Transcript for Roger's Office: The Thing
There is more than one way to review the new version of "The Thing," based on a famous science fiction story about an alien visitor named "Who Goes There?" This is Bill Kurtis speaking for Roger Ebert. The first way is simply to report on what it is: A high-tech thriller about scientists stranded inside an Antarctic research station with a creature from a space ship who was frozen for many years but has now come back to life.
The monster can take the shape of any of the humans, so they can never be sure who is friend or enemy.
On that level, "The Thing" is a skillful popcorn movie. On another level, you could compare it to the 1982 version directed by John Carpenter. Both films use a great many special effects. But Carpenter also paid great attention to his characters, and to the building of fear within the darkened spaces of the isolated station.
Or, you could go back to 1951 and the very first version of this story, directed by Howard Hawks. This version had much more simple and basic special effects, but was much scarier because he used silence and shadows to create his suspense.
I think the new version is crushed by the weight of its special effects. We see too much of the alien. He seems to be a collection of off the counter parts from the Used Alien Store. There are times when the human characters almost seem like a prop. My recommendation: See one of the two earlier versions. Thumbs down to this one. [IGNATIY]
Thanks, Roger. Now, I actually disagree with Roger on this one. Though, I think this movie pails in comparison to the John Carpenter version, it stands on it’s own as a pretty solid horror movie.