|The Thing |
Actors: Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, David Clennon, Keith David, Richard Dysart
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Director John Carpenter and special makeup effects master Rob Bottin teamed up for this 1982 remake of the 1951 science fiction classic The Thing from Another World, and the result is a mixed blessing. It's got moments of ... more »
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K. K. (GAMER)
Reviewed on 10/5/2019...
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Classic John Carpenter must watch horror. Kurt Russell and others at their best! A unique plotline that horror fans will love!
Carpenter's masterpiece of paranoia
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 10/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John Carpenter's "The Thing" wasn't so much a remake as a reinterpretation of John Campbell's classic short story. Closer in spirit to Campbell's conception of the Thing, Carpenter's film was both critically lauded because of the suspenseful storytelling and critically attacked for the excessive gore. While the gore is at times quite excessive it fits in with the audience expectations after films like "Dawn of the Dead" (the origianl 1979 movie)and other films of the era.
What's amazing is how audiences are drawn into the story despite the fact that there are no characters we really, really like. We admire many of these men and their resolve but we don't like them. They're the product of their harsh environment and isolation. Mac (Kurt Rusell)is the helicopter pilot for an Antarctic science station. Their dull routine is interrupted by a team of seemingly crazy Norwegians pursuing a dog. The Norwegians are killed and the Americans are left without any idea as to what might have driven the Norwegians over the edge.
Blair (Wilford Brimley)pours over the Norwegian journal brought back by Mac and Cooper (Richard Dysart)and discovers that the Norewegian team discovered an alien spacecraft with an occupant that was very much alive. More importantly, it can change into any shape and take over anybody. Mac, Childs (Keith David) and the rest of the crew must destroy the alien before it can spread to the rest of the civilized world.
Previously released as a "Special Edition" in 1998, "The Thing" has been remastered for this edition.The anamorphic widescreen presentation is, I believe, the first time this has been transferred in the anamorphic format. The previous widescreen edition looked exceptionally good and comparisons between the two transfers reveal minimal differences except for the fact that the new edition is presented in anamorphic (i.e. with a higher resolution) picture. There are some minor digital blemishes that occasionally crop up as on the previous edition (which makes me suspect the previous master was digitally remastered vs. creating a new master). The 5.1 Surround Sound mix has tremendous presence and is exceptionally good with crystal clear dialogue. Ennio Morricone's marvelous music sounds particularly rich and detailed. There's no isolated music track which is a pity.
The special features are exactly the same as the 1998 edition of the movie. "Terror Takes Shape" is an 80 minute documentary on the movie that includes both new interviews and behind-the-scenes footage from the shoot. Carpenter, Kurt Russell, the other members of the cast,the optical effects and make up crew and screenwriter Bill Lancaster on all phases from conception to post-production. It's an excellent and informative documentary divided into the various phases of production.
We also see outtakes including the deleted stop-motion animation that Phil Tibbert did for the movie. Carpenter cut almost all of it out in favor of the physical effects because they didn't quite mesh as well as they could have. There's substanial behind-the-scenes footage, photos and the work-in-progress visual effects for the film. Essentially, this indepth approach makes "The Thing" as close to a film school as you'll likely find on DVD.
We also get the original theatrical trailer, storyboards and conception art. The "Visual Effects-in-Progress" featurette t gives you a clue as to how the visuals and effects changed during shooting. There's also an annotated production background archive with an essay on the production illustrated with excerpts from the screenplay with photos and production drawings. There's also a brief essay on the casting in text format along with production photos from the film.
The commentary track is the original one from the 1998 release featuring John Carpenter and Kurt Russell. As with the "Escape from New York" commentary track, "The Thing" commentary track is exceptional with interesting and amusing stories related to the production of the movie as well as behind-the-scenes tidbits that fans will find valuable. Both clearly enjoy each other's company more twenty years after their first collaboration.
