ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Thing (1982): A Movie Review

Updated on June 8, 2019
wingedcentaur profile image

The first step is to know what you do not know. The second step is to ask the right questions. I reserve the right to lean on my ignorance.

Source

Once again, I will define what I mean by the term Essential Cinema.

I consider a film, made decades ago, to be "essential cinema," if I can imagine it being released today, with similar artistic and dramatic impact.

What elements of a film do I use to make such a determination?

Well, last time I reviewed a Steve McQueen police procedural from the 1960s called "Bullitt." In short, my finding was that it is not "essential cinema" because of the fact that I and my generation grew up watching police procedurals on series television.

This film simply does not represent anything that I have not seen hundreds of times "before" on television.

The judgment about whether or not a film is essential cinema is subjective and dependent upon what I call a "generational perspective."

I consider the Gary Cooper film, High Noon (1952) to be essential cinema. I base this on two things:

  • A) I consider it a great film, driven by a great performance by one of cinema's greatest actors.
  • B) This judgment comes from my own subjective generational perspective. I did not grow up watching Westerns on series television. High Noon is not something I've seen over and over again, hundreds of times "before."

However, to someone who did grow up watching Westerns on series television, High Noon may not appear to be as "essential" as I do.

However, whether or not a film's essential elements have been incorporated into subsequent television serials --- is not the only test of whether or not I consider a film to be "essential cinema."

How does the film's thesis or important themes hold up?

In other words, are the ideas the film presents as fresh today as they were yesterday? In still other words, does the film still "speak" to us? Are the truths about life, it explorers, the same truths we are confronted with today?

Put another way: Has there been any improvement or upgrade in the ideas presented in said film? Or were the truths presented in the film of such an eternal nature that any qualitative upgrade, of those ideas, an extremely precarious proposition?

Why don't I just get to the point?

The Thing (1982) is essentially Alien (1979) on Earth, mixed with Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).

Now, once again, I shan't bother with a plot summary. The reason for this is, once again, as always, that such can be obtained anywhere.

The important thing (no pun intended) to remember is this:

  • This film is about infiltration.
  • Something familiar plays host to (either willingly or unwillingly) of something foreign or alien (again, no pun intended).
  • Interestingly, the defeat of "the thing" required total sacrifice. In the end, every single human being involved, had to die so that the creature could not survive, and then go forth to infiltrate and take over --- essentially "body snatch" the rest of the human and even non-human species native to this planet.
  • It is, perhaps, the case that the most heartbreakingly terrifying monsters are those that insidiously attack us from within. What is so heartbreaking about this is that such infiltration has a way of bringing the sturdiness of human identity itself, into question.
  • Does that make sense?

Now then, having said all that, the question is this: Is The Thing (1982) what I call "essential cinema"?

The short answer, for me, is no.

This is because the ideas we've been talking about, above, have been taken to a more sophisticated level. Three films I can think of, off the top of my head, which do this are: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (2012); Devil (2010); and Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014).

That "more sophisticated level" is this: Monsters do not so much prey on innocent, vulnerable humans, or human innocence or human vulnerability --- as they do on human evil.

Monsters prey on human evil. They are drawn to it like buzzards to rotting flesh. Furthermore, it is the ability to hide behind the infrastructures of historical human evil, such as slavery in Lincoln's time, that enhances the power of the monsters.

For example, those of you who saw Captain America: Winter Soldier, will recall that the evil organization of Hydra, had come to the conclusion that in order to truly take power, "the people" would have to ultimately give it to them.

How did they go about that?

Why, by simply infiltrating the heart of the legendary Good Guy organization known as SHIELD.

Question: What was it about the Good Guy organization of SHIELD that it did not notice the infiltration and growth from within, of the evil parasite known as Hydra?

There is so much more I could say about this subject. But I will not, for Mercy's sake.

Final Verdict: John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) is an excellent film, on a technical, storytelling level. It is straightforward, direct, and workmanlike. It does not play around. The film gets to where it needs to get to and does what it needs to do.

There is nothing wrong with this film. The acting performances are all, as far as I can tell, on point.

This film is a fine viewing on a rainy Saturday afternoon, when you have nothing better to do.

Thank you for reading!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)