Gradually degenerating into ignorance and complacency.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Thing - the

Call me old fashioned or just old, but I like reading the book -- novel or short story before watching the movie.  An old adage is "the book was better".  In  many cases I will declare this as true.  Nicholas Sparks fans will attest that translations of his stories to film have taken large steps away from his original works.  I am not a Sparks fan nor a fan of Stephanie Meyer's girl-slanted 'romancing the dead' novels.

I read the book on which, Fight Club, was based and on this rare exception the movie captivated my attention better and was less brutal than the book.  I can write that the movie version of Misery was more fluid than the book, though Kathy Bates' character was kinder than her novel counter-part.

The Thing was a fine little movie. I read a review of the remake which noted that many reviews assailed the movie with many glaring weaknesses -- grotesque special effects not among them.  To those who have not seen the John Carpenter's version (music director, esquire) -- did many movies and the music as well.  Like a fond childhood memory, his version sticks in my mind as the "real version".  It is notable that he borrowed clips from the original 60's stab at the film.

If you wonder why there was a lone woman in the 2011 remake -- the director for the black-and-white added her for character development -- she was not present in the short story.  I hope John had the wherewithal to read the 45 minute story.

The remake had bits and pieces of the short story, the 50's special, and John's work.

I think making the story-absent-only-second-woman the protagonist dealing the final death blow to the known and very visible thing and finally a maybe, probable thing was dumb.

The clever detail in the short story was either a fantastic understanding of human arrogance or a quick way around not having to redress the ship, was that the scientists miscalculated and melted it into nothingness.  This wasn't shown in any version and in the final movie version, the ship remained intact, though powerless.

Good changes (the book is not always better), was that the thing was not for certain contained.  The book concluded that the alien shapeshifters were wiped out completing leaving a fair handful of scientists waiting for regular pickup and delivery with the oncoming of spring.

The remake of Thing beat "dark" into the ground, save the game-like alien creeping around.  The blowtorch, never explained in any version was mentioned quite plainly in the book as ice cleaners for the choper props.  The large compound also didn't make much sense in the remake with a warehouse about the size of a WalMart.  I am thinking with a 10-day window to build in lovely Antarctica, such a large and amazingly well-stocked warehouse lacked congruity with the bleak-sense conveyed otherwise in the film.

John's version played on the isolation -- even in the only sunny day shown, windy, bitter, inhospitable, unsuitable for living existence.

Still, I suggest reading the short story with amazing scientific fact, conjecture, and fiction packed into a 30-45 minute read.

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