The Thing 2011: D-
I am trying as hard as I can to think of a more predictable movie. Maybe Batman & Robin? Everything you think is going to happen happens, which especially sucks because the movie tries so hard to terrify with surprise Thing attacks.
The subtle creepiness and political commentary from Carpenter’s film is replaced with jump scares and meaninglessness. The scientists at this Arctic ice base figure out the Thing’s tricks fairly quickly and arrive at the same “chess” game from Carpenter’s version – trying to figure out who is a Thing and who is not about to erupt into CGI – but the haste just evaporates all of the actual buildup and suspense. The “scares” consist solely of CGI Thing barrages, not psychological torment or sly infiltration. Every 20 minutes or so (which is sort of a long time to wait between stretches of pretty awful dialogue and exposition), there is an obligatory jump scare followed by some Xboxy graphics on par with the Silent Hill movies.
There were no un-CGI shots of Thing as far as I can tell, but maybe I was just blinded by rage and disappointment. Again, more Carpenter charm lost. We all remember the animatronic decapitated head-spiders and caterpillar twisty-torsos that K. Russ’s sexy ass was blasting with flame throwers, right? Well, prepare for a letdown: special effects on par with the Anaconda movies, and writing that reminded me of a soap opera. I’ve actually been kept in more suspense while watching an episode of General Hospital with my mom. What’s especially fucked is that in the trailer for the movie, you see three characters transform into the Thing. So when you see the scenes in the movie, you know what is going to happen pretty much instantly.
The movie could have been cool if anyone involved had cared about the source material on any meaningful level. I just imagine some Michael Bay disciple as the director walking on set for day 1 of filming and going “so this is what, like some kinda monster or something like the blob?” I was surprised to see the film received an R rating because it is structured like a cookie-cutter PG-13 profit machine and seemed to be churned out with less thought/effort than the Thing video game (yes, there is a Thing video game and it isn’t that bad).
Let me put it this way: imagine someone made a prequel to The Shining and the movie had a laugh track and Kanye West on the soundtrack. That’s how out-of-fucking-bounds nuts this movie was.