Friday, October 14, 2011

THE THING review: He said/She said

Directed by: Matthjs van Heijningen Jr.
Written by: Eric Heisserer, John W. Campbell Jr. (based on his story "WHO GOES THERE?")
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen
Synopsis: John Carpenter's THE THING remade as a prequel to his own movie

Jonesy: I figured the movie was going to be scarier and that it would have a lot more tension. Most of the characters were nameless to me, so when trouble started, I just didn't care. They obviously spent most of their budget on the monster effects, and they forgot that they set their movie in Antarctica because there were parts where the characters were outside and their breath didn't even show. Overall, the movie felt very lazy.

Javi: I enjoyed seeing Mary Elizabeth Winstead in something else apart from SCOTT PILGRIM, and I liked Joel Edgerton because he's dreamy. But here's my thing, the movie has no reason to exist. Thinking about the John Carpenter version and how iconic and beloved it is for movie nerds and horror fans in general, I'm sure if we ask Jessica about it that movie, she could write us a 12 page paper about it. But okay, let's say that the purpose of this movie is to appeal to the younger audience that has not seen the original and not to appease fans of Carpenter's version, then either way it feels like a lazy movie. If they wanted to appeal to the people that saw the original, then why make it almost beat-for-beat identical to the '82 movie? The protagonists burned the "thing" for the first time at around the same time as the '82 version! I'm just curious who they thought the audience would be, and why they did such a half-ass job. In terms of the story, like you mentioned, there was no tension.  A thing that bugs me is that this movie had the potential to be an allegory for communism or terrorism and what have you, but they complete skew that  for a bad sci-fi horror movie.

Jonesy: Like I said, it just felt lazy, like a lot of random scenes slapped together. And I'm really confused as to what the creature was trying to accomplished, because it crashed its ship... did it just want to raise hell?

Javi: I wonder if the story could have been more interesting if we had seen this movie from the point of view of the thing. What if it was just a completely scared that has a messed up defense mechanism, and all it wants to do is to go home.

Jonesy: I thought they might go that route. Like the Sam character said, "Why would the creature go from the safety of its ship to a big old block of ice?" But that point is never touched upon or explained again. There were a lot of holes that just were never patched together. Moving on to characters....there were too many of them. Having watched any type of horror movie, you figure that there are ten people there that most of them won't survive.

Javi: And if you've seen the John Carpenter version, you know who will survives which killed a lot of the tension for me. The way they accommodated the '82 version by having certain clues like the axe and the radio control guy just felt very cheesy. So I guess in terms of characters, I think it's interesting to see that maybe the screenwriters were making fun of the fact that you really don't know anything about the Winstead character, Kate, because all of the sudden she is in charge and you're thinking, where did this courage come from?

Jonesy: It would have been better if there were only five or six people so that when shit goes down, we would actually care about them and their well being, but there were so many of the characters that I just didn't care.

Javi: I wanted to mention that there was one particular death where it was graphic and gruesome, and if I had actually known who the person was, I would have felt something. And going along what you were saying, and I know Gwen will love this, the only way that I could tell half of these dudes apart was their beards . You had Big Beard, Little Beard, Black Beard, Red Beard and so on.

Jonesy: One actual positive aspect were the monster effects. They seemed to have used a lot more practical effects, and they weren't as cheesy as I was expecting. And since most movies just use CGI nowadays, you almost expect horror movies to have bad cheesy effects. However, with that said, a big problem I had was the fact that it never really felt like they were in Antarctica. There were people with no hats on just hanging out in the day? There is no way people are just hanging out outside because, I'm sorry, but it's really cold in there. I never got the sense of atmosphere. It was very inconsistent.

Javi: And for me, a big problem was just trying to figure out what the purpose of this movie. I think that the first two movies that came out about this story had something allegorical to say that pertained to their time period. But this movie spends 5 minutes talking about the shape shifting alien, and then it goes into cheap sci-fi horror-mode.

Jonesy: For a prequel, it really didn't answer a lot of questions. Do you ever notice how most horror movies never have anybody famous?

Javi: I think it's to not make it obvious who will live and what will become of them.

Jonesy: The biggest problem though... I was just extremely bored. It was a short movie, but it felt like it was 2.5 hours. I would be really mad if I had to pay money to see this. And unfortunately, this movie really makes me not want to see the John Carpenter movie because of this.

Javi: My recommendation? Skip it and go see something else like REAL STEEL or DRIVE, which is actually more messed up than this movie was.

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