The folks over at CCA have gotten a look at the script for the prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 version of The Thing - itself a remake of a 1951 sci-fi/horror flick of the same name - and the consensus is both good and bad.
For those not up to date on the development of the latest cinematic incarnation of The Thing, this new film will reveal what happened to the crew at the Norwegian research lab in Antarctica - the group whose remains were found by R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell) and his fellow American scientists at the beginning of the John Carpenter-directed film.
Naturally, the cast this time around is primarily composed of - appropriately - Norwegian actors with American actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) playing one of the leads. Relative newcomer Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. will direct the film, with writers Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and Eric Heisserer (the A Nightmare On Elm Street remake) credited for the screenplay.
The script reportedly contains specific details about how the dead Norwegian workers shown in Carpenter's Thing ended up in their grim state - not to mention objects that help establish the 1980s setting for the story (the likes of which includes VHS tapes and Rubik's Cubes :) ). Its plot is also apparently very similar to that of the aborted Syfy Channel mini-series, Return of the Thing, from a few years back (for those interested, here's a detailed review of that project).
While the general tone of the early script review for The Thing prequel can best be described as cautiously optimistic, the writer did raise the following concern:
"Alas, if there’s a major flaw in Moore’s story it’s that it doesn’t add anything new. We’ve seen this same story played out in the Carpenter movie; we watch the characters discover what the threat is they’re up against and then paranoia sets in amongst them as they freak out about who’s not really human anymore. The Thing’s goals aren’t any different in the prequel than the first film, which are to get out of isolation and absorb everything on the planet. There’s flamethrowers, sticks of dynamite and a snowstorm to cut off the base from the rest of the world. Ironically, in every way Moore’s Thing movie is perfect imitation of its originator when it’s really a franchise reboot that comes looking and sounding like it’s a prequel. By not taking any risky story chances Universal is getting a second shot at making a Thing movie that could make its money back and conceivably allow for a third movie."
The prequel is also titled The Thing, a trait that will surely add to some moviegoer's confusion as to why this project is not just a remake/reboot of the 1982 film, when its themes and narrative are so similar - especially for those less familiar with the specific details about the characters and story in the John Carpenter version.
You can check out the full review of The Thing prequel over at CCA.
What do you think? Does the prequel to The Thing sound intriguing? Or do you suspect it'll just be a cheap knock-off of the revered 1982 film?
The Thing prequel is set to be released in the U.S. sometime in 2011.