This prequel to the classic 1980s John Carpenter film (which itself was a remake of a 1950s thriller) was a tough film for me to watch. It had big shoes to fill and high hurdles to overcome if they wanted my love. My affection for the Kurt Russell version of this tale knows no boundary. I am happy to report that this version can stand proudly on it's own.
In any tale about aliens and isolated scientific installations you really need to sell the audience on the Isolation, the darkness and the cold. All of these create a perfect setting for fear and paranoia to develop.
Add to this setting some pretty cutting edge CGI monster effects that are both terrifying and an homage to make-up master Rick Baker (the person who created the effects from the memorable 80s film) and you got a fine October pre-Halloween monster movie.
I would love to have taken a girl to a movie like this in High School. It's a perfect date movie if that makes any sense. There are many times when she will want to grab your big strong manly arms, fellas. Make sure you protect her from those totally make believe monsters in front of her. And pass on the 3D and spend the money on smuggling in penny candy from 7-11.
Mary Elizabeth Whitehead is quite good as the young woman brought in to help collect the specimen that has been found frozen in the ice of Antarctica. The other actors are mainly unknowns so you never are quite sure who to trust and who not to trust when all the bad things start happening. You know Mary Elizabeth will live to the end but who will be left alive with her? I enjoyed following and thinking I had everything figured out. Of course I was wrong and that made it more fun.
There is much more interaction with the alien creature in ways that are not CGI terrifying and that sets this version of the time worn story apart. It becomes part mystery and game of 'cat and mouse' with a creature that is as smart if not smarter than the main character is. Conversations between one character who is human with another only pretending to be human are fascinating. All part of a strong script that propels the story non-stop from the start.
The simple plot device for determining who is themselves and who is an alien copy of themselves is both elegant and instantly confirmable. You will slap your head that you and no one else ever thought of it before. This film is filled with many such moments.
For example, for once the humans are chasing after the alien and not the other way around. Once the heroine realizes that this 'thing' cannot be allowed to leave the base alive (a crucial plot point used in the 80s version) it becomes a fox hunt - survival becomes second on the list of priorities to destroying 'the thing'.
I really got into this one and you all knows how much I love me a good old fashion cold weather monster movie. This one warmed my heart by chilling me to the bone.
Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness
I forever stand vigilant to protect this planet from the myriad of forces that are always against us. Be it the octopus, zombies, aliens or the robots my team of human agents, and our feline allies, circle the globe in a never ending struggle for human freedom.
I learn all I can on every subject that interests me. I especially enjoy ancient history because in the past there are valuable lessons to be found. Also, if I ever get my time machine to work properly, it would be good to know a bit about possible destinations and what to expect when I get there.
I greatly appreciate beautiful design. Be it manufactured or found naturally I am fascinated by the process of invention. I am attracted to the unique, the strange, the haunted. I like to share what I find on this blog.
And not let us forget the 'Cephalopod Menace' who, if allowed to, would wrap their tentacles around all that is good and pure in this life and crush it until it remained no more. They are creatures of pure spite. Hate is all they know. Death is all they do. They are our most ruthless and determined enemy.
So we fight. Selena has the celebrity contacts, the cat is ruthless and without pity, Roosevelt's ghost has the experience and I do the wetwork.
Fighting for the future of the planet doesn't have to be a chore, however. We can take the time to appreciate all that is cool in this world even as we cut the octopus into bite sized chunks.
This is the reason there has always been and must forever be, a Cave of Cool. Be sure to wipe your feet before you enter.