The Source for Parents

Movie Reviews
by Jonathan McKee and Todd Pearage

Thing, The (1/31/2012)

Rated R for strong creature violence and gore, disturbing images, and language.

Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Eric Christian Olsen and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

Directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. (first film)

Jonathan's Rating: Rental

Todd's Rating: Only if Free

Love it, or hate it. It just depends if this kind of movie is your thing.

Antarctica: an extraordinary continent of awesome beauty. It is also home to an isolated outpost where a discovery full of scientific possibility becomes a mission of survival when a creature is unearthed by a crew of international scientists. In the thriller The Thing, paranoia spreads among a group of researchers as they encounter something inhuman that has the ability to turn itself into an exact replica of any living being.

Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has traveled to the desolate region for the expedition of her lifetime. Joining a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across a ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago. But it is about to wake up. When a simple experiment frees the thing from its frozen prison, Kate must join the crew’s pilot, Carter (Joel Edgerton), to keep it from killing them off one at a time. And in this vast, intense land, a parasite that can mimic anything it touches will pit human against human as it tries to survive and flourish. The Thing serves as a prelude to John Carpenter’s classic 1982 film of the same name.

TODD’S WORD: The Thing could have been something, but it turned out to be a nothing.

JONATHAN’S WORD: And I can’t disagree more. But I’m a fan of the original 1982 John Carpenter film starring Kurt Russell… and that’s one of the perks that this new 2011 film really offered—its connection to the 1982 The Thing.

TODD’S WORD: Honestly, I don’t even remember that one.

JONATHAN’S WORD: I guess I don’t know what it’s like to watch this film without having seen the original.

You see, that was one of the brilliant moves of this film. It wasn’t a sequel or a remake. It was a prequel. The 1982 film began right where this 2011 film ended. It was amazingly executed down to every detail. So for you, when you saw a guy swing the axe at the wall and then decide to leave it there… it meant nothing. But for fans of the original, we remember the Americans discovering that axe in the wall.

Reflecting on it, I still think I’d watch the 1982 film first, then this 2011 prequel. It made it more exciting.

TODD’S WORD: That does sound pretty cool.

JONATHAN’S WORD: You should go back and rent the 1982. If you enjoy scary/suspenseful films at all, you’ll enjoy it.

TODD’S WORD: I guess I just didn’t find the film that compelling. The performances weren’t really noteworthy. I mean, despite a lack of star power; the actors did an okay job, but just okay. There was no performance that really stood out – they were average and forgettable at best.

JONATHAN’S WORD: I disagree. Don’t mistake “no star power” for bad acting. Yes, none of these actors are followed by the E-network’s paparazzi, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t act. I think the leads were really strong.

TODD’S WORD: I didn’t even care for the plot. The story in a nutshell revolves around an alien that crashes on Antarctica and freezes in a block of ice. The scientists dig it out; it thaws out and then kills everyone. Oh, did you want a spoiler alert? Come on. I knew that much about the movie from the previews and believe me, as far as the story goes, that’s all there is.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Wow. I don’t even know where to begin disagreeing with you.

First, let me insert my own spoiler alert. Everyone doesn’t die!

Second, the plot was one of the strongest draws to this film. Don’t get caught up in alien escaping and killing people. The brilliance of this story is the fact that the alien takes the form of a human. Once the group discovers this, no one trusts anyone. The paranoia and conflict that follows is more intense than any alien.

Frankly… I probably would have given this film a THEATRE WORTHY score if it weren’t for some of the alien vessel scenes. I think those scenes were a little weak.

This film was amazing. I can’t believe you didn’t like it. Wait… you are the real Todd… aren’t you?

TODD’S WORD: Yeah, it’s the real me, and the film was a real disappointment. Mediocre at best. And I’ll actually agree with you that the special effects weren’t quite there. They were so over-the-top that it actually took away from the film, instead of adding to it.

It’s worth seeing, but “Only If It’s Free.”

JONATHAN’S WORD: Forget Todd, if you like scary films or suspense, then go out and rent the 1982 The Thing, then rent the 2011 and watch them in that order. You’ll find that they were both worth the rent, if not even theatre worthy.

There is no sex or nudity in this one, but the violence/gore is off the chart. Profanity is also a true R-rating with about 15 F-words and plenty of others (some of the obscenities are seen as subtitles and spoken in Norwegian.)

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

Q: What’s the message/theme of this movie?

A: This movie features an alien that is capable of mimicking anything it wants by 'assimilating' the host's structure. Therefore, killing the host in a very graphic manner or taking the appearance of a deformed, gory body.

In short, this film is about something that takes over our body.

Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?
A: Sadly, we often let influences reign control of our bodies.

What are some of the bad influences that people let control them?

God doesn’t want us to conform to the influences of the world, but instead, let Him transform us.

Read Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Paul tells us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. What do you think that means?

What might that look like in your life?

Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?
A: Paul continues by saying, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

How might God want to renew people’s minds?

What are some things we can do this week to renew our minds?

Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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