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Movie Review

The Thing

MPAA Rating: R for strong creature violence and gore, disturbing images, and language.

Review coming from Contributor: Ellen Blalock

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Sci-Fi Thriller Horror Mystery
1 hr. 43 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
October 14, 2011 (wide—2,900+ theaters)
DVD: January 31, 2012
Copyright, Universal Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Aliens (extraterrestrials)

What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer

Are we alone in the universe? Answer

Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer

questions and answers about the origin of life



paranoia spreading like an epidemic

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Featuring: Joel EdgertonSam Carter
Mary Elizabeth Winstead … Kate Lloyd
Eric Christian Olsen … Adam Goodman
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje … Derek Jameson
Ulrich Thomsen … Dr. Sander Halvorson
Kim Bubbs … Juliette
more »
Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Producer: Morgan Creek Productions
Strike Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Universal Pictures

“It could be any of us”

Back we go to 1982 Antarctica, where the original “Thing” movie filled us with visions of an extraterrestrial alien that very graphically invaded human beings, taking over their bodies, yet retaining their human form. This prequel to the 1982 version backs us up a bit in time to give a little more story as to how the creature was first let loose to begin its rampage.

The action begins when a group of Norwegian outpost researchers traveling in a snow bus fall through some ice, discovering a spaceship and an alien specimen frozen in ice. Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen—“The Celebration,” “Adam’s Apples,” “Hitman”) believes he and his team has discovered a significant find, and he promptly sends for and enlists the help of Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead—“Final Destination 3” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” “Live Free or Die Hard”) a specialist in vertebrae paleontology. Kate agrees to travel to remote Antarctica to assist in the “find” that Dr. Halvorson states is 100,000 years old.

When the frozen ice block with enclosed alien is brought back to the outpost for examination, Dr. Halvorson insists, against Kate’s hesitations, to drill into the ice slowly and carefully to get a piece of the alien. The scene is suspensefully played out with close-ups of the drill and worried faces getting us ready for the creature to pop out at any minute, the perfect moment for covering our faces and peeking through our fingers. However, nothing happens until evening falls and everyone is in the “rec hall” socializing and drinking. “The Thing” in the ice block begins to melt and, of course, gets free to start its bloody rampage and battle of alien-against-humans story we are so familiar with.

As the outpost members figure out what is happening with the alien, Kate checks out the specimen removed from the alien and, under a microscope, determines that its cells take over and assimilate other cells. She then realizes that anyone might be the alien in human form and devises a method for testing and determining who is human and who is not. Does this sound familiar, ala the 1982 version? There is much distrust as Kate tests everyone and becomes the standout leader of the group, at this point heading up and directing those she trusts. Dr. Halvorson plays the scientist we all know and recognize, wanting only to salvage this “valuable” find at all costs, even human loss.

One interesting point is that, for those who have seen the 1982 version, scenes will be recognized where Kurt Russell and his team had gone to the already burned and destroyed Norwegian outpost for clues about the creature.

For instance, there is a dead twisted body of part alien and 2 parts human with 2 heads they discover and wonder about. Thus, during this 2011 version, we have an idea of what is coming, with all shown as to how this happened, with excruciating detail.

Offensive areas

The movie is rated “R” and rightly so for its tremendously violent content. There are many scenes of bodies being “absorbed” by the alien, bodies being impaled by the alien’s tentacles, heads splitting apart, blood spurting, you name it, it’s got it. In one scene, after the creature has been stopped halfway through absorbing one of the humans by burning it, there is a detailed autopsy scene with close-ups shown of the human’s terrified face and all the gory elements imaginable.

Bad language also abounds. The “f” word is used often, as well as sh*t, h*ll, d*mn, g*d-d*mn, fricking, screw you, and SOB. Jesus, Jesus Christ and God is used, for God’s sake once, and “Oh my God” a few times, mainly in times of stress.

There is absolutely no sexual content that I caught or perceived. Even though there are only 2 women at the outpost with quite a number of men, there is nothing untoward that happens.

