Mr. Cranky hates remakes, but Mr. Cranky hates it even more when cult films get recast as big-budget flicks that strip any vestige of what might have been cool out of the original and then set it on fire in front of you so you can watch your childhood memories burn alongside the $15 you paid to get into the theatre. This is exactly what happened when they decided to shit all over John Carpenter's grave and put out a new version of the horror classic "The Thing."
Ok, so Carpenter isn't dead yet, but I'm sure if he attended a screening of the new "The Thing" he would immediately slit his own wrists and bury them deep in the corn popper outside in the lobby. I mean, that's what I almost did and I had no part in bringing his original masterpiece to life in 1982.
No one liked Carpenter's version of "The Thing" when it originally came out because everyone was ooing and ahhing over fucking "E.T." which offered a kinder, gentler kind of alien that didn't fucking rip your face off, assume your identity and kill all of your friends. No one likes the remake of "The Thing" because it sucks harder than Bea Arthur taking a bong hit at Jimmy Carter's ranch.
Where to start? How about we ignore that joke about a president no one remembers and instead focus on the fact that genius director Matthijs van Heijningen decided to punish the world for the fact that it took him until the 4th grade to learn his name by removing any and all traces of the mystery from the concept of "The Thing," making it a straight-ahead, by-the-numbers horror flick. Imagine if they remade "Jaws" and instead of being a stealthy killer the shark was instead actually driving the boat and on-camera for 90 percent of the film having a few beers with Quint and crew. That's the kind of ham-fisted storytelling audiences are treated to in "The Thing."
The entire situation is made even worse by the fact that the movie has no characters. Oh, there are humans populating the Antarctic research station where what I am hesitant to refer to as a "story" unfolds, but they have all of the depth of the teenage girl you took to senior prom when you were 23 years old. They say that one day CGI will be able to replace human actors in almost every motion picture, and after watching "The Thing" it's clear that whenever that happens, it won't be soon enough. The fucking soulless, demonic Tom Hanks golem from "The Polar Express" had more of a back-story than the husks devoured by the alien in "The Thing," which really made it hard for me to care which cast member was going to be eviscerated next.
I will say this: "The Thing" is probably going to do hella well in Japan, simply based on the number of tentacle-related penetrations per second throughout the film's most intense sequences. I suppose American pervs will also enjoy "The Thing," because there's nothing sexier than watching Norwegians die while you standby and do nothing. Well, I guess masturbating isn't "nothing."
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