Wow what a surprise someone complaining about a recent Hollywood prequel of a beloved franchise on the internet how original right? Listen I get it, I hate having to be that guy. I wish that I could be writing how much I loved this movie and how amazing it is, hell I would love to have found at least one thing positive to hold on to but that unfortunately would just be a lie. I was massively optimistic going in and very sceptical of all the negative reviews that had been popping up prior to my viewing of the movie. They don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about, I told myself, they just love to hate on things because that’s the ‘cool’ thing to do these days. After all how could they possibly mess this up? It’s such a perfect concept and what’s more, it’s pretty simple. As the classic Spielberg quote goes any great film plot can be summed up in one sentence: Alien creature could be anyone (in snow). Not an overly convoluted structure but one that worked so fucking well in John Carpenter’s 1982 version, so well that it remains one of my favourite movies of all time.
Now let me just pause for a moment right here and say that no matter how disappointing the prequel was to me it takes NOTHING away from my enjoyment of the original, people that say that a bad prequel or reboot or remake somehow ‘ruins’ the originals from which they were based are insane. Nothing has changed about that thing you love, unless you’re talking about a certain George Lucas franchise but I digress. My point is I’m not bitching about how the prequel shit all over the original, which it did by the way, I’m just disappointed and somewhat baffled by just how they could have made such an awful failure of a movie with such a rich concept to work with? ? Surely there would be at least one good thing about this movie, right? RIGHT?? Even if this was just a standalone movie it would still suck, it just doesn’t work. It’s not scary, it’s not suspenseful, it’s not tense, it’s not dark, it’s not exciting, it’s not really anything. Coming away from this movie the best way I could describe it was just hollow.
There’s just nothing to it, it’s an empty husk. It feels like exactly what it is a big pay check for everyone involved with no creative drive behind it whatsoever. I find it hard to believe that anyone involved with this movie gave one single fuck about the original, in fact fuck that, they didn’t even care about just making a decent movie!! And if they did it certainly does not show one single bit. You can almost feel the apathy soaking through every aspect of the movie. From the blank expression on Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s face to the pointlessness of every scene to the almost laughable lumbering joke a CGI monster.
Another worthy point to make here, I am in no way against the use of CGI, I couldn’t care less if you use practical effects or computer wizardry. In my opinion they are both equally effective in the right hands. I do however think that there is an argument to be made that CGI effects can perhaps make certain filmmakers lazy in their approach to storytelling and if there has ever been example of that idea then it’s this movie.
I don’t know if there was a definitive moment during the film in which my heart began to sink but when the Thing started chasing people down corridors it was the beginning of the end. The Thing does not chase people around. What should have been an intense psychological expression of human paranoia is now just a lazy, fucking stupid creature feature and a bad one at that. It’s Hollywood telling us in no uncertain terms, You are so stupid the only way you’ll understand this is if we have a big stupid looking creature who’s all ‘Blarg I’m a scary monster coming to get you!!’ lumbering awkwardly down a corridor and then have a pretty young girl running the opposite direction who’s all like ‘Eeeek help me’. And let me tell you nothing feels better in this world than being treated like a fucking moron, right? You guys all love that feeling don’t you, because there’ s no way you would ever understand anything even slightly subtle, you’re far too stupid for anything like that. Well thanks a lot Hollywood you condescending asshole.
That might seem like a logical end point for this review but unfortunately it’s not over just yet. Another point I want to make very clear here. I was very aware that my extreme disappointment could have easily steered me in the direction of just looking for things to complain about so I’m going to try very hard not to do that here. I’m not just gonna flat out bash the movie because it sucked; let’s take a moment to closely examine why this movie sucked. Why they did this? How they fucked it up so bad and why it drove me to write all this.
So it’s a prequel, so you’re already going in with a different perspective. You have your internal check list, the block of ice, the axe in the wall etc. etc. And the filmmakers obviously knew this would be our mind-set as an audience, and then apparently went out of their way to antagonise us. Now I’m acting like a fan boy right? Hear me out, you’ve seen the original movie, two Norwegian dudes chasing the creature in husky form who quickly meet untimely ends at the American camp, and now we have the prequel. Finally a chance to explore these characters, find out what drove them to this end, who are they as people what horrors have they witnessed in the frozen wasteland. An amazing set up for a movie, so how does the prequel answer these questions? Well as it turns out, fucking poorly is how. In an absolutely stunningly questionable decision they get all of 10 fucking seconds in the end credits!! What were they thinking?? One of the guys isn’t even in the movie until this point and isn’t referenced to once!! He just shows up in the helicopter out of nowhere, he doesn’t know what the Thing is, he’s never witnessed the creature transform, he has no fucking idea other than what Lars fucking shouts at him in 5 seconds before they just jump into the helicopter and leave and THAT’S IT. They may as well have inserted another clip in the credits, just the smug face of Hollywood exec grinning as if to say, Yeah audience those are the guys from the original movie, I bet you love that don’t you, you stupid audience. Well no Hollywood I didn’t love it, it fucking sucked.
They took a concept that could have been brilliant and just shit all over it? Why? This is what I’m left asking, the film is just a series of god awful choices. It would have taken just one person who looked at the last page of that script to speak up and say ‘Hey you guys all know this sucks right? Why are we making a prequel that shows such disdain for these characters?’ This is why I stand by my previous statement that they are deliberately trying to antagonise us. I can find no other explanation. Why have another scene explaining the Things cellular activity with human blood in the petri dish? It’s the fucking same scene as the original movie!! Didn’t they even watch it?! I know what the Thing is asshole, so take 2 seconds and think of a more interesting way to do that scene don’t just completely re-hash it for no reason. Is that so much to ask for, really? I mean FUCK. Come on. The Thing isn’t just bad, it’s belittling, it’s insulting and it’s baffling and I hate it.