Thing, The (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 9-Feb-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Deleted Scenes-Deleted/Extended Scenes
Featurette-The Thing Evolves
Featurette-Fire and Ice
Audio Commentary-Director Matthijs van Heijningen and producer Eric Newman
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 102:55
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Joel Edgerton
Ulrich Thomsen
Eric Christian Olsen
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Paul Braunstein
Trond Espen Seim
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Marco Beltrami


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (3254Kb/s)
French dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
German dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Spanish dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Portuguese dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Spanish
Portuguese
Chinese
Dutch
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Action during first part of closing credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

"In a place where there is nothing, they found something"

 

     If you've seen John Carpenter's 1982 classic The Thing, then you'll have a fair idea of what to expect in this 2011 prequel. This story begins a few days before the 1982 version, and in doing so answers a number of questions that were not covered by Carpenter's original. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Kate Lloyd, an American paleontologist who is flown to the Norwegian Antarctic base after scientists discover what seems to be an alien structure within the ice. Kate and her colleague Adam Finch (Eric Christian Olsen) travel with Norwegian scientists to the structure, and find that it seems to be a spaceship containing an organism encased in ice. They decide to remove the organism and ship it back to the camp for investigation. Chief Norwegian scientist, Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) decides to take a tissue sample from the enclosed object using a exploratory drill. Kate argues with Sander that this is not a good idea until they take precautionary measures. Sander however angrily overrides her and removes a sample.

    Meanwhile in the camp the rest of the scientific team become aware that they might have discovered an alien life form. As they party into the evening the ice block containing the organism progressively melts and, in an ominous sign, one of the camp husky dogs begins barking and scratching frantically in its cage. Those familiar with the 1982 movie will recognise that this is not a good sign. When the thing wakes up and breaks free of its icy coffin the scientists realise that they are dealing with a deadly life form which seeks their destruction, and has the ability to mimic anything it touches. With everyone not already dead becoming a suspect host to the parasite, it falls on Kate and helicopter pilot Sam Carter (Joel Edgerton) to fight the thing before it consumes everyone and escapes into the wilderness.

    As a stand-alone movie The Thing is quite good entertainment with plenty of shocks and a story which, although formulaic, is nonetheless quite interesting. When compared however to the 1982 classic, this modern prequel pales as a poor imitation. What John Carpenter's version lacked in technical advancements was more than made up for with the intelligent use of music and atmosphere to build tension so that when the thing finally appears it is truly horrific. The 2011 thing however bursts into the screen with lack of subtlety that plays most of its cards too early. Perhaps we've become a bit jaded by modern CGI wizardry, because even the creature itself does not have the same impact as the original thing. As in Jaws most of the fear and tension is built on the unseen threat, so that when the menace materialises some of that tension is lost. Leaving aside the numerous plot holes including why Kate is the only intelligent scientist on the base, and a supporting cast only useful as gormless creature fodder, The Thing manages to entertain for most of its modest play time. In the acting stakes Mary Elizabeth Winstead is quite solid as the glamorous scientist/heroine however Joel Edgerton is no Kurt Russell. The final sequences superimposed with the initial closing credits will, however, bring back fond memories for lovers of Carpenter's original classic.

  

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Transfer Quality

Video

      This Blu-ray is presented in the aspect of 2.40:1 which is slightly wider than the 2.35:1 cinematic aspect. The codec used is VC-1 at 1080p. The first thing you'll notice is the striking scenery with chilly whites and icy blues which are truly beautiful to look at. When the mayhem starts the splashes of blood and licking fire contrast nicely against the predominantly icy palette. Close-ups reveal a sharp definition and accurate skin tones. The blacks are deep and ominous with detail unhampered during dimly lit scenes. The only criticism would be some apparent noise reduction which detracts slightly from sharpness. Other than that this transfer is problem free.

    This is a dual layer 50gb disc but I could not see the layer change using my equipment.


    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

        The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track included as default is excellent with extensive use of surrounds and subwoofer. The surrounds in particular are always in play with constant howling wind, or humming equipment, or banging corridors. When the creature is clattering through the metal walls and ceiling you could be forgiven for thinking it was there in the room with you. The LFE track is nothing if not exciting with room shaking explosions, weighty dynamics, and thundering creature effects. The dialogue is easy to understand and synchronised with the video at all times. The accompanying backing music, although not up to the standards of the 1982 original, is nevertheless appropriate and assists the on-screen action.

    This audio track is reference quality.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu featured looping audio with background scenes from the movie.

Audio Commentary

    Director Matthijs van Heijningen and producer Eric Newman with a better than average commentary which doesn't focus on the screen action but instead offers anecdotes, filming issues, and technical details. Well worth a listen.

Deleted/Extended Scenes (9:15)

    HD 2.40:1 video aspect with 2.0 Dolby Digital audio at 192 Kb/s.
Seven scenes - "2 Phone Calls," "It's True," "That's Not Karl," "Colin," "Two-Heads," "Start the Helicopter Now" and "Come in, Over!"

The Thing Evolves (14:00)

    HD 1.78:1 video aspect with 2.0 Dolby Digital audio at 256 Kb/s. Behind the scenes with cast and crew paying a lot of homage to the original Carpenter film.

Fire & Ice (4:47)

    HD 1.78:1 video aspect with 2.0 Dolby Digital audio at 256 Kb/s. Visual effects for the ice and fire scenes.

U-Control Picture-in-Picture

    PiP material during 15 of the disc's 20 chapters including production info and behind-the-scenes footage. Quite a worthy effort if you feel the need to revisit the film.

BD-Live

    Downloadable trailers and bonus content.

 

 

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This Blu-ray appears to be identical to the region 2 UK version and the US version. Also available is a two disc combo with Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copy; a two Blu-ray "collectors" edition which includes both the 2011 and 1982 movies. There is also a Blu-ray with digital copy combo.

Summary

    The Thing is a reasonable horror movie which unfortunately does not match up to the 1982 original. If you are expecting to bask in reflective nostalgia with this disc then you'll be disappointed. If you've never seen Carpenter's version then you'll probably be pretty satisfied. Nevertheless even this Carpenter fan got plenty of fun out of The Thing 2011, even though it's not destined to be a classic.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is outstanding.

    Extras are good but meagre for Blu-ray.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mike B (read my bio)
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910 and Panasonic BD-35, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
Amplificationdenon AVR-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp
SpeakersB&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub

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