The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 103 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Egerton, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ulrich Thomsen, Eric Christian Olsen
Directed by: Matthijs Van Heijningen
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Written by: Eric Heisserer
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 31, 2012
"It's not human. Yet"
When paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) travels to an isolated outpost in Antarctica for the expedition of a lifetime, she joins an international team that unearths a remarkable discovery. Their elation quickly turns to fear as they realize that their experiment has freed a mysterious being from its frozen prison. Paranoia spreads like an epidemic as a creature that can mimic anything it touches will pit human against human as it tries to survive and flourish in this spine-tingling thriller.
I am a big fan of John Carpenter's classic 1982 remake/re-imaging of 1951's The Thing (from another world). The film's perfectly drawn characters fed by the escalating paranoia, fear and desolation surrounding their discovery of an alien entity capable of absorbing and identically replicating its hosts/victims is both suspenseful and engrossing. I love the (now dated but still very effective) execution of the story's sci-fi horror/action, excellent pacing, and spot on direction all of which make for a truly memorable thriller that is among my personal favorites. When I heard of this remake I was curious but didn't hold out much hope that it would outshine Carpenter's version. As a fan of the genre I went into the review with an open mind looking forward to seeing what it had to offer. This version isn't meant to be a remake but actually serves as a prelude to the events that occur in the 1982 film. Set in 1982, it begins with paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who is offered a cryptically described opportunity which involved traveling to a desolate Antarctic region for the expedition of lifetime. Once there she joins a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice. Nearby they discover an organism that seems to have died after exiting the crashed ship eons ago. After a simple experiment they find that the organism is not only alive but has freed itself and begun attacking members of the expedition. Kate and the remaining crew members must join to keep it from killing them off one at a time. And in this vast, intense land, a parasite that can mimic anything it touches will pit human against human as it tries to survive and flourish.
As prelude to the 1982 film The Thing seems pretty unnecessary as the original stands extremely well on its own. Conceptually speaking I like the idea of seeing what happened at the Norwegian camp referenced in the early parts of the Carpenter's story (be sure to keep watching as the end credits begin to roll). Unfortunately the characters and performances here aren't as compelling and the horror/action feels rehashed. I also don't think the special effects are nearly as disturbing as the original's. Having said that I think that on its own this a perfectly watchable thriller, that for me as a fan of the classic '82 film, has reminiscent value along with a respectable script and a decent lead in Mary Elizabeth Winstead. I also appreciated the care that went into making this a viable companion to Carpenter's film. If you haven't seen John Carpenter's The Thing I highly recommend it. If you have and liked it this film will be of interest and is certainly worth checking out.
The rating is for strong creature violence and gore, disturbing images and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Thing comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios HE featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.3 Mbps.
This film won't blow you away with a deep, vibrant color palette or glossy, razor sharp high definition images. It offers fair delineation, stable sharpness and crisp definition. Colors are limited to various shades of gray, blue, brown and green. Splashes of crimson are sprinkled throughout. This keeps it looking a little drab but not out of the ordinary based upon the subject matter. Depth during long rage camera views during the brightly lit exterior shots is superb while the limited perspective offered by the dim, gloomy settings featured in the film appear naturally innate. Blacks are black in most cases and detail in low light and shadowy backgrounds is quite good. I didn't detect any overt signs of video related anomalies or artifacts.
This is a solid DTS-HD Master Audio encoding that renders this soundtrack well. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. Low frequency effects aren't foundation shaking but the subwoofer is kept busy as it works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the low level bass impact as dictated by the film's elements. Dynamic range is good which lends subtle distinction to low level sounds and gravity to broader ones. For a film such as this I was a bit surprised at how front oriented the audio mix was however the entire system kicks in during the more active sequences.
- Feature commentary with director Matthijs Van Heijningen
- (HD) 7 deleted/extended scenes
- (HD) The Thing evolves - 14 minute featurette
- (HD) Fire and Ice - 4 minute FX featurette
- U-Control - Universal's exclusive PiP in movie feature that lets viewers access interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and production facts featuring producers Marc Abrams and Eric Newman.
- My Scenes bookmark feature
- D-Box Motion Code enabled
- pocket BLU
- Bonus DVD of The Thing
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
The Thing is a prelude (and a bit of an homage) to John Carpenter's 1982 sci-fi horror classic of the same name. I appreciated the artistic intention and reminiscent value contained in the narrative but as a fan of the original found this effort to pale by comparison. True genre fans probably won't hold it in high regard but when you're in the mood for a little popcorn style guts/gore it isn't bad. The Thing makes its way to Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring good high definition audio/video and middling but serviceable bonus supplements that includes Blu-ray exclusives. If you haven't seen John Carpenter's The Thing I highly recommend it. If you have and liked it this film will be of interest and is certainly worth checking out.
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