From Clash, December 2011
Ostensibly a prequel to John Carpenter’s cult classic, this new version of The Thing contains such a raft of basic similarities to its source material to feel more like a loosely redefined remake. Again based upon the tale of an alien lifeform that terrorises an Antarctic research team, The Thing successfully apes the original’s tone with even Marco Beltrami’s score being an adequate substitute for Morricone’s soundtrack. The biggest leap is a matter of pacing: van Heijningen’s vehement attack losing some of the dense claustrophobia that Carpenter established.
What van Heijningen fails to execute is a sense of mystery – admittedly no surprise given the fame of Carpenter’s movie and its own predecessors, the Howard Hawks / Christian Nyby hit The Thing From Another World and John W. Carpenter’s classic sci-fi novel Who Goes There? That this explains some of the mysteries found in Carpenter’s is sure to be a bugbear of many long-term fans. And while Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s contributes a solid Sigourney Weaver-lite performance, only the most myopic of movie goers won’t be able to guess the fate of her character.
Despite contributing to the evil world of reboots, this Thing doesn’t tar the reputation of the original.