It’s a pretty slim pickings for this weeks new releases, Puss in Boots will be number one with little effort (helped by a MASSIVE marketing campaign), Joseph Gordon Levitt & Seth Rogen indie drama 50/50 is the best film out this week. This isn’t to downplay the film at all as it’s actually very good and well worth buying.
However, the remake/reboot/prequel of The Thing crawls to DVD after a blink and you’ll miss it cinema run. I am a huge fan of the John Carpenter classic, I won’t go into my love of The Thing now, but by all means check out my previous The Thing post.
Like everybody else, I missed this at the cinema so breaking out my Blockbuster card for the first time in a long time I rented a movie from a shop, how retro. Ordinarily I would have not bothered to seek it out so soon, but my excitement for Prometheus has me needing a prequel fix from somewhere, ANYWHERE! Although Scooby Doo: The Mystery Begins can piss right off.
I popped the disc in the DVD player and lowered my expectations. Prequels are a difficult beast, rarely do they get it right and usually it’s just a lazy rehash of the first one shamelessly riding on the coat tails of former glories. Isn’t that what sequels are for?
Rise of The Planet of The Apes may of had a somewhat lame title, but it somehow managed to be one of the best films of 2011. A carefully thought out script, great casting (John Lithgow!) and flawless motion performances lead by Andy Serkis.
So Hollywood can get the combination right to enhance the mythology of a movie, The Thing (2011) is not one of those movies.
Carpenter’s film was a remake in itself, but his pioneering use of revolting special effects set the movie apart. It’s fair to say that Carpenter’s film shocked a generation, we are a far more jaded bunch these days so it take the likes of The Human Centipede and A Serbian Film to shock us now.
The Thing (2011) has a few neat references that explain a handful of minor points from Carpenter’s film. Joel Edgerton plays a ‘Macready’ type character and even has a beard Kurt Russell would of been proud of. The events lead directly into Carpenter’s movie, and borrows some of the original soundtrack as well which was a nice touch.
The direction is solid but somewhat cold, given the freezing conditions where the movie is set this could be taken as a compliment but sadly it isn’t. I simply didn’t care about any of the characters, the sense of claustrophobia was gone and standard creature feature cliches were in abundance. CGI is used over practical effects, which was part of the unease of Carpenter’s movie that everything you see is happening on camera.
I wasn’t expecting much from this but I had hoped for a couple of jumps and maybe some originality. It’s a perfectly OK movie, it’ll do on a friday night after heavy drinking and shouting in a nightclub for 4 hours. Chances are you’d be too drunk to notice much of anything and be asleep on the sofa before the first death.
The Carpenter version, for me will stand the test of time as one of the best sci-fi horror movies ever made. This weak prequel/remake/whatever offers nothing new to the story, but it doesn’t tarnish Carpenter’s film one bit.
If you’re going to buy a new release DVD this week, pick up 50/50 instead or buy John Carpenter’s The Thing on Blu Ray.