Sunday, October 23, 2011

Preserving the Thing

About a week or so ago I received an email by one of my Twitter buddies concerning The Thing prequel. Apparently the comment he wanted to leave on my review was too long, thus forcing him to email me it instead. He commented on why he doesn’t want to see the prequel and why the prequel might ruin the magic and mysteriousness of the Carpenter movie. While I liked the prequel and while it doesn’t ruin the magic for me, I thought this was a very interesting piece that I could not help but share.

I'm actually quite surprised you liked this at all, based on reading your review and knowing your love for the '82 film. I would say the ''82 film is in my top five favorite movies of all time, maybe the number 1 spot.

I have not seen this prequel and never will. Let me get that out of the way now, because I get heat from people saying I can't complain about something I haven't seen. I however say I CAN and WILL.

MacReady: "Now I'm gonna show you what I already know."

The idea of showing what happened at the Norwegian camp seems utter ridiculous to me now, as it was when I heard the film was going into production. The filmmakers stance of "we'll show you what happened, why the axe is in the door" cracked me up. Was there a huge number of '82 Thing fans looking for those answers, I have to believe that is not the case and I'll tell you why. When you watch Carpenter's movie the American's discovery at the Norwegian camp/station is foreshadowing of what they will soon encounter. We are offered small glimpses of information regarding the thing, how people reacted to it and where it came from. Seeing the burnt out camp, dead people, yes axes in doors (sweet Satan!) and the burned remains of a Thing mid-transform. This info also provides elements of mystery that are crucial to the story and tone of the film.

As the '82 film progresses, the Thing begins it's attack and paranoia set in and eventual battle up until the closing scene with MacReady and Childs. We can infer that what we just saw the Americans go through is essentially what the Norwegians went through without the requirement of a prequel film to fill in the blanks. Your own creative mind can fill in those blanks and I'd imagine do it in a much better fashion than this prequel does. Carpenter could have just as easily done the film from the stand point that the Americans discovered the alien, but he didn't and I don't think that was to lay any kind of groundwork for a prequel. All the information is there, all that is needed is in the '82 film.

Now, let me ask this. How can there be even a shred, a sliver of mystery or suspense to this prequel, when '82 fans know all the people from the Norwegian camp die and the Thing escapes? I can't get my head around that huge problem with this prequel.

Another huge issue I have with the prequel is what limited CGI I saw in the trailer. It looked atrocious, I laughed when I saw the thing come out of the block of ice. You said there are some practical effects in there, which is great, it sounds like the CGI is way overused and fake looking. That cast sounds utterly forgettable from what you said and that is a very very weak leg to this film I'd imagine. The '82 film had a fantastic cast that I know you love. If you didn't love the cast and their performances, this wouldn't be your favorite movie, bottom line. Your section about nitpicking the movie is also of grave interest to me and another warning sign to stay away from this film. If they are intent on showing every detail (because people wanted it for some ungodly reason) then why didn't it hone EXACTLY to the '82 film? It should be dead on.

I found the final minutes of the 2011 film on YouTube to see how the transitioned their film into the '82 film. Nice from the standpoint that they led right up to that films beginning, but I must ask. If someone is new to the Thing and watches this film first and then the '82 film after what many magical and fantastic things are killed for a moviegoer. For those people I feel truly sad. This prequel tries to bill itself with providing answers to questions it's actually killing for those new to The Thing…

This bit of dialogue is from one of my favorite scenes from the '82 film and the reason for me adding it to the end here is because this conversation for me kills an reason for the prequel.

MacReady: "I don't know, thousands of years ago it crashes, and this thing, gets thrown out or crawls out and it ends up freezing in the ice."

Garry: "The Norwegians get a hold of this, and they dig it out of the ice…"

MacReady: "Yes, Garry. They dig it up. They cart it back. It gets thawed out, it wakes up, probably not the best of moods. I don't know, I wasn't there!"

Childs: "How could this motherf@*ker wake up after thousands of years in the ice?"

George Bennings: "And how can it look like a dog?"

MacReady: "I don't know how. Because it's different then us, see. Because it's from outer space. What do you want from me? Ask him!"


SPEEDbit said...

Great post! Unfortunately, the film didn't do that well at the box office, primarily because E.T. was released at the same time and features a more optimistic view of alien visitation. Thanks and keep blogging!

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Anonymous said...

Still refusing to see this, but I was tempted by a youtube compilation of the transformations, which I see as more of a bonus disc of monster effects. The rest of it seems pointless. Like most prequels this was a needless, stoopid idea. This was a great article on the Thing, and I appreciate listing the reasons why we LOVE the original and how it already covered the events at the Norwegian base which are a mystery only to unimaginative types....

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