Retro Review: The Thing (2011)

The Thing (2011)

Written By Eric Heisser & John W. Campbell Jr.

Directed By Matthijs Van Heijningen Jr.

Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, & Ulrich Thomsen

            The Thing (2011) is the story of a group of scientists who, while traveling across the frozen tundra of Antarctica investigating something strange that has appeared on their radar, fall through the ice in their vehicle and get stuck a void in the ice. What they have stumbled onto is a gigantic alien craft that is resting peacefully beneath the frozen surface. They then set up camp and begin doing what scientists do and while doing said scientist stuff, they discover what they refer to as a “survivor” frozen in the nearby ice. The man heading up this discovery is Dr. Sander Halvorson, who seems hell-bent on gathering information, documenting his findings and selfishly gaining all of the fame and glory that goes along with it. To assist him in extracting this “survivor” from the ice, paleontologist Kate Lloyd is brought in. Although excited by the find, Kate and the good doctor seem to butt heads, as she doesn’t agree with Dr. Halvorson’s tactics in the treatment of the find.

            thing20111After the team has the find out of the ice and safely (yeah, right) back at the camp, Dr. Halvorson decides it is necessary to obtain a tissue sample. Kate questions his choice to do so and is greeted with distain from the doctor. So, Halvorson instructs another team member to drill down through the block of ice and into the specimen. Dr. Halvorson now has his sample, but at what price? Later that evening, one of our pilots, Derek Jameson (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), decides to go into the room where the ice block is to merely take a look. He places his hands on the enormous alien-stuffed ice-cube and notices that it seems to be melting. Moments later, the “survivor” breaks out of the ice, goes straight through the roof, and outside into the night. Obviously in dismay, Dr. Halvorson demands that his team go outside and find his alien. Well, they find it all right. The Thing is under a structure from which it basically harpoons one of the scientists, pulls him under, and consumes him. The team immediately burns The Thing, to the dismay of Dr. Halvorson.

            2011splitfaceThey then begin to again do what scientists do and start cutting it open. What they discover is that The Thing had begun absorbing its skewered victim. Kate discovers a titanium plate inside of the monster, which was previously inside of the arm of the devoured scientist’s arm to mend a broken bone. So, why is the plate no longer inside of the perfectly intact arm? Kate does a little more investigating with a blood sample from The Thing and witnesses the creature’s cells absorbing and then cloning human cells. Shortly thereafter, Kate discovers a bloody mess in the bathroom, which includes what appear to be dental fillings. This, along with the titanium plate, tells Kate that the alien is cloning human cells but it is incapable of cloning inanimate objects. The bloody mess also tells Kate that The Thing is still among them. But, where (or who) is it?

            the_thing_mary_elizabeth_winsteadI really enjoyed this movie. Although I am not a huge fan of CGI effects and enjoy practical effects a lot more, this movie was visually intense. The aliens were all very cool and seeing them transform from human to alien and every disjointed monster in between was gruesome. I liked that we go to see how The Thing was discovered as well as watched it set itself free to wreak havoc on our scientists. I guess this goes to show that not everything should be discovered and/or examined.

            Most people, without being familiar with John Carpenter’s The Thing or this installment, believe that this movie was a remake. However, it is actually a prequel to John Carpenter’s film. One of the most gruesome monsters that we see in this movie is the duel faced monster corpse that we see in John Carpenter’s movie. Another really cool touch that this movie added was when the credits begin we see a husky (sled dog) jump out of a window and begin sprinting out to and across the tundra. Those of you that are familiar with John Carpenter’s movie will know that this is how Mr. Carpenter’s movie begins. The closing of this movie is actually the opening of Mr. Carpenter’s movie. Very cool touch and nod to the 1982 masterpiece.

Keep It Scary!!!

(And Gruesome)

John Ellsworth


Many would say that something like movies or music are considered to merely be interests or hobbies, but John’s love and passion of these two genres are more of a way of life, and he lives it every day.