Hey stargazers! After tackling John Carpenter's The Thing yesterday, why not roll into Day 3 of The Invasion Will Not Be Televised with the recent rehash starring North Carolina's own Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
1 hour, 43 minutes
In 1982, scientists at a Norwegian research station discover an alien spacecraft buried beneath a 100,000 years worth of ice. Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Black Christmas) is recruited by the project lead, Dr. Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen, Hitman), to catalog and identify the accompanying life-form found outside the craft. But once the alien ice pop is brought to the lab, the warm, monstery center explodes from its casing before the crew can even get in their three licks. As the creature preys on the staff, the remaining crew begin to suspect one another as the latest host of this unknown menace.
I went in to The Thing 2011 believing it to be a remake of the John Carpenter's take on John W. Campbell Jr.'s story Who Goes There?. Turns out this version is a prequel which I though was a phenomenal concept. Instead of attempting to tweak, or directly copy, elements of Carpenter's version, first-time film director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. and writer Eric Heisserer are given a chance to interpret the idea of fighting this alien menace as they see fit.
By doing this, audiences are treated to a new group with a differing set of flight-or-fight responses to their hunted status. It's like having the new crop of killees in a Freddy or Jason flick; the viewers know the threat, but the enjoyment comes from watching the potential victims try to a) work out a means to survive and b) work together to do it. Like in Carpenter's version, dissension within the ranks happens quickly, especially considering Lloyd and Dr. Halvorson were already embroiled in a pissing contest before the alien threat. Overall, the cast nail that frantic uncertainty.
Dirty UndiesI'm torn about the monster effects. There's something magically creepy about the latex and goo of the Carpenter "things," but CGI allows the new and improved "things" to move, twist, and destroy in ways that were cost and logistically prohibitive back in the '80s. The new "things" had a few noticeable improvements to amplify the gut-n-gore factor without being an orgy of effects.
This go 'round, the research station was manned with a couple of non-mans which provided some nice equal opportunity ogling. Still they're in Antarctica, so not much of chance to catch either sex in their skivvies.
The Money ShotSolid acting, gruesome deaths and an excellent bridge to the Carpenter version, The Thing 2011 gave me a theatrical experience I honestly hadn't expected. Like the alien, The Thing 2011 is an extension of The Thing 1982; it's part of the whole, but it's also a separate beast out to infect it's viewer with tingly feelings of fear and dread.