The packaging has been redesigned. While it is pretty cool, it's not going to be really durable. The exterior plastic cover like that for "Stir of Echoes" looks really cool and wraps around the carbord and plastic inner case. The inner case has photos and images from the movie. The inside, curiously, looks like it was designed for a chapter sheet or booklet but there's nothing inside.
It was the right time.
Steven W. Hill | Chicago, IL United States | 01/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe someone said so in the DVD's documentary: 1982 was the right time for this movie. Nothing like it would be made today, or even a few years after its release. Even if a thematically similar film were made, it's almost a guarantee that it would use digital effects. This movie boasts the most incredible prosthetic effects ever seen, and I know in my gut that if it were made with computer graphics it wouldn't be nearly as good.Okay, enough about that. I probably don't need to describe the movie itself, at least not from a plot perspective. Let me briefly cover technique: this movie is built for suspense. From the marvelous low-key Ennio Morricone score to the gold-standard cinematography of Dean Cundey, from the scene construction (I love the scene where the dog enters a crew room, and the scene fades out after we see the man's shadow turning - no sting, no shock, just a fade out) to the realistic paranoia and fear building in the eyes of the men. I admit that paranoia movies are a personal favorite genre, but there are very few films that I can say made me sweat from suspense, and this is one of them.One of the film's greatest strengths is the ensemble cast - mostly familiar faces, but not TOO familiar, so you feel a kinship and empathy but you're not saying "oh, that's Richard Masur" the same way you would if it were Bruce Willis, for example. Sure, there's Kurt Russell, but he plays his role so perfectly that he just fits right in with everyone else. Then of course there's the ending, something John Carpenter excels at (the ending of his ESCAPE FROM L.A. made the whole movie for me) especially when in the dystopian mode... so here again we can make up our own stories over "what happened next."The DVD presentation is packed with so many goodies it's hard to know where to start. An excellent documentary, enjoyable commentary, isolated score (selectable during the documentary), even some cut scenes...and so much more. The picture is fantastic, with such wonderful smooth blue hues so prevalent in the movie. For many years laserdisc owners were tantalised by rumours of a special edition with tons of extras, and when we finally got it (on both laserdisc and DVD) we weren't disappointed at all, and it was well worth the years of anticipation.The movie is absolutely not for everyone, as its level of gore is quite high. Many people say they're distracted too much by the gore, but I seem to immerse myself in the film's atmosphere and it's never taken me out of the experience. An engrossing and extremely well-crafted film, and the same goes for this special edition presentation."
John Carpenter's Masterpiece
Lisa Krause | Irvine, CA USA | 03/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Long after its debut, THE THING is finally getting the respect it deserves. I'm glad John Carpenter is young enough to be around to see it. This film was unfairly shunned when it came out because E.T. came out at the same time. Nobody wanted to see E.T. killing people, hence no one went to see THE THING.Along with THE HIDDEN, this is one of the greatest horror/action movies to come out of the 80s. It should be on any serious horror fan's top ten list (it's number two on mine) and it is perhaps Carpenter's greatest film to date. Yes, I think it is even better than HALLOWEEN. This movie sticks closer to the original story ("Who Goes There") that both this and the older movie THE THING FROM OUTER SPACE were based on. The latter was more of a monster movie, whereas Carpenter's version is more of a psychological action film with a great dollop of paranoia. Kurt Russell and John Carpenter work so well together, and Russell does a great job here (along with the underrated Keith David). I hope they make more films together. Wilford Brimley, better known as the Quaker Oats man, is terrific as well. Actually the whole cast puts in amazing performances. On the DVD commentary J.C. says they all were really into their parts, and it shows. The "blood test" scene is a great example of how well they all worked together.The special effects in this movie still look good. I honestly don't think they look dated at all. I imagine that if they did this today we would be inflicted with some dumb-looking CGI monster that would ruin the film and seem silly in a few years' time.If you like this one, get the DVD. It has tons of extras and is worth the money just for the commentary by Russell and Carpenter. 10/10"