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The Thing

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 16-04-2010


Horror-meister John Carpenter (Halloween, Escape from New York) teams Kurt Russell’s outstanding performance with incredible visuals to build this chilling version of the classic The Thing. In the winter of 1982, a twelve-man research team at a remote Antarctic research station discovers an alien buried in the snow for over 100,000 years. Soon unfrozen, the form-changing alien wreaks havoc, creates terror and becomes one of them…. More >>

The Thing

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Though The Thing shocked with its new level of gore when it came out in 1982, popular taste has pretty well caught up to the gore factor. Now fans will be able to see it all in Blu-ray high-def.

The Thing takes its title from the influential 1951 sci-fi classic The Thing from Another World, a film it otherwise resembles only in similarity of location and a few plot points. (If you’re interested in a less scary, more campy, funnier black-and-white version, with women in it, check out the older one.) The location is an isolated antarctic research station, cut off from radio contact with the outside world, where Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David and several other men unknowingly take in an alien creature that can adopt the form of members of the crew as it destroys them. They quickly find themselves in a desperate and paranoia-inducing situation, each not knowing who among the others might be an alien waiting to kill him. Internal organs are spread into view in various creative ways, while violence and tension build.

Director John Carpenter specializes in gritty, intense, violent suspense, and he doesn’t disappoint here. Though it didn’t do very well when it came out, maybe because it was up against the much cheerier alien E.T., it has become a favorite since.

The movie has already been released in HD at the same 1080p resolution the Blu-ray will have, so the transfer should be of similar quality. The HD transfer is very good, with strong color and good detail and sharpness, definitely improved over the standard DVD. The sound will be English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, with French DTS 5.1. There will be English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles. *Update* 19 September: The early reviews verify that the transfer is high quality, as expected, with excellent picture and good sound (not much surround in a movie this old).

*Update* Universal has said in its promotional material that this release will include the extra material from the current DVD, but according to the early reviews, that isn’t true. First, here are the special features announced in the main press release:

— audio commentary with star Kurt Russell and director John Carpenter

— U Control Picture in Picture

— U Control tutorial

— BD-Live

In addition, most of the 84-minute making-of documentary from the older DVD has been incorporated into the Picture in Picture (PIP) feature, meaning that you watch it in pieces in a window along with the movie. The rest of the special features from the older DVD aren’t included. Just as a reminder of what those old features are, missing here:

— outtakes

— deleted stop-motion animation

— work-in-progress visual effects footage

— behind-the-scenes location footage

— behind-the-scenes photos

— storyboard and conceptual art

— annotated production archive

— original theatrical trailer

Again, those are old features that Universal has *not* included on the Blu-ray.

I’m not into gore, but the suspense is well done here, and Kurt Russell is in his element. Fine video transfer and good commentary make for a good package, but the missing features from the older DVD mean you may want to keep the old one too.
Rating: 5 / 5

The movie itself is 5 stars no question, but this review is for this particular release of it.

I love John Carpenters “The Thing”, but Universal Studios should be ashamed of themselves for releasing a Blu Ray version of the film with almost ALL of the extras REMOVED.


It’s a shame Universal chose to do this, since this Blu Ray’s picture quality and sound are both great.

Buy the Uk Blu Ray release instead. It includes the many extras not found in this US version.

Does Universal Studios value their UK customers more than their US customers for some reason?
Rating: 1 / 5

John Carpenter’s “The Thing” is an atmospheric, claustrophobic thriller that manages to be both a tribute to the original film by Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby as well as a scary often surprising thriller on its own. Universal has ported over most of the extras from the original DVD for this set (although it is missing the deleted scenes as well as some of the visual effects outtakes)the only problem that exists with the presentation is that the extras are available to be viewed ONLY via U Control and, as a result, those with 1.0 Blu-ray players WILL NOT be able to access the pip extras. Those who have Playstation 3’s or 1.1 players will be able to access these special features.

“The Thing” looks extremely good in its Blu-ray debut with a sharper, clearer picture. Audio sounds extremely good as well.

For those who haven’t seen the film the title creature infiltrates a remote science station in the Arctic. Cut off from the rest of the world when a blizzard hits, the crew of the science station discovers that the creature acts almost like a virus killing the original person and becoming a perfect replica of that person down to memories.

Featuring strong performances from Kurt Russell, Keith David, Richard Dysart, Wilford Brimley and Donald Moffat “The Thing” is much more graphic than the film that Hawks made in the 50’s but just as powerful and scary.

My only complaint with the Blu-ray is that Universal didn’t port over ALL the extras on the original DVD so fans will probably want to keep their DVDs as well. The U Control feature allows you to watch the original documentary in chunks related to sequences throughout the film. That’s good but I do wish that Universal had designed this to shift all the music, effects and dialog into one set of surround speakers while the dialog and music from the documentary would come from the other with both given equal prominence.

Rating: 4 / 5

‘The Thing’ was released on SD a few years back in a collector’s edition that had an excellent documentary called I believe ‘horror takes shape’ that was full to brimming with stories and anecdotes from director John Carpenter, makeup wizard Rob Bottin, the legendary matte painting artist Albert Whitlock, Screenwriter Bill Lancaster, Kurt Russel, and many others.

Rather than include the documentary in it’s entirety, it has been chopped up into picture-in-picture bits that you can activate at certain scenes. I don’t mind having picture in picture, but given the massive storage overhead of blu-ray, why leave ANYTHING out? ESPECIALLY when the film is a cult favorite?

Aside from that, I’m happy to say that this is the best this film has EVER looked. You can roll the dice when you purchase older releases but this film cleaned up great, if there was grain going on, I didn’t notice it because I was paying attention to how deep the distance was in the outdoor scenes, how etched the characters faces were with worry or beads of sweat, how detailed the makeup effects were.. the added definition really helps sell the idea of being in the Antarctic.

Any fan of this film shouldn’t be without this one. It’s a treat.
Rating: 4 / 5

I just purchased the Blu-Ray version of The Thing. I have previosly owned this film on laserdisc and DVD. I found the Blu-Ray version to have very sharp color and contrast and to have very clean video. The sound has improved from the DVD version. I compared it to my DVD version played on my PlayStation 3 and the Blu-Ray is definitely an improvement over the DVD. If you are looking for extras, there aren’t any.
Rating: 5 / 5

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