I suppose there’s not much point diving thoroughly into the details of the plot; if you caught John Carpenter’s 1982 remake of the same title, you know what you’re in store for. The story kicks off at the Norwegian base camp from which the madness launched in Carpenter’s rendition, and thankfully, scribe Eric Heisserer wastes no time getting down to buness; we’re given an up close and personal look at the frozen spacecraft, and within 15 minutes our “surviving” passenger is pulled from the ice. The quick introduction really works quite well, and establishes a pace that runs a bit more frenetic than Carpenter’s take.
Just as you may expect, viewers are treated to some brief character development, however Heisserer only dials in on a handful of gnificant figures as the troupe meanders the camp. Unfortunately, the spotlight is really only cast upon a very, very select few players, leaving an assortment of the ensemble (there are plenty of great actors in tow, might i add) left to melt (literally) into the background. Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Braxton Carter (Joel Edgerton) and Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) carry the burden of performance, as all eyes are fixed to these three players. Surpringly, it’s Kate who (in effect) plays the “MacReady” role, while Carter serves as the masculine back-up. As for the good Doc… well, he’s the reckless figure eager to see that the thawed beast be claimed by he and the crew, regardless of how much hell is unleashed in the process.
I admire director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. for the attention to detail invested (you’re going to note some things in this picture that are present in carpenters 29 year old telling, but I’ll spare spoilers and details, and leave it to you Thing freaks to catch the nods), and the breakneck speed at which the film unravels, but I must admit, I was a tad disappointed with the lack of suspense the picture boasts. Don’t minterpret now, there’s some tenon that builds amongst the group, but the extreme paranoia John once brought to the screen is delined in favor of fast shocks and in-your-face action. It was a risky maneuver, altering the general mood of the film, and honestly I can’t say for sure that it did or didn’t pay off; that’s a concluon that must be reached individually, and I’m still so torn I can’t express (or grasp for that matter) my full feelings after a ngle viewing.
Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. did a fine job of not botching a fantastic story, but the question still lingers in my mind: just how successful was he in building upon the mythos, and how can one rightfully compare this current film to Carpenter’s iconic 1982 offering, while being fair in judgment? I suppose another viewing may help me to answer that question.
As it stands, I can say that the film is superior to a lot of the remakes to surface lately (Fright Night, Conan, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark) and I can certainly assure you I’ll catch this once more on the big screen.
At this point I’d have to rate the film…