Quái vật biến hình

The Smackdown

Let frozen aliens chill.

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That pretty much sums up the wisdom I’ve gained from watching three versions of The Thing. Of course, no one in movies ever follows this good advice.

Despite the fact that people from around the world go to Antarctica in the spirit of friendship và scientific cooperation (more or less), in the movies it is usually a setting for Something Bad That Is About lớn Happen. Lượt thích stumbling across a strange, nasty, parasitic extraterrestrial that will hunt everyone across frozen wasteland.

In the first go-round, it was The Thing from Another World in 1951. Three decades later, 1982, it was just The Thing and in the hands of John Carpenter. Another three decades later, 2011, it’s still The Thing, only constructed now to lớn serve as a prequel và not a remake of Carpenter’s cult classic horror movie version.

So, just in time for Halloween, we’re taking a moment khổng lồ compare a contender that says it can vì chưng better against the classic that spawned it. Grab your parka & snow boots và let’s get started.

The Challenger

If you’ve seen the 1982 Carpenter original, you know that the film explores the aftermath of the Norwegian station. Those scenes of the ruined base brought up a lot of unanswered questions. In this 2011 film, director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. Attempts to answer some of these unanswered questions with a film that is described as a “prelude” to lớn Carpenter’s work.


Eric Heisserer’s script follows Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), an American paleontologist who has been recruited to travel khổng lồ Antarctica khổng lồ examine a specimen frozen in the ice. The truth of the discovery is revealed khổng lồ be alien in origin, but the true surprises come when the frozen visitor from another world breaks không tính phí of its icy prison. The station goes on immediate alert to track down the impossible creature, but it may already be too late.

What follows next is lớn be expected, a variety of horrific encounters that show the clear genetic superiority of the alien thing. There’s blood, carnage & mayhem. People die. But then, if you’ve seen the original film, you should already guess how this one ends.

The Defending Champion

John Carpenter’s The Thing was not a critical or box office success. Yet, it has survived, mostly on the basis of its jaw-dropping creature effects và the fact that it comes up year after year on notable “Most Scary Movie” top ten lists.


Set in Antarctica, the story involves an American research team that finds its isolated base invaded by an alien organism that has migrated from a nearby Norwegian station. Kurt Russell plays R.J. MacReady, a helicopter pilot. When the alien finally reveals itself, it’s MacReady who quickly takes charge in the battle for survival of our species. The stellar cast is rounded out by other notable performances, including Wilford Brimley, Keith David and Donald Moffat.

Bill Lancaster’s screenplay is faithful khổng lồ John W. Campbell Jr.’s short story, “Who Goes There?” It takes all the loneliness và isolation, & couples it with the fear of the unknown. địa chỉ cửa hàng to the mix some cutting edge special effects by Rob Bottin and his crew, as well as makeup effects legend Stan Winston. It’s not surprising that it has become a cult classic.

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The Scorecard

Despite the horror & gorefest the alien creature brings, The Thing is a study in psychology. The isolation of the setting và the solitude of the human experience are utilized lớn create a tight story. Like the 1956 film Invasion of the body toàn thân Snatchers, The Thing explores the sense of individual identity & how we define our sense of self. This was true of the Campbell short story và the Carpenter film.

So why remake it?

A cynic might say that in this day và age it’s all about money. It’s easier khổng lồ reach a built-in audience with a product they recognize than find a new audience. But let’s not forget that Carpenter was, in fact, creating a remake when he helmed The Thing back in 1982.

The first film based on Campbell’s short story was the 1951 Howard Hawks science fiction classic The Thing from Another World. In the spirit of science fiction films of the ’50s, the psychology of the short story was dropped in favor of a big quái vật more lượt thích a vegetable version of Frankenstein.

What Carpenter brought back into his version of The Thing was the frightening isolation. He also returned the idea of the alien replicating the appearance and mind of anything it meets. In short, he took a dated science fiction film & created a frightening horror film.

Now Heijningen is taking Carpenter’s film and giving it one thing it lacked: a beginning. The 1982 version of The Thing opens with a vintage flying saucer buzzing the Earth’s atmosphere. It looks sorely dated these days. It isn’t until later in the film that we discover the alien craft has been frozen in the ice for 100,000 years.

With the 2011 version of The Thing, the story begins with the discovery of the crashed UFO. The tale is not what happened before, but what is happening now. And add to the excitement some cutting-edge CGI và you have the makings of something new.

The downside is that Heijningen’s The Thing is at times too similar khổng lồ Carpenter’s story. The names have been changed và some of the characters swapped around, but some scenes seem lifted right out of Carpenter’s script.

So is the 2011 film a remake or something else?

The Decision

What the 2011 prelude offers is a very similar story to lớn the original, but with the twist of putting it first in the timeline. By doing so, Heijningen creates an homage rather than an ordinary remake. Details in Carpenter’s film that were mere set dressing khổng lồ show the carnage of the Norwegian station become central plot points in the 2011 film. How did that hole get in the wall? We see it. Why is that axe embedded in the wall & left there? We find out.

In the end, it comes down khổng lồ why the film was made. Carpenter wanted to make a horror film. Heijningen wanted to create a better one. He raised the stakes by fitting his new film into Carpenter’s legacy. And it works.

I’ve always hated remakes because they suggest, incorrectly, that old films are not worth watching. The 2011 film doesn’t just make a good scary movie, it encourages viewers khổng lồ revisit the 1982 classic. For that reason, The Thing (2011) wins this Smackdown.

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