The Thing (2011): A Bomb in the Making, We Think Not

The Thing (2011)

The Thing (2011)

Every fan of movies, but most particularly those in horror, are very wary when studios fuck with film classics. The worst are remakes followed close behind by sequels, prequels and re-imaginings. For every Godfather II, Aliens or Casino Royale, there are literally hundreds of bombs that piss you off to no end especially when you know these films are what will be watched by the young to a greater extent than the originals.

This October (2011), Universal Pictures is set to release a prequel to one of John Carpenter’s greatest films The Thing. It stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton and Ulrich Thomsen and is directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. A few months ago we first mentioned The Thing prequel here at Yell! Magazine and at the time it had a release date at the end of April. Now that April is in the history books, we thought we’d revisit the movie and write a little more in-depth about it.

The Thing (2011): Mary Elizabeth Winstead

The Thing (2011): Mary Elizabeth Winstead

For those of you who haven’t seen the original, I suggest you take the time to watch it otherwise you may become lost in the following paragraphs. But since you’re here reading about a prequel, I must assume most of you have done so already and therefore I will continue.

When Carpenter directed the original he left a few mysteries behind pertaining to what happened before the American research team arrived in the Antarctic. During the course of the movie, we began to understand that a Norwegian team had been on the frozen continent previously and some bad shit happened to them. We concluded, without much difficulty, that the cause of their misfortune was the alien presently reeking havoc on MacReady (Kurt Russell) and his team. But we never did learn the exact circumstances of what came before.

The Thing (2011): Eric Christian Olsen

The Thing (2011): Eric Christian Olsen

What had happened to the dead guy with the slit throat near the crash site of the alien aircraft? What about the helicopter chase after the dog, who was the pilot that blew himself up with a grenade, and who was the crazed lunatic shooting at the husky? These questions, and others always pricked at the minds of viewers. It seemed that Carpenter left the story open enough that a prequel would not be an impossibility.

And here is where the pertinent question lies. Are these unanswered questions a good enough reason to revisit the classic ’80s film? In a perfect world, Carpenter would be directing this film and the question would be moot. But since that isn’t happening, we must hope that the producers stick as close to the timeline and events created in the original as possible. Otherwise, the film will be moronic. As you have read in our previous article this seems to be the case.

Thing (2011) Prequel

Will The Thing prequel be bomb like so many other second films of an original classic? If we are to guess our answer is no. If it does nothing more than to explain what went on before, then it’s a worthy endeavor. But whether it lives to stand up next to the original is another question. If the film isn’t pushed back again to a later release date, we’ll see in October.

The Thing (2011) Review

The Thing (2011) Review

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43 thoughts on “The Thing (2011): A Bomb in the Making, We Think Not”

  1.  What a crap article. The net, for people who can’t write to discuss people who can. I wouldn’t trust this Rob git to write a note to the milkman.

  2. John Carpenter’s The Thing was not “The original”.  It was in itself, a Re-imagining of the 1951 Classic film. And that movie was based on a short story. And yet, the “writer” here states over and over that Carpenter’s movie was “The Original” and bashes remakes, prequels and re-imaginings.

    This person represents everything that is wrong about those who write about film.  The ignorance on display is just mind-boggling.

    1. We call it an original in the article because it was never marketed as a remake. True, Universal offered John Carpenter to do a remake on The Thing From Another World (1951), but he never wanted to compete against one of his admired films. Carpenter clearly states in an interview that he focused on the novella “Who Goes There?” by John Campbell, which is a different story from The Thing From Another World, so by that they completely ignored the first film.  So ya, and sorry buddy, try to get your facts straight as well.

      The Thing (2011) is marketed as a prequel to John Carpenter’s original classic, and that’s what the article is about.

      It takes a dumb reader to tango with a dumb writer :-) thanks!!!

      1. At the moment I saw who was directing this, and I just saw the first TV ad for it 3 minutes ago, I realised just how insignificant this film will end up being.

        I for one cannot wait to see it, but it’s going to BOMB in the biggest of ways for exactly this one reason…they got an unproven, unknown director to make it, and that right there was it’s death sentence and took away from any credibility what so ever this film might have had, had the Producers thought this one through a lot more thoroughly.

