The thing about The Thing is…

For those of you who plan on seeing the new 2011 version, you may want to quit reading this post now. Then again, how badly can I spoil the plot of a prequel? You know it’s going to end where the next movie picks up.

In this case, that’s the scene of a man shooting at a sled dog from a helicopter. Sadly, that’s where I think this movie missed the mark the most. There’s only one sled dog at the Norwegian station. Viewers are only given a few brief glimpses of it at the beginning. Then the dog disappears (presumed dead) for the entire rest of the movie until the end, at which point, of course, it’s really The Thing in disguise. By that point, the tie-in is like an afterthought. The dog’s long absence was sort of confusing for those of us who knew it was the link to the sequel.

Casting made an unfortunate choice in picking two actresses – one to play the heroine and another a minor character – who looked strikingly similar. They both were about the same build, white, and had long, dark, straight hair. Put the women in snow gear, and it was nearly impossible to tell them apart. I had to wait until they spoke since the heroine had an American accent, while the other had a Scandinavian accent.

All in all, I thought the movie was okay. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t find it scary. Although the effects were really good, they lacked the visceral impact of the makeup and effects artistry of the John Carpenter version. Maybe the digital effects lacked a certain human touch?

There also wasnt’ much suspense. The real fear factor in the 1982 movie wasn’t

the chase scenes when The Thing was in alien form. The scary part was not knowing who was an alien and who was human because The Thing was an excellent mimic. This 2011 prequel practically skipped over that to get right to the alien effects and chase scenes. For me, it really lost something.

If you’re looking for action and special effects, I think you’ll like this movie. If, like me, you want suspense and real sci-fi horror, I think you’ll be a tiny bit disappointed. Just my opinion. I still had fun going to the theater for this one.