Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

REVIEWS: Simon Reames reviews 'The Thing' (2011)

The Thing (2011) – Review

When I first heard a new version of The Thing was being considered I began to despair as this was right in the middle of Hollywood’s current trend to remake everything they can as badly as possible (A Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday The 13th to name a recent few). Then rumours began to circulate that this was actually going to be a prequel centred on what occurred at the Norwegian Base and be pretty faithful to the original. My interest went up a notch but I still had my doubts. After waiting over a year, The Thing (2011) has been released, and all I can say is it has been worth the wait and my sincerest apologies for the doubts!

The plot centres around a group of scientists at a Norwegian Antarctic Base who stumble across a monumental discovery: an extraterrestrial spacecraft buried in the ice with its owner lying frozen not too far away. After bringing in a specialist graduate student to help with the discovery, the team manage to retrieve the extraterrestrial from the ice and take it back to their base for analysis. Little do they know that the alien organism is still very much alive and able to mimic the things it comes into contact with….

The original 1982 John Carpenter film by the same name (although a box office flop) is now a cult classic and so any film associated with this original masterpiece would have to equal or better it. Thankfully, director Mattijs van Heijningen Jr did just that!

Being a prequel, the film is limited on where it can go and what it can do without breaking any of the rules that are established in the original but this is done to perfection. The set pieces are stunning (and tie in with the original perfectly) and the acting is just as good. The plot allows you to see things go from bad to worse without losing any momentum, and the atmosphere created is just as good as in the original with a few jumpy moments thrown in as well. From the start of the film, you get the feeling that the director and screenwriters are fans of the original. They have done everything they can to tie this film in with the original to create a seamless link between the two (everything from the bloodied axe in the wall to the how the two-faced Thing came about is created) to such an extent that the end credits are the start of the original.

My only (minor) negative about the film is the use of CGI instead of animatronics. Although this does add another dimension to the film, allowing the Thing to be seen in all its gruesome glory, the original was so special to me because you could see there was something there for the characters to interact with rather than them responding to something that will be digitally added later on. However, this is only a minor point and doesn’t detract from the film in any way.

For those who have seen the original, you know how this film is going to end right from the start and this may seem like a negative point, but it’s the journey of how you get to the start of the original that makes this film as good as the 1982 film. This is definitely a film to see on the big screen and one to add to your collection when it is released next year.

Watch the trailer here!


Luciano N. Ribeiro said...

Well, nice review and this movie sounds great, can't wait for it to show up in my country

BUT PLEASE! Why do you and other critics have to constantly refer to Carpenter's film version as "the original"? This story is by John Campbell, I think we should all consider its faithfulness to Campbell's masterpiece, not Carpenter's

Simon Reames said...

To Luciano, thanks for reading the review!

As for the original comment, no offence intended when I refur to John Carpenter's film as the original. Campbell published his short story in 1928 (I think) so I know that he beat Carpenter but a good few years, but what I mean is the original film as both movies has the same title. Thinking about it now, I know I could have made that clearer. Oops.

I hope this clears up the original meaning and you get to see the film soon (it's definately worth it!!!)