        The remake by Carpenter was about 500 million times better than the actual original film was from the 50′s. It isn’t even close…that film, by Carpenter, is technically one of the most perfect Horror films ever made…bar none, and from a special effects standpoint at the time it was made noone had ever seen anything like it, it was groundbreaking and highly original despite being a remake.

        The TV ad for this film I just saw looks like 3/4′s of it’s imagery were completely stolen from the look and feel standpoint of Carpenter’s work.

        Lastly, the whole idea was dumb to begin with… to do this was completely RETARDED IMO, because….

        It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened in all those “Unresolved” areas Carpenter “supposedly” left behind….which I highly doubt he did deliberately, what I think happened was he decided those things just did NOT matter at all because anyone could reason what had happened.

        #1-the guy near the hole where the ship landed got killed bv the Alien Creature.

        The Helicopter contained the last Norweigen survivors from that base and the creature had morphed into that Dog, quite obviously as was revealed in the film, and these guys were trying to prevent Kurt Russel and his  team from suffering the same fate they had.

        Other than visiting the original space ships HOME WORLD which is exactly what this film should have been about , there was no point nor was there a need to make this film at all.

        I will give it every benefit of every doubt but I can tell you from experience that this film is going to fall on it’s ass in the biggest of ways, it’s got a defective plot….one which will bore audiences to tears.

        1. Evil Argento here…. Valid points you’ve made, however, from the Carpenter film we don’t know if anyone escaped the installation; we only know about the helicopter… so, did anyone make it back to civilization with the Thing gestating inside of them?

      2. I am almost 100% certain that “the thing from another world” was also an adaption from the 1938 novella “who goes there”…either way, the upcoming movie should be entertaining, as Ron Moore is a pretty talented fellow. Just sayin…

    2. Evil here… Hear it from the horse’s mouth… Carpenter says it’s not a remake (ignore the stupid narrator)

  3. I have high hopes for this filma d the Original The Thing is still today my all time favorite horror movie. 

    Will it BOMB or not….

    Only time will tell.

  4. I have seen The Thing (1982) and it’s one of my favorite horror films and it makes me think of it as a predecessor of The X Files. lol

    It is clearly stated that The Thing (2011) will be a prequel to the 1982 version. Although I can’t wait to see it regardless how i get scared easily, I hope this doesn’t bomb. Looking at the trailer there’s like a few spoiler points and camera shots that make it seem like a 2000s thriller movie (hand held, jump cuts, etc) which for me doesn’t fit if this is set in 1982 before the Americans. 

     Why i can’t wait to see it, I kinda like prequels; they reveal part of a story that hasn’t been told in the ‘original’ stories, and sometimes it makes you go “hey, now we know who was the one who blew up that chopper” kind of thing. 

    For those of you who don’t know, parts of the movie will be in subtitles when there’s Norwegian. I think this adds to the paranoia – language barrier between the Americans and the Norwegians. What do you guys think? Also not everything is CGI but use practical effects like the 1982 film did. Interesting eh? 

    Can someone tells me what’s with this female lead since Aliens? I have never seen those movies and I’m not saying that having a female lead especially in this film, doesn’t bother me much.. 


    1. Evil Argento here…. since you like prequels, did you happen to see Rise of the Lycans? Check out this sort-of review

  5. An early test screen of the 2011 Thing was last night, 10/01/11, in Los Angeles.  I was fortunate enough to attend and have seen the film.  With that said, and not wanting to give ANYTHING away, they do, in fact, answer “all” of the questions raised in Carpenter’s ‘original’  (and as far as Carpenter’s NOT being the original, that’s true.  But when talking about this particular prequel and how it relates specifically to Carpenter’s version, the term “original” is accurate, so deal with it).

    However, if you are expecting the same sens of paranoia that MacReady, et al, had to endure, not knowing who was what around you… sorry to say, the writer(s) seemed to have missed that nuance and went for shock horror and an over use of CGI.   Is it a good film?  Sure.  Is it a fun ride?  Yup.  Is it that great prequel fans of Carpenter’s original are thirsty for?  Probably not.  

    But that’s just my opinion.  Go see it for yourselves later this month and please come back here to discuss. 

