I am a huge fan of John Carpenter’s 1982 sci-fi horror classic, The Thing. It is a massive achievement in the genre for so many reasons, but the practical effects alone are still impressive four decades later. In 2011 we got a prequel without the involvement of Carpenter. Instead, Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. got behind the camera for his only American feature to date. Like most fans of Carpenter’s film, I was extremely disappointed with the prequel. Even a film as unnecessary as this one could be decent if they bothered to take what worked best in the original and make it better, namely the f/x work. Sadly, they made it so much worse. With the advancements in practical effects over the 30 years between the two films, this could have been something really cool. Instead, they went the CGI route, and it wasn’t pretty. Mill Creek has released a Walmart Exclusive steelbook Blu-ray and I decided to give 2011’s The Thing a revisit for the first time since its’ theatrical release.
Set right before the events of Carpenter’s film, an alien craft plus a frozen alien is discovered at an Antarctica research site. I will say this, as bad as the CGI is here, the location is stunning and looks incredible on Blu-ray. I kind of wish this was a 4K restoration so we could see all that white powdery snow with layers of blue ice in all its’ glory. At least for the daytime shots.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton are good here and they are working with a well-cast group of supporting players. The problem here is that this is pretty much a beat-for-beat remake, poorly disguised as a prequel. It’s not a terrible film by any means. However, when all it would have taken was to go with old school effects (which were already being worked on in production) to make the film stand out more, it is frustrating.
The steelbook packaging created for Walmart is actually quite nice. While I feel the slipcover takes a bit away from the cool artwork, it is a nice piece to include with a collection, especially if you are a completest and never picked up 2011’s The Thing on Blu-ray.
By: Marc Ferman