The film, directed by Matthijs Van Heijningen from a script by Eric Heisserer (itself a rewrite of a script by Ronald D Moore), supposedly focuses on the events that occur directly before the opening scenes of John Carpenter’s 1982 effort, in the Norwegian base that is destroyed by the Thing before it has a go at the Americans.
However, the descriptions of three main characters all list them as being American, and while the rumours of RJ MacReady’s brother being in the film aren’t true, there may as well just be RJ MacReady instead of ‘Sam Carter’.
[KATE LLOYD] In her late 20s to early 30s, pretty, bright-eyed, intelligent, she’s a graduate of Columbia and a Ph.D. candidate in paleontology (the study of prehistoric life). On the recommendation of her friend Adam Goodman, Kate is tapped for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by Dr. Sander Halvorson to join his research team in Antarctica, where an extraordinary discovery has been made. Upon arrival, Kate soon finds herself at odds with Halvorson about how best to proceed with the discovery — an alien spaceship with a mysterious and sinister frozen THING found nearby — specifically whether to transfer the specimen undisturbed to a more appropriate facility for analysis, or, per Halvorson’s wishes, to drill into the specimen’s ice encasement for a definitive tissue sample.
[DR. SANDER HALVORSON] In his late 30s to early 50s, austere, scholarly and imperious, he’s a microbiologist from NYU who leads a science research team to Antarctica to help his old friend Edvard interpret and analyze an extraordinary discovery made beneath the ice. Sander, a brilliant scientist and a master of self-promotion, knows that his involvement in such an historic discovery will bring him fame and fortune. Blinded by ambition, he refuses to abandon the “project” even as the bodies pile up around him.
[SAM CARTER] In his early 30s, rugged, handsome, blue-collar, he’s a helicopter pilot with a private charter service that transports personnel and supplies from McMurdo Station to remote research sites across Antarctica. Carter is a mercenary. He flies when he wants, where he wants, and he flies for one reason: money. But his resourcefulness, experience and get-it-done mentality make him indispensable.
It’s not the fact that there is a remake/update to The Thing coming that has us concerned – the film itself is a remake of the sci-fi classic The Thing From Another World (1951), itself an adaptation of the short story ‘Who Goes There’ by John W Campbell. What is troubling here is the apparent lack of creative spark with these cardboard, cliched characters, and given that we already know what happens at the end of this proposed prequel, such a vacancy is a hugely troubling concern for the overall quality of the finished product.