In the time leading up to the release of “The Thing,” my biggest fear was that the movie would abandon all of the tense isolation and fear that the John Carpenter version was remembered for, and instead just deliver a glossy CGI monster-fest. Reading all the advance reviews, you’d think that my fears would have been confirmed. Truth is they were, but they also weren’t at the same time.

Anyone who’s seen the Capenter’s take has an idea of what they’re getting themselves into with this prequel/remake. Scientists uncover an alien specimen capable of shape-shifting into any organism it wants to. When your setting for a film is Antarctica and you have no idea who is human and who isn’t, obviously suspense and tension build.

And that’s why the movie wasn’t a loss for me. Despite the abundance of CGI in the movie, especially during the last act, I was still on edge just wondering what was going to happen next.

That being said, all I wanted to do after I finished watching the prequel was go home and re-watch the Carpenter version. The truth is that there’s nothing in this updated film that really compares to the it, and with a film as loved and revered as the 1982 version of “The Thing,” all you’re going to do is place the two movies side by side.

If you’ve never seen Carpenter’s take, then this one will probably have you biting your nails the whole time.
My favorite scene in Carpenter’s version involved a blood test to try to prove who’s human and who’s not. I remember sitting there, the first time, completely on edge. When a similar scene started in the new one, it just didn’t feel as impactful. Perhaps that’s just the jaded 25-year-old in me though.

“The Thing” isn’t a terrible film at all; it’s just not very memorable. In the future, no one will look through your movie collection and say, “Oh man, you’ve got the 2011 ‘The Thing?’” It simply won’t happen.