The Thing (2011)

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Let me agree with the die-hard fans of the original as I also happen to be one of them. There was no need for this movie to be made. Again we have to deal with a typical Hollywood malfunction. Everything is sacrificed and melted under an almighty profit wish. John Carpenter’s The Thing remains an original masterpiece of science fiction horror that delves inside the Grand Guignol with utmost ease and absolute precision.

Having said that, I must admit though  that as I was watching the 2011 version there were moments of pure terror that sprung out of the film’s imagery. This version is actually a prequel and a remake both at the same time. We see what happens before but we also experience that through the almost exact same settings, lighting, color palette and anamorphic photography. Even the titles preserve the same font, size and typography. Morricone’s score is also present. What is missing is Carpenter’s maverick direction. While the original 1982  ensemble worked miracles through their dynamic interaction and perfectly organic tension, this cast simply doesn’t feel paranoid. The camerawork and the narrative choices seem a bit like copy paste. The choice of having a female lead is forced and contrived that does not convince us on a symbolical level. Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. emerges as a capable pro ready to tackle a big budget monster but his film lacks the true vision of the 1982 version.

Unfortunately the comparisons can not be avoided. We are talking about a cinematic experience that is among the absolute best science fiction works of all time. I would go as far as to say that the Thing (1982) is an impeccable work of art which succeeds on every level that their creators intended. I have been negative about the 2011 version since its inception. However I recognise the hard work that went behind it. Overall we have to do with a well worked super refined b-movie which works inside the confines of the genre or perhaps more accurately inside the confines of the 1982 version. The visual effects are mostly computer generated and lack the magnitude of Rob Bottin’s amazing artistry. However they are gruesomely spectacular and wildly frightening. They manage to retain the shock value of the original. At least the 2011 version seems to work on a visceral level by constructing these images which have a hardcore tension. And that’s probably a good thing.

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