Remakes are probably way too easy to make these days. When motion pictures have been on a virtual production line since 1914’s Birth of a Nation, there’s an interminable amount of features you could consider. Making a prequel, however, gives someone the opportunity to both take a few liberties but also satiate fanboys’ desires at the same time. When the film you’re leading up to is John Carpenter’s The Thing, you’ve got yourself quite a heavy load.
Having just rewatched the original merely days ago on Blu-ray, I couldn’t help but walk into director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s prequel with a long checklist of events that need to happen. To say that he, along with screenwriter Eric Heisserer (Final Destination 5, 2010’s Nightmare on Elm Street), succeeded is a bit of an understatement. There may be a few things that lend themselves to the territory of remake as well, but through and through, their Thing still finds plenty of new ways to cover old ground. Let’s also not forget that even Carpenter’s take was a remake as well. All three based on John W. Campbell Jr.’s short story, “Who Goes There?”
After the appropriately 1980s version of the Universal logo raises some serious goosebumps, and the 1982-version of font begins, expectations were immediately raised. It’s 1982 all over again as we’re swept away to the icy tundra of Antarctica. A group of Norwegian researchers, including Olav (Jan Gunnar Røise), are following a signal and it’s not long before they fall into a tight cavern uncovering a spacecraft that’s later mentioned to be 100,000 years old.
Turns out, there’s also a specimen on site so Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) recruits Columbia University paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to help him uncover the find. Now Kate is headed north along with Sander’s assistant Adam Goodman (Eric Christian Olsen), who explains to Kate that in the three years he’s worked with him he’s never seen Sander this excited. Along with a group of diggers and scientists, they all land at Thule Station with the news that a big storm’s headed their way. After the specimen is excavated, it’s only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose.