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The Thing (2011) - Blu-ray Review (UK)

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The THing - Movie Review

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3 Stars

John Carpenter’s remake of a revered 1950s B-Movie became even more revered than the film it honoured. It was a masterpiece in paranoia, tension, and deftly showed our shortcomings as a species, and how far we yet have to go. Considering the explosion of sequels in the 80s and remakes this century, it’s amazing it has taken this long for someone to do another one.

The premise sounded far more palatable than most cash-ins: a prequel that would directly tie into Carpenter’s original. It wasn’t a remake that would rehash what doesn’t need to be revisited (as most hits don’t); it wasn’t a sequel that would simply plonk new characters into the same situation; it would be a dovetailed story that answered some of the questions John Carpenter left behind. Promising? Intriguing? It was in premise.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays a palaeontologist who is whisked away by a secretive Norwegian scientist to the Arctic to help them research the discovery of a vessel buried in the ice, and subsequently a sample believed to be an alien life-form. When the scientist abandons any common sense or scientific protocols to drill a sample of the creature out of the ice, very bad shit starts to happen.

Sound familiar? While one must give the makers of this picture understanding for their unfailing reverential efforts to Carpenter’s movie, what they add to the mythology adds up to exactly nothing. The story is the same, with no deviation at all, only this time the characters are nowhere near as well conceived or likeable; in fact some of them are damn well moronic and unbelievable; especially in a modern context, with the average Joe knowing more about scientific exploration than these morons do. Yes, it is set in the past, but c’mon, relating to the characters is the lynchpin of the story.

The film is too bogged down in honouring Carpenter and the feel of the original to bother making itself its own animal. Great care has been given to answer some of the questions left for us in 82, like why the axe was in the wall, the empty block of ice, the running dog etc., and they’re nice touches, but this seems to be all the makers have to offer. The rest of it is a rehash of what came before.

The effects are also a modernized homage to what came before, and look disgustingly great, but the CGI/practical effect combination takes something visceral away from it, and they show far too much at times.

Performances are all solid, weak characterization aside, and all the actors give it their all. Winstead is more than capable as a lead but was not given a character that honours her skills. Aussie Joel Edgerton’s role is rather thankless, and their attempts at making him the Kurt Russell of the piece come too little too late.

All in all, folks this movie is a colossal waste of resources and money. They have spent so much time trying to rope this film to Carpenter’s they have sacrificed any sense of self or attempt to make something their own. It looks great, it has good effects, and almost tracing a master in his work, they affect some great sequences, but we’ve seen them all before. This may not be a remake, this may not be a sequel, but it may as well have been. Perhaps the title should have been our clue? They have nothing new to offer.

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The THing - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for strong creature violence and gore, disturbing images, and language.
Director
: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Writer: Eric Heisserer, John W. Campbell Jr.
Cast:
Mary Elizabeth Winstead; Joel Edgerton; Ulrich Thomsen; Eric Christian Olsen; Paul Braunstein
Genre: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
It's not human. Yet.
Memorable Movie Quote: "The last place you want to be is cooped up with a bunch of Norwegian guys."
Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
www.thethingmovie.net
Theatrical Release Date: October 14, 2010
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 31, 2012

Synopsis: Antarctica: an extraordinary continent of awesome beauty. It is also home to an isolated outpost where a discovery full of scientific possibility becomes a mission of survival when an alien is unearthed by a crew of international scientists. The shape-shifting creature, accidentally unleashed at this marooned colony, has the ability to turn itself into a perfect replica of any living being. It ...can look just like you or me, but inside, it remains inhuman. In the thriller The Thing, paranoia spreads like an epidemic among a group of researchers as they’re infected, one by one, by a mystery from another planet.

Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has traveled to the desolate region for the expedition of her lifetime. Joining a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago. But it is about to wake up.

When a simple experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, Kate must join the crew’s pilot, Carter (Joel Edgerton), to keep it from killing them off one at a time. And in this vast, intense land, a parasite that can mimic anything it touches will pit human against human as it tries to survive and flourish.

The Thing serves as a prelude to John Carpenter’s classic 1982 film of the same name. Directed by Matthijs van Heijningen, the thriller is produced by Strike Entertainment’s Marc Abraham and Eric Newman (Dawn of the Dead).

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The Thing - blu-ray review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
3 Stars

3 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
3 Stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 31, 2012
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; DVD copy; Bonus View (PiP); BD-Live; D-Box; Mobile features

Awesome looking VC-1 transfer; the opening shot on the ice lets you know it’s gonna look a treat. For the anal videophile, they will probably pick up on a little DNR, especially in close ups on faces, but it’s not distracting at all. Audio is flawless; the DTS-HD 5.1 lossless mix give all speakers a hearty workout and make this film effectively immersive. Extras are fairly run of the mill and forgettable.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Feature-length audio commentary with director Matthijs van Heijningen and producer Eric Newman.

Special Features:

  • U-Control Picture-in-Picture
  • The Thing Evolves (HD, 14 minutes)
  • Fire & Ice (HD, 5 minutes)
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes (HD, 9 minutes)

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