Soooo… So you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
Did they get you to trade Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange A walk on part in the war For a lead role in a cage?
Sorry. I try not to “sing” I really do. But I couldn’t help myself. I was sad and wistful leaving the theatre, and not in a good way. I played this song on the way home like three times in a row (“Wish you were here” by Pink Floyd, for the uninitiated). It’s perfect. I realize that a lot of you probably didn’t “get it”, but that’s ok, let me explain. Watching this movie, I felt like I had been sold out. That somewhere along the line, Hollywood lost respect for me, and now, special effects were expected to replace suspense.
I try not to wax nostalgic. I mean, if the Shark had worked, Spielberg would have shown us it from the opening sequence. It’s a well documented fact. So… I mean, if John Carpenter had CGI in 1982, he probably would have used it then too. And listen, that “Monster” at the end is one of the Carpenter version is one of the silliest, goofiest practical monsters ever. It’s just completely whacked out. So that’s probably what they’re drawing off of here. But the thing is, by the time its shown at the end of the 82 version, you’re so in love with that awesome movie, you’re completely willing to forgive. I love when it gets to that part!
Here’s the difference, and this is what has me melancholy. Now that they have an arsenal of special effects toys, now that they can literally visual anything… they wind up coming up with a WORSE movie.
The big problem is, instead of a movie loaded with suspense, like in ’82, where you never really SEE a lot of the creature, here you get an in your face over the top alien from day one. The CGI isn’t even that bad, it’s the crazy ass character design. One minute I was like, “Hey that’s pretty sick, what a sick design”, and then the next I was like, “Oh c’mon, for real?” And instead of the “Where is it now?” “Who is he?” “Are you human?” game (which this movie pays lip service to), you get an action movie / creature feature where the monster is never far out of sight, bursting through walls and doors, and chasing down the science crew.
I recognize that a lot of people haven’t seen the Carpenter version, so in that case, this would probably be a decent movie for you, and maybe even a good one, if you can get past the outrageousness of “The Thing”. It would probably be like a B, B- for a total newcomer.
This movie wasn’t the case of a typical regurgitation/we’re slapping an old name on some new crap, I do think they actually tried here. They tried to hew to the spirit of the “original”… for a “Prequel” and not a “Remake”, they sure as hell match the story beats pretty closely. But all the things that were GOOD were good because they lifted them from the Carpenter flick and/or original, and everything that was new, that they could call their own, kind of sucked.
If you HAVEN’T seen the ’82 version, rent that one. On demand it. It’s probably all over the place right now on tv because of the new release… watch that one. Seriously. Plus, that version had some stars, some charisma. Kurt Russell? Wilford Brimely? Keith David was in it… I don’t think they’re going to top anybody’s greatest actors ever list, but there’s some real watchability there. The acting wasn’t bad here, it was fine. But there was no wattage whatsoever coming off of the screen. Just dullness.
I couldn’t shake the Ghosts of ’82 on this one, folks.