Heavy drinking is shown during the “rec hall” scene, but there was more drinking and drug use during the 1982 version.

Final thoughts

To me, this movie had a lot of elements of other movies I have previously seen and did not give me anything to come away with. Being a fan of the first 2 “Alien” movies, the female lead Sigourney Weaver was believable, to me, because she acted strongly and obtained my confidence in her ability to stand up to the alien. Even though Kate had the worried expressions down in this movie, she just didn’t give me that feeling of strength needed to outlast the alien. None of the men were memorable and not a lot of character depth explored to help us cheer for anyone.

In trying to find a spiritual aspect to this film, there again nothing stands out, other than the “Oh, my God” uttered in horror. I guess one might say that, in the end, whether we believe or not, it’s hard not to cry out to Someone higher than ourselves to help us:

“Our help is in the name of the LORD”. –Psalm 124:8

There is nothing new, thought-provoking, or special about this movie, other than if you are a fan of the 1982 version—then the comparisons and prequel storyline might interest you.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:


Neutral—I didn’t find the movie that offensive—since when is alien sci-fi violence anything other than gore for the movie’s gore sake? A day in a slaughterhouse—now that would be real gore, or maybe a movie about Serb/Bosnian torture and killing or yeah, the movie “Pulp Fiction”—but sci-fi? Isn’t that why folks go see these movies, especially one based as a prequel to the Carpenter’s classic?

I did find the swearing offensive—I was hoping for less; and there was a really awful joke told with subtitles about mothers, grandmothers, and intercourse. Winstead did best as Kate Lloyd, a scientist taking charge as the male leadership increasingly showed arrogance against any kind of quarantine protocol, as they focused on the glory of being the first to discover an alien. That was perhaps the one element that touches on our human condition and that innate tendency where pride is our undoing.

The Proverb, “Pride goeth before destruction,” never seemed more apropos than with this mad mayhem of twisted cellular alien annihilation in big screen celluloid (or was that digital?).

If you can handle the gore (which I found more funny than shocking) and a distinct lack of remarkable acting chops and dialogue, then wait for the DVD and run it through something like a TV Guardian Foul Language Filter.

I ain’t offended by anything; it’s SOMETHING I’m offended by. Better yet, watch the original 1951 black and white, “The Thing From Another World” which was the movie to “blame” for all these alien movies we Christians seem to love/hate.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Doug, age 53 (Canada)
Negative—Since no one posted a review, probably because no one wants to admit seeing this film, I will give it a go. You will see nothing in my review that disagrees with the original reviewer. This film has no redeeming value at all. If you can go see this movie and say it’s not a serious film but rather an obvious parody of some kind, or if you say it’s no worse than other films which you say are even worse, well, you have been sucked in completely. You’ve traded your spiritual sensitivity for being unable to discern what edifies the spirit and what tears it down. Your desire to be entertained has taken over your good judgment, and when you need it in the future, it will not be there to help find the way between evil and good when it comes to entertainment.

In the 11 years I have been posting on this site, I cannot remember any film as violent and twisted as this was. When I saw the 1982 version, I was still about 12 years away from becoming a Christian. I can say both this version and the previous one are about on the same level. The only thing I could come away from the movie with was the fact that unrepentant sin is sort of like the sickening, repulsive distortion of life portrayed in this film.

I have to emphasize that I found this movie disgusting in the extreme and had a hard time not leaving, but I wanted to be able to warn others. I will admit at some times I closed my eyes to avoid some of the gore. If you are a believer, if you know Philippians 4:8—“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” then try and measure these 2 reviews against your desire to be entertained for 1 hr and 43 min.

When I became a Christian in 1994, I put away all my violent movies in faith that is was the right thing to do. I tested the result 1 year later, watching a few minutes of one of them and was rewarded with the renewed sensitivity to violence I had regained. Those movies all went in the trash.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Bob Maclean, age 62 (USA)

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