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"The Thing" - (2011)- {Blu-ray} - (Wayne)
Wayne Klein
Studio: Universal
Release Date:
January 31, 2012
Special Features:

See Below


Taking the James Cameron approach to a sequel (in Cameron's case, it was "Aliens" to Ridley Scott's "Alien")to "The Thing" prequel, director Director Matthijs van Heijningen's prequel to Carpenter's classic film redesigns the lead in the film for a Ripley type heroine and plays with our expectations based on the first film. Interestingly, the 2011 version of "The Thing" seems like more of a remake of Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby's "The Thing from Another World" (adapted from the same novella as Carpenter's film).***

What's forgotten is that the 2011 "The Thing" was a box office and critical flop when it first appeared in 1982 for a variety of reasons (chief among them is that it pushed the edge when it came to on screen gore and creepy looking creatures). The reputation of "The Thing" came about due to multiple showings on cable TV and home video so it seemed like an unlikely candidate for a prequel. Many fans suspected that the 2011 film was nothing more than an excuse to remake the 1982 classic.***

Director Matthijs van Heijningen and writer Eric Heisserer make every effort to avoid repeating scenes from the first film but, instead, plays a clever variation on the scenes we KNOW from the first film. That works to the advantage of the film as the plot unfolds in a very different fashion from Carpenter's film.***

The 2011 prequel is a well made film and has a number of very suspenseful moments but it also has its flaws; if you have seen Carpenter's film you know what to expect it's a matter of WHEN to expect it. Luckily the writer and director do a good job of bypassing this issue most of the time by creating scenes that compliment Carpenter's film rather than duplicate them. For example the writer and director create a Thing that is much less subtle and sneaky clearly suggesting that the creature learned from the encounter here but it also allows the creature to behave slightly differently than Carpenter's version keeping this film interesting.***

Also the CGI although serviceable doesn't look quite as convincing as the physical effects from the original movie (the director originally shot the film using physical effects BUT was forced to replace them with the CGI in the film).***

Casting Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the role of what amounts to Mac's role (played brilliantly by Kurt Russell in the 1982 film)turns the film on its head; the members of the Norweign team aren't accustomed to taking orders from a woman much less an American who isn't even a member of their team. She's an outsider although the writer and director miss the opportunity to milk this tension filled relationship, they do get good milage out of it by putting her into direct conflict with Dr. Halvorson.***

Image & Sound:

The Blu-ray for "The Thing" good but keep in mind this is as dark and grainy as the 1982 film that Carpenter made. Detail is pretty solid throughout. Colors are muted although skin tones look quite nice but are a bit on the cool side (which isn't a surprise). The color scheme is (not surprisingly)very much like Carpenter's film.***

Audio is robust and powerful with a beautiful sounding 5.1 lossless presentation. When havoc breaks out the audio does a nice job of supporting the film making sure we are dropped right in the middle of the action.***

Special Features:

The special features are quite good including "The Thing Evolves" a solid featurette on the production of the movie and "Fire and Ice".***

We also get a commentary track from the director and producer Eric Newman. The BD is also D-Box Motion enabled.***

We also get deleted/extended scenes which hint at the different film that the director might have had in mind. It's clear that there was some post-production studio interference in the structure of the film. We also get a DVD copy of the film as well as the dreaded Ultraviolet copy as well as "Pocket Blu Applications" and BD Live (although I didn't access this)capability.***

Final Words:

Although it isn't quite up to the level of Carpenter's classic film, the 2011 version of "The Thing" is still pretty scary and entertaining.***

SYNOPSIS: (SPOILERS)Dr. Kate Lloyd (mary Elizabeth Winstead) flies out to the remote Anarctic Norweign station by Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) to do an analysis of the remains of a creature pulled from the ice. Recommended by Halvorson's assistant Adam (Eric Christian Olsen), Kate finds out that the Norweign team has discovered an alien spacecraft and its former occupant. While taking tissue samples for typing Halvorson awakens the creature from its cold slumber and the group quickly discover that the Thing is unlike anything else they've ever encountered; it can "become" any member of the team. It's clear that the creature wants to escape so it's up to Kate and Sam (Joel Edgerton)an American pilot to protect the team and destroy the creature.***

Recommended. ***


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