Wednesday, 7 December 2011
REVIEW: THE THING
A perfect imitation.
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen,Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje & Eric Christian Olsen. Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. Screenplay: Eric Heisserer
The thing about John Carpenter's 1982 classic 'The Thing' is that it was a sci-fi horror that was just so far ahead of it's time. As Kurt Russell et al fought an alien thing that assimilated other organisms and imitated them with blow-torches in an Antarctic research station, the cold, suspense, atmosphere and horror were turned up full blast. The effects were so special they were ahead of it's time and to this day and beyond the film remains iconic. Now they say you shouldn't mess with a classic but this is Hollywood after all. Still, this prequel (you really know it's Hollywood now) does the original justice. It doesn't screw it up. From using no CGI on 'The Thing' to keeping the suspense tight and close to Carpenter's foundations this film is real and true to the original.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead of 'Die Hard 4.0' and Joel Edgerton of 'Warrior' lead a decent cast or should I say list of victims as all the hallmarks of the original are blended together nicely. Threat, paranoia and no way out all encompass this ensemble piece. As 'The Thing' stalks it's prey and imitates them the audience is left as clueless and as suspicious as the cast of actors. There are times were you'll point fingers and say it's defiantly him and there are others were you wont even realise who's a victim until they're too late. Throughout all the 'Cluedo' like investigation to the red herring's the cast play it all (or don't play it all for that matter) perfectly.
'The Thing' imitates part's of the original classic movie of the the same name, but it is done with respect. From the same disturbingly haunting soundtrack to a cinematography that makes it look distinctively eighties it just feel right. The great thing about the original was that it wasn't an overly exposed, glossy Hollywood piece and even in the modern day that integrity is maintained here. There are similar moments of the film that it's almost a roof-check away from being a 'Hangover Part II' (which is still a great sequel sticking to the script) carbon copy. Still, however then these elements are twisted in a way that pays homage to the original instead of mimicking it. For example the rec room scene of testing which human is 'The Thing' is done brilliantly with due respect.
This film sticks to the script but with a nice blueprint of it's own. From the birds-eye icy, remote, 'is it a dog or the ship' start to the font's, logo's and techniques this film does it right. The idea of having a prequel is a great one. A sequel just wouldn't have worked. Take this film out of it's isolated location and bring it to the modern day and then your one Danny Glover away from it being the 'Predator 2', a decent movie, but one that takes away the confined terror that made the original so classic ('Predators' made up for that). This 'Thing' prequel is more like an origins piece, telling us more of the back story but without revealing too much and ruining it. With a fitting ending, the fans will love this is one remake that isn't a rehash. Sure there is never anything like the original, but this movie covers all the bases of respect and homage. John Carpenter should be proud. TIM DAVID HARVEY.