An american scientist named Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) joins a Norwegian team in Antarctica who have discovered some Thing, frozen in ice. To their astonishment, this creature evidently crawled out of an alien spacecraft that was downed and equally frozen ages ago. After excavating the Thing intact in a block of ice they haul it inside their station, then get drunk while celebrating down the hall.
When the creature gets out, it starts hunting down the Antarctic team, one by one. But Kate realizes the Thing can take them over from the inside, so any one of them might be this alien creature, waiting for an opportunity to ambush them or even reach the rest of the Earth's population, causing millions of deaths.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Let me reassure purists: This movie does not monkey around with your beloved John Carpenter's The Thing (1982). It's a prequel, setting up the conditions for the John Carpenter movie (and the fact that Kate joins a team of Norwegians should tip you off to this, if you're really boned up on the subject.) As for entertainment value, the superior special effects of this prequel make the gore and grotesquerie more explosive, if that’s what you’re looking for in a movie. And if you’ve ever been in a bar with drunk Norwegians, you won’t shed a tear for this group of Thing fodder.
The Thing 1982
I mainly saw The Thing because of Mary Elizabeth Winstead, since I was impressed with her roles as a mean girl in the Disney superhero movie Sky High and as the star of Final Destination 3. However, she wasn’t provided with much in the way of good dialogue. That’s why I missed the original 1951 version, The Thing from Another World.
The Thing 1951
In glorious black and white, they obviously didn’t have much of a budget for special effects. And they left out the part about the Thing taking over people’s bodies. But this version had masterfully creepy scenes with real tension. Also, I enjoyed the snappy dialogue, which might seem a little dated nowadays, but was vastly more entertaining than people just screaming as the Thing reveals itself.
And what is it with Antarctica? My last blog entry detailed the death of my dream of going there, now I end up seeing another movie about it.