    1. Hey Preirin, thanks for not giving too much away on the prequel. Some of us here are really anxious to see it soon enough. The paranoia is definitely one the best aspect’s in John Carpenter’s The Thing. I did notice myself that the early trailer revealed a lot of CGI which kinda bothered me. Once it’s released in theaters worldwide, I’m sure we will all find out really fast if it’s a hit or miss for fans of the Carpenter original. 

      1. 1.  where did you learn to write.  your second sentence “the worse are”.  should be the worst.

        2.  you refer to carpenters “original version in the 80′s”.   moron, the original was made in 1951, starring james arness. as a movie historian you suck.

          1. He’s right on one point though, Carpenter’s film is an adaptation of the original 1951 ‘The Thing from Another World’.

        1. If you’re going to bitch about typos, you better make sure your TROLL post is perfect. So let’s list your mistakes:
          1. You clearly don’t know how to capitalize.
          2. There’s only one space after a full stop (aka, a period).
          3. “carpenters” should be possessive, which means you need an apostrophe before the final s.
          4. You typed “80′s” when the correct punctuation is ’80s.
          5. A full stop is placed within the closing quotation mark (.”). Yes, it depends on which style you use, but the style that places it outside just makes for ugly looking type.
          6. You should have placed a comma after “historian.”

          OK, I”m bored of trifling with your crap. Happy Trolling, Troll.

  6. I was fortunate enough to attend THE THING premiere on 10/10/11 and had the opportunity to meet some of the cast.  I also had the opportunity to meet John Carpenter as my television pilot, GHOST TREK: THE KINSEY REPORT screened at Fright Night Film Fest where he was the guest of honor this past summer. Having said that, this film is not the classic film a true Carpenter fanboy would yearn for… but it’s close.  This is a well-made film.  The CGI is just modern day’s answer to Harryhausen type effects (which the Carpenter film employed) so I dismiss those comments.  They did miss the mark regarding the inset of paranoia, and the Norweigians  are reduced to Star Trek rank-and-file red-shirt kills.  This creature is also very aggressive and mayhem-oriented, where in Carpenter’s film the alien is more diabolical, methodical and deliberate.  Also there’s not the slow pacing that creates that unnerving tension you get with the 1982 classic. It’s a good horror movie. A popcorn movie.  I recommend it… it is, for all intensive purposes, a love letter to John Carpenter.

  7. What had happened to the dead guy with the slit throat near the crash site of the alien aircraft? endquote.

    I don’t recall a dead guy with a slit throat near the crash site of the spacecraft.

    I DO recall a dead guy with slit wrists ( at least) in the radio room of the Norwegian camp but NO body right NEXT to the crash site.

  8. I found the movie to be pretty good. Of course, doesn’t live up to the original 1982 version, but it was good. Got my heart racing, the alien was definitely more aggressive in this one. I agree about the CGI being overused, but then again, come on, it’s 2011 guys. And I think it made the beast look more viscous…then again it’s just my opinion. I mean, it got my friend scared, very bloody…More than 3/4 of the people watching it hadn’t seen the 1982 version aside from me so a lot of them were like “really?” and I had to explain to some of my friends a few things. I love how the soundtrack from the beginning of Carpenter’s “The Thing” was on at the end, that heart beat sound,  along with a little actual footage of the dog being chased by the helicopter from the old movie.

    But I’m no professional critic, I’m just a girl who went out on a movie night with some friends and thought the film was pretty great :) Go see it for yourselves, and WATCH the 1982 version if you haven’t, you’ll appreciate the film more.

  9. I have not read all of the comments, but in case this has not been mentioned, just for the record, John Carpenter’s “The Thing” was, in fact, a remake of the classic 1951 “The Thing from Another World,” starring the late James Arness in the title role.   In Carpenter’s excellent rendition, a scene from the 1951 version is seen as black and white film footage shot by the Norwegians.  The original version actually holds up rather well,  with an Old School reliance on suspense rather than special effects.

