The Thing (2011)

A group of Norwegian scientists out of Thule Station in Antarctica find a giant alien ship while tracking a strange signal.  Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) recruits Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a paleontologist who has expertise in cold weather digs, to assist in recovering the ship's occupant, who has been found frozen not far from the craft.

After bringing the block containing the creature back to camp, celebrations are cut short as the alien breaks free from the ice and immediately starts killing - followed by the revelation that it can assume the shape of anyone it comes in contact with.  Sander devises a test to determine who is human and who is not, but soon after the lab is sabotaged, making it clear that the someone in the group is no longer human.

From there, it is a race to survive, as anyone in the camp can be the alien at any time.

Not much is needed to describe this, as it is a prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 movie of the same name, itself a remake of the classic '50s sci-fi thriller The Thing from Another World.  Like in Carpenter's reimagining the alien can take on the form of anything organic, revealing its true shape in a mass of spider legs, tentacles and teeth.

And therein lies most of the problem.  This movie on its own is not bad, but we already know what happens to the Norwegian camp and the rules under which the creature operates.  What that leaves is to see how the effects play out and what they do to distinguish things from the other movie.  In the latter, the answer is not much, and in the former, the effects from 1982 were much more convincing.  Sadly, practical effects were used throughout this movie, and were meant to be what was seen - that is, until a test audience whined.  Hopefully at some point we might see a version without the CGI, but as this movie was largely a failure, I doubt that will come to be.

Despite its flaws, however, it is still quite an entertaining film on its own.  Solid performances are throughout, even if Lars (Jørgen Langhelle) and Kate are the only two worth caring about.  This would probably not be as maligned if John Carpenter's film had not been superior in every way and if it was seen as originally intended.

The Thing (2011)
Time: 103 minutes
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ulrich Thomsen, Jørgen Langhelle, Joel Edgerton
Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.


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