Once upon a time, in the 1980's, John Carpenter made a movie called The Thing. It was actually a remake of a movie made in the 50's or 60's with a huge hulking creature played by James Arness (yeah, from Gunsmoke). In Carpenter's version, Kurt Russel played a cynical chopper pilot in the Antarctic. The team of scientists encounters an alien that can consume, and then replicate any living being... at least for a while. It is a creepy, witty, suspenseful movie, done well enough to hold up, even over the nigh onto 30 years its been around. Ron & I watched and enjoyed it just last week.
Then, we spotted the update in Target this week, and because it was cheap, and we had just watched the Carpenter version, we picked it up. I think we were expecting - hoping? - to revile it. Well, we didn't. It was quite watchable, and not entirely a remake. The newer version shares the title of Carpenter's movie, and the creature, but this is the story of the Norwegian team that encountered it before the Americans did. While this movie lacks the clever, quotable dialogue that Carpenter's version has (I love Wilford Brimley's line as he is ranting while destroying the computer equipment, "...they don't want to be dogs, they want to be us!"). The special effects are - of course - modern and all that, but really, Carpenter's hold up pretty well. This movie isn't a remake, it's a prequel. An alternate, if you will. They figure out a way to tell who may or may not be an alien that is different than the Americans. They still tote some flame throwers, but they seem more reluctant to use them through much of the movie. There are parallels, and it is entertaining to find them. Some of the parallels are in the characters, and others are in the plot twists, but this version definitely pay homage to Carpenter's version. The new version is worth a watch, if you like The Thing, and I'm the first one to be surprised to say it.