta_Zero Commodore Commodore

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    ...it's a prequel ... so just before the events of the first one in '82
     
  4. bryce

    bryce Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So....they are not trying to reset the date of the original film and update it to 2011? This new movie is set in '82 with 80's tech (no computers laptops, etc...) Right?

    I was wondering which way they'd go with that...as modern sci-i audiences tend to expect laptops and computers and DNA analyzers and cell phones, etc in films where an alien biology is examined....but as there where none in the '82 version, that would be problematic...glad they stayed faithful to the time and setting and such...
     
  5. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    That's not at all what Ebert's review of Nemesis was like. Disagree with the man all you want, I often do, but don't just blatantly make things up.
     
  6. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    I just re-read it. I may have over stated things, but he does spend more time nit-picking the movie more than he does discussing the actual aspects of the movie like plot, story, acting, stuff like that.

    Anyway....

    The Thing

    My Grade: B+

    John Carpenter's "The Thing" is one of those 1980s classics that's just a testament to the kind of story teller and craftsman he is. The movie focused on an isolated group of Americans at an Antarctican base dealing with fear and uncertainty when faced with a new danger. The movie would work alone if everything was just manifestations of their madness while isolated during a Antarctican winter storm but whole new element of terror is brought in with the memetic-creature that terrorizes the base over the course of the movie.

    Itself a remake of a 1950s movie, Carpenter's "The Thing" is a classic that is often imitated or referenced to in other places -most notably an early episode of "The X-Files."

    Here we are over 20 years later and we're presented with a "prequel" movie that gives us some back story about what happened at the Norwegian base an hour away from the American one from several days before hand literally right up to when the first movie began.

    It's 1982 and an American researcher/scientist in the field of paleontology is tasked with traveling to The South Pole for a group of Norwegians to give her professional opinion on an amazing discovery. That amazing discovery turns out to be a space-ship buried under the Antarctic ice for 100 millenia along with the frozen form of an unknown creature.

    Before too long the frozen creature escapes and the researchers discover that the being is able to imitate the form of a biological creature in comes into contact with almost perfectly.

    The movie is almost note-for-note the same as the original, paranoia sets in with the group over who is real and who isn't, a simple test is worked out to figure out who is human and who isn't, and we're shown that high-level explosives, fire-arms, and flame-throwers are apparently standard equipment for South Pole research.

    Mary Elizabeth Winstead is our lead character, the called upon American scientist, and pretty much plays the Kurt Russel role although with a lot less badassness and a lot more hotness, though she certainly has her moments of badassery.

    The special-effects (re: CGI) is used pretty well here in depicting the creature and how it imitates life forms and the movie does a great job of showing nods to the original even setting up a few key, and subtle, plot points and details. The usual paranoia sets in with the usual suspects given the unreasoned stink-eye, the lovable screw-ball characters and maybe the occasional "oh no, that guy got it!"

    In short, it's a fun movie that any fan of the original is sure to enjoy. The effects are good, action pretty decent but much of the charm just comes from the cues to the original and setting things up. There's even a crack in the door open for a possible sequel. Or a coincide-quel? A genuine, chronological sequel?

    Just a couple of nit-picks I want to make: (SPOILERS)

    1. When Katie Lloyd (MEW) rides in the helicopter en route to the Norwegian base a fellow American -working at the base- asks her how a basketball team he follows is faring, seemingly under the impression they're playing. We're told through both dialogue and opening credits that it's Winter in Antarctica (as it is in the original movie) which means it's Summer in the Northern Hemisphere and basketball is played in the Winter. This is fairly "common" in movies or stories that take place in the SH but with reference to the NH (or vice/versa), they don't always acknowledge the seasons in the NH and SH are opposite one another.

    2. The movies explains quite a bit about the events between the two movies, but doesn't seem to explain why the spaceship is missing by the time the Americans get to it in the opening to the original.

    3. Close to the end our surviving characters mention traveling to a nearby Russian base, little to no mention is made of the American one that is either just as far away if not closer. (At one point it's said the Russian base is 50-miles away from the Norwegian one, in the original the Norwegian base is a one-hour helicopter ride away from the American base. It's possible the Russian base is closer to the Norwegian one if only by a bit, but it seemed odd little to no mention is made of the American base.

    4. I could quibble the helicopter at the end of this movie differs in color and livery from the helicopter at the beginning of the original.

    The technology and other references to time period lines up nicely with the movie being set in the 1980s accepting that doctors and scientists would have access to computers and specialized equipment. This movie takes place from four days or so before the events of the first movie literally right up to the moment the first movie begins after its title card.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  7. OsmiumJohnnycake

    OsmiumJohnnycake Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The spaceship is still there in the original when they go out to investigate the site.
     
  8. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Yeah, I rewatched the original last night and saw the space ship was still there, I was thinking of the scene in "The X-Files" movie where Scully and Mulder are on the edge of where the space-ship takes off.
     
