Review: ‘The Thing’
2. The remake of "The Thing" forgets this. It just wants to be a traditional monster movie, in which we trap a group of people in a far-off location and watch them try to survive. There are a few nods at the initial concept, including an attempt to discover the alien imposter by checking the fillings in one's teeth. (The alien(s) can only replicate live matter, not metal.) This is an inefficient discovery method; as one person rightly notes, "Oh, so I'm gonna get killed because I floss?" But then the film drops it and just features characters we know aren't aliens trying to kill something we know that is. We've seen that a million times before. If you take the paranoia out of "The Thing," the sense that everyone in the room is right and you are wrong and they are all going to eat you now, you have nothing but gross monster effects. Which we've seen a million times before, too.
3. The film is a prequel to the original film, so it takes place in 1982, when the St. Louis Cardinals were beating the Milwaukee Brewers in the World Series. (Sorry. I have a preoccupied brain right now.) That film opened with two Norwegians chasing a dog in a helicopter; that's how this film ends. (I don't think that counts as a spoiler.) A massive spaceship is found in Antarctica, along with a frozen alien being, and a team of Norwegian and American scientists (along with an ornithologist played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) assemble to do secret research. I'll never understand why this research has to be so secret; it's an alien! We wanna know! Anyway, the scientists are far too blase about having discovered an alien, and next thing you know, it has escaped its icy prison and is out killing and replicating people. It's a good thing the spaceship crashed in Antarctica, or we'd all be walking around, speaking alien. Or are we?
4. You know, now that I think about it, I don't get this alien. First off, I don't quite understand whether it's one alien, or several. On one hand, there's just one in the ice, and we see it escape. But then again, we see it burned alive ... and yet there are still other aliens impersonating people. Are these pieces of the initial alien? If so, why doesn't it just immediately, once it's out of the ice, just start impersonating bacteria in the air, or atoms, or penguins, or anything nearby that's alive. If it's able to replicate itself like that, why bother with humans? Penguins don't shoot flamethrowers at you; clear advantage for replicating oneself as a penguin. Also, why is it so fast at changing its cells into a human's at the beginning of the film, but so slow at the end that it turns into a wildly gesticulating monster alien with bits and pieces of all the people it killed earlier in the movie? It's just because the movie wants to show off its monster effects, right? That's the only reason I've got.