Reviewed Jun 17, 2012
"The Thing" 2011 is not really a bad film at all. There are sure a lot worse horror movies out there. It's generous with the creature shots, so horror fans get a fairly substantial bang for their buck. Still, "The Thing" 2011 never seems inspired at any time. It doesn't bring anything new to the table other than CGI and a more mobile monster.
It suffers, of course, from the obvious elephant in the room, in that it can't measure up to John Carpenter's 1982 version. Few films could; Carpenter's film was a true re imagining of the Howard Hawks' 1951 "The Thing from Another World", as well as being a horror classic on it's own that upped the ante when it came to gory special effects.
The 2011 "The Thing" is a prequel to the Carpenter version, and as such is very similar in style. It also goes through virtually the same story. Despite solid production value and some good supporting actors, nothing about this film really stands out as original or new. With that recipe, failure to live up to the original seems almost inevitable.
I've never understood when critics say they think a remake or sequel is unnecessary. Every movie is unnecessary when you think about it. And some sequels, prequels/remakes can be quite good. But, with Thing '11, I kind of begin to get what they're saying about unnecessary.
If we lived in a world without Thing '82, Thing '11 would be an adequate substitute. But we don't live in that world. Thing '11 might be of curious interest to fans of Thing '82, but if you haven't seen either film yet, '82 is still going to be far and away the superior cinematic experience. I think it says a lot about both films that when I was watching '11, I was often wishing I was watching '82 again instead. "The Thing" 2011 is an adequate prequel to a truly great movie.