  10. I’m sorry but this article is utter rubbish. There were no questions that ‘pricked at the mind of the viewer’. Leaving aside the fact that ‘viewer’ is a television term, in film we are very much ‘the audience’, the information we had was more than sufficient for the story at hand. They came to camp trying to kill a dog and then blew themselves up, that was a mystery, but that mystery was answered when they visited the camp, found the ship, and removed what was to become more alien (a half transformed torso). There is nothing more (at least nothing necessary) to say about those events. But my real ire is reserved for the fatuous statement ‘Carpenter left plenty of room for a prequel….’. NO ONE LEAVES ROOM FOR A PREQUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!! A prequel is except on very rare occassions simply a device for milking a cash cow further from an established fictional universe (né franchise). I can only hope that the forthcoming Alien prequel (Prometheus) bucks this trend, and is there is a certain wondrous poetry deriving from Scott now in the twilight of his career (I say that with hope that he continues making movies for years to come, but he is no spring lamb) revisiting the Universe that arguably cemented his career during its infancy.

    1. Wow, someone considers themselves a cinephile. Note that the rubbish doesn’t say that Carpenter left room for a prequel, but that  ”It SEEMED that Carpenter left the story open enough that a prequel would not be an impossibility.” No one here has said that this was his intent, but that it happened.

      1. Did you even read what you wrote here? “It SEEMED that Carpenter left the story open enough that a prequel would
        not be an impossibility.” No one here has said that this was his
        intent, but that it happened”………… Read your own words, IT SEEMED THAT……… CARPENTER LEFT THE STORY OPEN ENOUGH…….”      Sorry fella, but that does indeed imply intent.

  11. Please! that’s pure semantics and you know it. To claim “he left space”, or that “it seemed he left space”, is effectively the same thing and the difference between the two is negligible at best. And yes I do consider myself a cinephile and will gladly go toe to toe with anyone anywhere on movie trivia and critical theory. Bring it on be-atch! :o)

    1. KH here… Personally, I’m a huge fan of John Carpenter’s The Things, I re-watch it almost every year. I like everything about it, the acting, the sound design, direction, and of course the special effects.  I was always intrigue by the Norwegians, and their camp (I felt that was one of the creepiest parts in the film). I wanted to know more about the events that led up to the point where they blew themselves up. How shit all went down when they themselves first discovered the alien. Only hints where introduced in the 1982 version when MacReady discovered a video blog, and so on . Sure, we all know the alien escaped in a dog form and two Norwegians where killed in the process of trying to kill it. Ya, the Norwegian camp also answered the fact they discovered an alien form that was frozen, and reaked havoc after it was unthawed. That’s it!!! There is definitely space left “intentionally” or “not” to make a prequel to develop a full story behind all that my friend. Maybe you aren’t interested in it, but some die hard fans are. We aren’t trying to say John Carpenter left room intentionally, “IT SEEMED…”, and sorry if it sounds like that to you.

      Definition for SEEMED: To appear to exist.

      Either way, I really enjoyed the prequel even if it was too similar to John Carpenter’s, and if you have a second, or third watch. You will find some excellent detail that I missed when I first viewed it. The new director tried his best to make a prequel that could cather to both the fans of Carpenter’s version, and new ones. It’s not perfect, but it is what it is now.

      You claim to be cinephile, but you still think Prometheus is a prequel to Alien. Now that’s funny! When was the last time you read news about it? It will have strands of DNA to Alien, but not a prequel.


      1. dude it will have more than strands, they have lovingly recreated in exact detail the space jockey  control room, and whilst not a prequel in the strictest sense (although it was planned as such), it has now been expanded to take in a larger universe, of which the Space Jockey’s race and the Aliens will be central, but not limited to. My friend, I am a MASSIVE fan of the original (well 80s) Carpenter version, and to be honest, I do not think the new film does it justice, it’s Ripley (from Alien ironically enough) vs. a monster FAR too ready to reveal itself to witnesses, which I think is the major shortcoming of the film, I briefly for a few years owned a small independent cinema for 58 seats and the first midnight showing I had?? Carpenter’s the Thing. Also I would suggest you do as I did last weekend which is watch both films in but in reverse order. watch the prequel first and THEN watch the Carpenter original, and it truly ahows up the 2011 film for the very very pale immitation that it is, trust me on this one. watch them back to back, and there is simply no contest. I for one greatly mourn the passing of real effects in the age of CGI. The other day I watched Poltergeist for the first time in HD, and I was watching the effects for the scene where the invesigator tears chunks of his face of in front of the mirror, i was struck y the fact that even though, the efects were obviously fake, they were still far more scary and horrific than hyper-real CGI.

