I don't know what's in there, but it's weird and p*ssed off.
Written: Sep 21, 2004 (Updated Feb 4, 2005)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
John Carpenter's The Thing is one of those rare films in which the remake is better than the original. Based on 1951's The Thing From Another World, Carpenter's version is an intense, scary, psychological thrill ride that will have you in suspense throughout almost the entire film. Before I delve into this review, I will state for the record that this is not a film for the squeamish. I repeat....this is not a film for the squeamish. Now, that being said, away we go.
The movie takes place in the desolate, frozen wilderness of Antarctica. As the film opens up, we see a helicopter chasing a sled dog across an open expanse of frozen snow and ice. One of the helicopter's riders is shooting at the dog with a high powered rifle. When the dog is chased into an American outpost, the helicopter lands and the men come out still intent on killing the dog oblivious to the Americans who are looking on with confusion and fear. One of the men blows himself and the helicopter up by dropping a grenade, and the other is killed after he shoots an American in the leg who inadvertently got in front of the dog. After sorting through the mess, the Americans, lead by Garry (Donald Moffat), determine the men were from a Norwegian outpost a short flight away. Thinking they went crazy from a long Antarctic confinement, a few of the group including helicopter pilot RJ MacReady (Kurt Russell), head out to the Norwegian base to investigate.
Upon arriving, they discover that no one is alive. They find the frozen body of a Norwegian who apparently committed suicide by slicing his own wrists and the burned, eviscerated corpse of something they can't quite identify. Taking the charred corpse with them, they head back to their base leaving with more questions than they had when they arrived.
Later that night, the men respond to check out a disturbance in the dog pen, which is where the visiting dog was put along with the rest of the camp's dogs. When they arrive they learn why the Norwegians were so intent on killing it. They are horrified to see that the new dog has morphed into a twisted/horrific creature and it's devouring and assimilating the other dogs. When they try to kill it, it escapes into the camp. They run some tests on what the alien left behind and find that it can flawlessly assume the form of any living creature it consumes. This leads to instant distrust among the men. Is the alien among them posing as one of the group?? But whats worse is that if the alien somehow makes it to the outside world, it will wipe out the entire planet's population within 3 years.
As I stated above, this film is much better than the original. Not a small feat seeing as the original is hailed as a classic. But this is certainly some of Carpenter's best work. Using everything (mood, pacing, suspense, etc...) to it's full advantage, Carpenter crafts a nail biting, scary, and very engaging story that draws you in from the first frame. If it's a good sci-fi/horror film that you are looking for, then look no further because with the exception of the first two Alien films, I can't think of a better example for the genre.
Carpenter took the classic film and added a few of his own ideas which resulted in a film that's based on the original, but different in it's own right. From the opening scenes this film has you hooked. Why are they shooting at the dog? Why are they so intent on killing it? These questions just jump out at you in what has to be one of the better opening sequences I've seen. Lucky for us, the rest of the film lives up to it's beginning. The story is perfectly paced. It's not fast but there is a reason why. To allow the tension to build. The suspense is nearly palpable as you watch the characters play off of each other's fears. The audience is kept in the dark only learning things when the characters themselves do. So throughout the film, you are kept guessing.....Who can be trusted? Who is really who?? If this film doesn't illicit a genuine feeling of claustrophobic terror, then buddy, you better check for a pulse.
The main character is Kurt Russell's above mentioned character MacReady. Russell does a terrific job in what I believe is one of his better roles. The scene where he breaks into the compound after the group locks him out in the cold thinking he has been infected is just great. But, the rest of the cast is not to be overlooked. Carpenter did a fantastic job in not allowing MacReady to overshadow the other characters. The entire cast does a wonderful job and there isn't a bad performance to be found anywhere. Heck even the dog does a good job. Of particular note are Wilford Brimley as Blair and Keith David as Childs.
The visual effects are very well done. Especially the gore. Woah. The visceral aspect of this film is not to be understated. Once things get going, there is hardly a scene that doesn't feature blood in one way or another. The creature effects are downright nauseating. Besides being first rate, they are very scary and insanely over-the-top gory. So be warned. If the sight of a little blood makes you sick, then this film will have you upchucking for 2 solid hours.
So all in all, I have nothing negative to say about this film. You name it and this film hits the bullseye with it. It is a perfect sci-fi/horror film that evokes terror at it's deepest level.
Writer's note: I found it of interest to know that this film was released a mere 3 weeks after E.T. hit the big screen. Unfortunately this was the main reason The Thing didn't do well at the box office. I guess audiences were to busy "phoning home" to bother with a film about a killer alien. But, this film has developed quite a large cult following which accounts for why most people have at lest heard of it. Until next time.
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age