The Thing (1982) is regarded by many as one of the best sci-fi horror movies ever made. The groundbreaking practical effects, the ominous score, the constantly building tension, the great performances, and Kurt Russell at his best all combined to deliver a truly remarkable film. The Thing has developed a significant following since its release and has been classified as a cult classic.
The New Vision Of The Thing
So, naturally a remake was inevitable. The Thing (2011) was a prequel to the classic story and it is about what you would expect from a classic horror movie reimagined in the current climate. Viewers wont see amazing practical effects like those in the groundbreaking original; that approach was disregarded in favor of all-too-obvious CGI. This decision is even more unforgivable after realizing the amount of quality work that was replaced by lackluster CGI effects.
But the cinematic sin of disregarding quality practical effects (and all the work that went into creating them) in favor of lifeless CGI is not the most heinous affront to fans of the original. The Thing was the story of a group of guys who were stranded in the middle of nowhere while dealing with a stealthy predator that was intent on infecting them one by one. In our modern PC-whipped, gender equality-worshipping era, the original all-male cast was naturally replaced with a more “inclusive” variation.
The Thing Has A New Adversary For A New Era
Gender equality cultists, who demand that everyone must stay within the boundaries of the pretend world they have constructed, can add this movie to their rapidly expanding list of acceptable sources of entertainment. Not content with only forcing some female characters into the story, the filmmakers made a clear statement by creating a “strong, capable, empowered woman” for the lead role.
A major aspect of the original was the serious tone the movie maintained throughout. Even though an alien life form was gruesomely attacking and imitating humans, it was no silly monster movie. There was a deliberate attempt to cultivate a level of believability regarding the behavior of the characters involved in a desperate situation. This serious tone is nonexistent in the prequel due to the behavior of the heroine and her underlings.
Similar to Mad Max, the plot of The Thing revolves around characters who desperately try to survive in an environment which has deteriorated to something akin to every man for himself, survival of the fittest, anarchy etc. In these situations, only the strongest, most resolute, courageous, imposing man would find themselves in a leadership role. The creators of The Thing remake expect audiences to completely buy into the idea that, in this certain type of dire situation, an entire group of men would follow a woman—without an army of white knights by her side—who any one of them could overpower at any moment.
As with any number of these “strong, empowered female characters” in movies and increasingly in video games, the lengths the creators go to in making her live up to the feminist ideal force the audience to witness laughable levels of absurdity. The heroine in The Thing starts her journey by being selected to study some mysterious find in Antarctica. After the filmmakers make clear that she is so brilliant as to be possibly regarded as the foremost authority in her field, she spends a good amount of the movie warning the men that they should rethink their ill-advised actions.
But after they disregard her warnings and cause the shit to hit the fan, who do you think takes charge? Unlike the leader (played brilliantly by Kurt Russell) in the original, who was chosen by his fellow men and had to constantly deal with challenges to his authority and threats of outright mutiny, she basically just assumes command because the men apparently realize she is the most qualified to take on the leadership role.
She then spends the rest of the movie escaping the Thing (multiple times) without the help of others while it manages to catch and kill many of the men, maintaining control over her terrified male subordinates, using her superior intellect to try to keep everyone alive, and keeping a level head as men lose their shit all around her. As with Zero Dark Thirty, the audience gets the distinct impression that without the impressive female on the scene, things would have been a whole lot worse: Osama Bin Laden would still be on the loose and the Thing would have made quick work of the men at the outpost.
Any seriousness the original movie had is gone, all remnants immediately lost at the sight of the petite, pretty starlet valiantly charging through the hallways with her flamethrower at the ready while men flee for their lives and cower in terror all around her.
Though you would never hear any of this from the vast majority of commenters. Most reviews praised this shining symbol of gender equality as an unquestionably positive aspect of this movie, whether they actually believed it or not. A lot of them had nothing positive to say about this remake other than the strong female lead, of course. To point out the absurdity or question the believability of portraying a strong courageous woman leading trembling men in this manner would be to admit you are a bad person: in essence, it would amount to pleading guilty to a thought crime.
Most reviewers subserviently praised the portrayal of the “strong woman,” as if this type of laughably powerful, comically masculine female character is actually rare in movies, never considering to point out the absurdity which destroys any seriousness that the creators strive so hard to maintain.
The Potential For A Great Modern Game
In the time between the original masterpiece and the remake/prequel abomination, a game based on the series was released in 2002. I never had the pleasure of playing, it but it did receive generally favorable reviews at the time. A sequel was planned, but the studio closed down before it could become a reality.
The abysmal track record of video games based on movies aside, The Thing could make for a great modern game if done right. The original movie gained a cult following over the years and with the recent reemergence of true survival horror games as a popular category, the time is right. A talented studio that could attain the intellectual property rights would have a prime opportunity to make a truly memorable game.
It would be an amazing plot for a tense, suspenseful singleplayer story mode, and just think of the possibilities for great multiplayer gameplay: Each round, one player could randomly be chosen to be The Thing, who would then attempt to infect other players. Those players who are infected would then try to infect more. These infected imitations would appear completely normal to other players (although it might be a good idea to give certain players the ability to distinguish between infected and normal), while The Thing(s) could be able to always tell friend from foe.
After a while, the uncertainty and paranoia would reach a fever pitch as players do not know who is and who isn’t The Thing. With adequate balancing, that’s a recipe for pure PvP gold, my friends.
If this game were to be made I would have two requests: one, do not go down the path the original game did and use the tired plot of the evil government/corporation conducting secret nefarious tests so as to “turn it into a weapon.” Second and most important, do not pander to SJWs. Do not inject any of their favorite propaganda bits, and for the love of gaming, leave out the “strong woman” nonsense.
The original movie was a masterpiece and the prequel/remake was over-reliant on CGI and a PC-infested abomination. Done right, a modern game could also be a masterpiece befitting of its namesake. So, the only question left is: who wants to take up the challenge?
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