The Thing 2011: D-
Dear Reader, I feel blinded by my own rage. I find myself, straining as if against the full force of the arch-fiend and a legion of his most terrible ghouls, straining to an extraordinary degree to fathom a motion picture more entrenched in the realm of predictability, more predestined to be perceived as a pathetic cash-grab prequel. Dare I invoke the lamentable specter of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”? Or, heaven forbid, “The Scorpion King”? Alas, “The Thing” (2011), in its pitiable attempt to instill dread through unexpected assaults from the entirely computer-generated Thing, wallows in a mire of abject failure. It was only through the most passionate restraint that your humble Keeper did not pierce both of his eyes with red hot pokers!
Gone, oh how painfully gone! is the disquietude and the provocative political allegory that adorned Carpenter’s original masterpiece. Absolutely gone without a blasted trace! In their stead, we are subjected to a barrage of hollow jump-scares and an unyielding void of substance. The so-called scientists inhabiting their Arctic fortress are swiftly confronted by the Thing’s shapeshifting ploys, plunging headlong into the same maddening and deadly chess game that their predecessors from the far superior 1982 film once played. One must tell friend from alien foe to survive: Futile attempt follows futile attempt with the doomed scientists each succumbing to various deluges of CGI-induced torment.
And what of pacing for our chilly arctic thriller?! Here, in the festering anus of 2011 cinema, the frenzied pace obliterates any semblance of genuine suspense or building tension. The supposed “scares” amount to naught but a relentless onslaught of computer-generated nonsense absolutely bereft of the insidious art of psychological and cellular infiltration. And lo, at intervals of approximately twenty minutes – a cruel stretch of time between each sequence of excruciatingly insipid dialogue and mind-numbing exposition! – we are graced with a mandatory jump-scare! A jump-scare drenched in Nintendo-like visual effects, Dear Reader!
I spoke before of my own contemplation of blinding by iron, but during this wretched viewing, I was blinded by celluloid rage! My eyes, blurred by a potent mixture of fury and disillusionment, strained to find solace in the CGI-infested monstrosities. There is a complete absence of Carpenter’s enchanting touch! Do we not reminisce, with a heavy heart, the animatronic marvels that once graced our screens? The decapitated spider-heads and the contorted caterpillar-torsos, dancing on screen like enchanting sugar-plum fairies before being engulfed in the flames of Kurt Russell’s captivating prowess and sizable flamethrower? There is nothing to see, Dear Reader. Only darkness to strain into until death. All who dare to explore the abyss of “The Thing” 2011: Brace yourself for an inexorable descent into this visual desolation.
Yes Dear Reader, the special effects on display invoke the woeful standards set by the “Anaconda” franchise, but what of this story? Alas, the screenplay, laden with the banality of a pedestrian soap opera, fails to evoke even a modicum of artistic merit. Indeed, I dare say, I have endured greater suspense while partaking in the mundane affairs of “General Hospital,” a favorite of my dear mother’s, which I often watched intently by her side. How maddening it is to behold even the trailer for this film, wherein three characters succumb to the insidious clutches of the Thing, thus rendering any semblance of surprise within the film itself utterly nonexistent. In all fairness, I must concede that the scribe of this dreadful mistake of a film did also pen the screenplay for the fantastic film “Arrival,” and because of this, I extend to him my respect and admiration despite this unfortunate 2011 lapse.
As one who deeply loves Carpenter’s film, I cannot help but ponder the hypothetical scenario wherein those involved in the production of this film exhibited even a microscopic regard for the source material from which it was derived. Alas, I can only envision a director, perhaps a disciple of Michael Bay, striding onto the set on the fateful days of filming, with a dismissive remark of the likes of, “So, this creature, is it akin to a monstrous blob of sorts? Well, this will be cake, old chaps! Let’s be quick, now!” before rolling the cameras and commencing desecration. Such a despicable image haunts my tortured mind. It is a ghastly reminder that the film, despite its R rating, adheres to the soulless structure of a cookie-cutter PG-13 profit-generating apparatus, surpassing even the Playstation 2 “The Thing” video game – a favorite of my dear mother’s, which I often played intensely by her side – in its absence of cogitation and labor.
I cannot say I recommend this film to any sane man who hopes to retain the will to draw breath.
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