  9. NJOberheim

    NJOberheim Captain Captain

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    SPOILERS!!!




    I thought the same thing. Since the Carter character was already infected when he suggested the Russian camp, he could have just been making it up to take Kate over.

    Or, maybe the writers took some artistic freedom just to set things up for a possibe sequel. Maybe Kate, McGready, and Childs some how find each other and they make their way to the Russian camp.
     
  10. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I really like and respect Roger Ebert. :techman:

    Contrary to Trekker4747's misrepresentation of it, Ebert's review of Nemesis was dead-on - in a few brief and witty sentences he summed up the essence of what was wrong with Star Trek by that point in time; he basically wrote an early epitaph for the first four decades of the thing.

    It couldn't be stated much better or more entertainingly than that. :lol:
     
  11. TremblingBluStar

    TremblingBluStar Vice Admiral Admiral

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  12. Kail

    Kail Commodore Commodore

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    First, I'm a huge fan of the 82 version, and went into the theater expecting to be disappointed, but was pleasantly surprised. I liked it. Great idea having the protagonist be a female as the 82 version was such a boys club. Others have mentioned how the PTB hit all the important points to fall in line with 82. There were also some great tribute shots to the 82 version that I loved. For example the shot coming over the rail to establish the block of ice. Certain parts were derivative, but I don't think there was any way to avoid that to some degree. The creature was great, I had no problem with the CGI. The film gave me all I wanted from a prequel and I can recommend it to any fan of the Carpenter film. Was the film perfect? No, but I think it was as good as it could be. Thumbs up!
     
  13. OsmiumJohnnycake

    OsmiumJohnnycake Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    While I enjoyed the movie, the end result is too much of a remake even though it's also a very faithful prequel. In the original, you are in the dark about what exactly happened at the Norwegian base like the characters are. That is, until things start happening and then you can pretty much figure it out.

    If the 2011 version came out first and the 1982 version was The Thing II, I suspect everyone would complain because they just payed $x to see the same movie again with no new ideas. This movie's main achievement is being a faithful prequel that really syncs up with the original with most of the details. But it leaves me wondering why they'd even bother to make it. If they'd just done a remake, they'd be more free to do new things with the basic idea at the core.

    And even within the confines of making it sync up well, they could have, you know, not made scenes just like the original (the conversation around the fire, for example). It probably didn't help that I watched the original again Friday night then went to see a Saturday matinee.

    I do have one question. They estimated (in the original version at least) that the spaceship must have crashed something like 100,000 years ago based on the depth and the ice surrounding it. And surely the alien didn't make it very far from the ship before it froze. But the alien is in pretty shallow ice compared to the ship. On some level that's logical since a ship crashing might make a crater. But they seemed to make the age estimate when they found the ship. The alien was what, no more than a foot below the ice, right? I mean based on both movies and the drill they used to take a sample. So the ship either crashed a lot more recently or the alien wandered for a looong time and then returned before it froze (which doesn't make any sense). Am I misunderstanding anything? I know it isn't incredibly important.
     
  14. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  15. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Yep. There's even text at the beginning stating that the movie takes place in '82. And there are a few instances where radios are playing songs from the time. It's a straightforward prequel, not really trying to fudge it. Except with the title, I guess.

    It was a perfectly serviceable monster movie. There weren't really any missteps that I can think of right now, aside from minor plot nitpicks. The performances are good. The effects are pretty good in most shots, particularly in the first half of the movie. Once things start skittering up walls and such, the effects aren't as good.

    It doesn't quite have the pervasive sense of dread and paranoia that Carpenter's version has.

    Still, I think it's worth seeing as a matinee.
     
  16. OsmiumJohnnycake

    OsmiumJohnnycake Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The opening credits mentioned "Who Goes There?" but I don't think I saw a mention of Bill Lancaster, John Carpenter or Rob Bottin. (Ennio Morricone did get a credit.) I find that weird since nowhere does it explicitly mention it's a sequel/prequel, nor does the title suggest it. The creature design was clearly based on Bottin's vision of the alien. The story was clearly based on the 1982 version. And there were even shots that duplicated Carpenter's movie. So I was a little surprised to not see them mentioned anywhere. Or did I miss it?
     
  17. Set Harth

    Set Harth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It would be somewhat unlikely for the title to indicate prequel status - unless it was called The Thing: The Beginning or something. If this had been a series with installments called "Thing One" and "Thing Two", I guess you could have called a prequel Thing Zero.
     
  18. OsmiumJohnnycake

    OsmiumJohnnycake Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't have The Thing Bluray, so maybe they've already changed the title to Episode IV: The American Base.
     
  19. Set Harth

    Set Harth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Episode IV: The Norwegian Shoots First
     
  20. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Or The Thing From Another World. ;)





    (I'm kidding, of course. This is TrekBBS, so one must specify.)
     

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