In 1982 the legend himself, John Carpenter managed to produce a masterpiece of a film. Focusing on a group of isolated scientists in Antarctica who come across a creature that can kill off people and then copy its victims in order to blend in with the crew and attack again. The setting was stunning, the plot was intriguing and the rawness of all of the effects used added up to be one of the best of the 80's!
The Thing 2011 seems a bit confused if you like, it's a prequel to the original, and it is nice to see that the end of the film clearly flows in to the original (like a prequel should) however what is bizarre is that it's pretty much just a lukewarm remake, with shoddy CGI work and no interesting elements to keep it alive.
Without sounding too dismissive, the film did have my interest probably through the first half, although at the time I didn't actually realise it was a prequel and honestly convinced myself that it was just a remake.....it does feel that way right until the end, in my opinion.
In terms of plot its almost identical to the original. A group of isolated scientists in Antarctica have found a discovery.....one not from earth. They call upon the help of a female scientist to investigate their findings....which is an alien species frozen in ice but as soon as they try to take a sample the alien escapes and starts to pick off the group (copying its victims) making it harder to determine who is human and who isn't. So basically if you've seen the original it's just like that........but a prequel. So nothing to look forward to in terms of plot. The acting itself for me was fine, I've seen a number of complaints of how unconvincing they all are but personally I thought that was one of the few positives.
Obviously with a 15 rating you can't expect much in terms of gore, there are a few nice deaths especially when the flame thrower comes out to play but apart from that gore is kept to a low, and if like me you were hoping for something that was raw and brutal like the original then you won't find it. The transition between Pre-CGI and CGI was a massive step in cinema and modern films are riddled with it, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't, and I couldn't help feel that it just didn't have the authenticity that monsters in older films would. Now I do sound quite old fashioned and to an extent I am but there has been modern films that bang the nail on the head, but when you are following in the footsteps of a near flawless original its always going to be hard. One monster in question is the one with about 30 heads, unconvincing and ridiculous looking. Completely taking away from any sort of atmosphere these CGI moments for me were one of the biggest downfalls of the film, and with a plot that didn't show me anything different from the original my patience was spent.
Overall I found it hard not to be disappointed by The Thing 2011, it had the foundations to be something quite special but just did not deliver. It's just another generic, high budget horror that relies heavily on special effects and with little or no thought given to the important things like atmosphere and tension building.
Watch the original, that's all you need to see, the prequel gives you nothing you won't experience from the masterpiece that Mr Carpenter created.