      2. I have had the misfortune of watching this tripe twice and I can tell you it was even worse the second time and I believe I would hurt people if I had to watch it a third time. The fact that you are a fan of JC version makes it even sadder that you liked this bollocks premake.

  12. I can’t believe what all the critics say. I watched the film. Went online to see if I could get more info on the story and how it ties into the 80′s movie and what did I find? That most of the tasteless ‘critics’ out there gave this an average of between 30 and 45 out of a hundred! This movie is a great ride and in my opinion it definitely does the 80′s movie justice. If you want 2 hours of good atmosphere, great acting, excellent story and very nice special effects then look no further than this movie. If you ever wondered how the hell did all this happen? when you watched the original then watch it. If you like sci-fi or horror… watch it. Forget about what all these dumb and completely tasteless “movie critics” are saying about it. Seriously can’t believe how low this got rated when it is, in actual fact, an absolute gem.

    1. KH here… I completely agree!!! I ended up re-watching it, and find myself appreciating a lot more, and the details are quite outstanding (didn’t spot them all at first).  Blu-ray is expected to come out this month, and I’m definitely considering to buy it. Thanks for the comment, later

    2. I’m actually ‘not’ all that surprised that it didn’t rate well by critics, because neither did The Thing (1982) in fact it bombed.  It was only later that it became a cult classic and gained the respect it deserved.  The fact that ANY movie in the god-awful ‘Twilight’ series got significantly better critic ratings than the movies I actually enjoyed, is very telling to me about ‘professional’ opinions. :p

      So saying, I loved both The Thing (1982) and The Thing (2011) and in the end that’s all that really matters.   If you yourself enjoyed it, because someone else’s opinion doesn’t effect your viewing enjoyment.   A lot of the best rated movies by reviewers are ones I watch out of curiosity and wind up not caring for all that well (not ALL, some of them are pretty good, but the vast majority are rather ‘meh’), while movies like The Thing (2011) I love, when I’m being told ‘don’t watch this, it sucks’   So I’ve stopped believing the brick bats and just trust myself instead.

  13. I’m not elitist about movies, certainly not horror movies, of which I’ve found most newer ones aren’t that scary, or they try to drop in a last minute ‘twist’ that’s really disappointing.  That being said,  I try to give new horror movies a chance to shine beyond the gore fests that are The Saw series and other titles such as Hostel.   This is just my opinion of course, but those aren’t horror movies to me, they’re just gore.  They lack memorable characters that we can connect with, they lack a sense of the unknown that has always been one of the scariest real life matters that we’re faced with (again, in my opinion) and they never stay with you much past the credits.

    The Thing stayed with me, it haunted me after I left the theatre.   Not knowing what to expect going in, I watched Carpenter’s movie the night before I went to see this (I’d seen it plenty of times before but hadn’t watched in a good three years or more) . . . and I was absolutely amazed at the attention to detail in the 2011 movie.  It’s clear, to me, that it was made by individuals that not only like The Thing (1982) but those people who cherished it and wanted to both make a good prequel and pay homage to Carpenter’s vision.

    The tense atmosphere built steadily and left me with a profound sense of foreboding, made even worse because having watched Carpenter’s movie, I knew all those people were going to die.   It was well acted, scripted and the effects showed both the improvement available with today’s special effects technology, while paying tribute to the original ‘Thing’ designs.   We still are left unsure what it actually would’ve looked like on its own, even in the block of ice all we see is mass and some texture, and the mystery of where it came from is no more revealed in 2011 than it was in 1982.  It came from space, and that’s all we can guess.

    The leading lady was left in a similar place as Kurt Russell, only without another human with her, but sitting in the desolation of Antarctica, still unsure if ‘it’ was dead yet.  The scene of the two men in the chopper chasing the dog was added in throughout the credits, and made my skin tingle in anticipation.  I immediately wanted to go home and watch The Thing (1982) again.

    I’ve read reviews both ‘professional’ and those of average Joe, and while I appreciate that not everyone likes the same kind of moviea, I LOVED this, in a way that I haven’t loved a horror movie in a very long time.   It was more than I expected, and also managed to still make me jump in my seat.  The Thing (2011) seems to remember what horror movies are suppose to be, and watching both films together is a great experience.

  14. The Thing 2011 sucked hard. Thank goodness I had the sense to fast forward a bit and then turn off video play.

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