By the looks of its first trailer and subsequent commercials, The Thing (opening in theaters tomorrow) seems like nothing more than an obvious remake of director John Carpenter’s sci-fi/horror masterpiece of the same title. The original, starring a badass Kurt Russell as one of several men fighting against an alien presence that emulates human hosts, was itself a loose remake of the 1951 classic The Thing From Another World, though Carpenter’s film honors the original novella, John W. Campbell Jr.’s Who Goes There? more closely than it does Howard Hawks’ '51 flick. But all of that is to say that the proposition of yet another Thing rehash is enough to shatter the hearts of any monster movie purist.
Thankfully, though, the new version, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton (Warrior), is in fact a prequel, portraying the events that led up to Carpenter’s opening shot of the dog fleeing from the Antarctic research facility as the Norwegian helicopter’s sniper fires bullets at the pooch. And, surprisingly, it’s one of Hollywood’s better re-visitation ideas in a long time, a slick way of introducing unaware modern-day audiences to Carpenter’s gem and, possibly, giving the science fiction genre a new fan-pleaser.
As alien lovers will see this weekend, however, The Thing ignores the 1982 film’s impeccable use of practical effects and spoils the fun with distracting CGI—it’s not an awful movie, but it’s unquestionably a missed opportunity. On the positive side, though, it did inspire us to think about other before-the-original cinematic possibilities that we’d gladly buy tickets for, a.k.a. The 10 Movie Prequels We Want To See.
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Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)