|Category||Horror||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono|
|Year Released||1982||Commentary Tracks||Yes, 1 - John Carpenter (Director) & Kurt Russell (Actor)|
|Running Time||104:06 minutes||Other Extras||Menu Audio
Featurette-John Carpenter's The Thing: Terror Takes Shape (80:34)
Gallery-Production Background Archive
Photo Gallery-Cast Production Photographs
Gallery-Production Art & Storyboards
Cast & Crew Biographies
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||No||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0, 96Kb/s)
Polish (Dolby Digital 1.0, 96Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 1.0, 96Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, mildly|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Set in Antarctica in 1982, the story revolves around the discovery of an alien deeply buried in the Antarctic ice. This alien assimilates other species and can change form, mimicking these other species. This alien is nasty.
Kurt Russell (MacReady) is a scientist at a US scientific outpost in the Antarctic who is forced to do battle with the shape-shifting alien, who could be any one of the twelve man crew of the outpost, including himself.
This is a very good horror movie, with lots of genuine scares, and an incredibly tense atmosphere. The special effects are phenomenal, and made all the more remarkable when you realize that CGI effects had not yet become a reality in Hollywood at the time this movie was made. The model work, matte artistry, and other physical special effects work is second-to-none.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. The great majority of the image problems with this disc can be blamed fairly and squarely on this fact. Indeed, the image problems exhibited by this disc are reminiscent of the image problems of both Backdraft and Titanic, both of which were also hampered by not being 16x9 enhanced.
In a nutshell, the transfer lacked resolution. Fine background and middle ground details were simply lost because of the limited vertical resolution of the transfer. This is particularly problematic and evident in the opening helicopter sequences, where the helicopter loses resolution dramatically whenever it is distant to the camera.
Shadow detail is poor, with little to no detail discernible in the darker scenes. I suspect that this is more a source issue with the type of film stocks available in 1982 rather than a specific transfer problem. Fortunately, low level noise was not a problem in the darker scenes.
The colours were passably rendered, but certainly showed the vintage of the movie in their overall colour balance.
There were no MPEG artefacts seen.
Film to video artefacts consisted of a great deal of moderate aliasing. Whilst not as bad as the aliasing in Backdraft, the aliasing in this transfer was actually considerably more distracting since it was present in almost every shot - many of the shots in this movie are slow-moving pans which shimmer and shake just enough to be very annoying. It comes as a relief when the camera stops moving and the aliasing stops momentarily. As with the lack of resolution in this transfer, the blame for this excessive artefacting can be laid fairly and squarely on the lack of 16x9 enhancement of this transfer. In addition to the excessive aliasing, there was considerable image wobble early on in the transfer, particularly during the opening credits. Whilst this may be inherent in the movie, it is quite distracting nonetheless.
Film artefacts were far more prevalent than they should have been, even taking into consideration the age of the movie. They became quite distracting at times.
This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed during Chapter 33, at 88:19. The layer change is acceptably placed and only slightly intrusive.
Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand.
There were no audio sync problems with this disc.
The music was sonorous and well-suited to the on-screen action without being particularly outstanding.
The surround channels had limited use only. Dialogue was placed in the center speaker, and music was generally placed in the left and right channels. Occasionally, some of the music would wrap around slightly to the surround channels, and some special effects made their way into the surround channels, but this was rare. Some special effects were panned across the front soundstage, but these effects tended to be extreme and more distracting than anything else. Fundamentally, this is a mono mix with some stereo elements.
The .1 channel had little use.
Much as I regret saying it, the Region 4 version of this disc is a dud and should be avoided. The Region 1 version of this disc is the version of choice because of the far better video quality it exhibits. As an extra bonus, you get even more extras on the Region 1 version.
The video quality is extremely disappointing, and verges on the completely unacceptable.
The audio quality is acceptable.
The extras are excellent.
© Michael Demtschyna
12th November 1999
|DVD||Pioneer DV-525, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 4:3 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer|
|Speakers||Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer|