The anticipation and final outcome of this prequel have been split right down the middle, was it a good idea in the first place?, should it have been a sequel with Russell? or perhaps completely remade, opinions differ hugely.
For me this has not been as bad as I expected in all honesty, I have seen much worse in recent years with the influx of reboots and remakes and this prequel isn't all that bad.
Yes the big wigs have been rather crafty, they wanted a sequel but decided not to out of fear I think haha, same for remake, why remake a cult? instead they turned to a prequel which basically gave them the oppertunity to make another which was pretty much more of the same but with an excuse.
So yes its more of the same and it all looks the same seeing as its set right before the original, OK no problem. The look is good, sets are good, costume is good, it all looks really real, cold and the cast are actually quite decent, wisely using unknowns for the majority. I also liked the kind of 'Alien' feel to the build up with Winstead clearly having a 'Ripley' type character of sorts.
Problem one of course is the effects, personally I think its a mixed bag, its all cgi of course but some of it looks pretty good whilst other bits look poor. I think the effects department (including Woodruff Jr.) did a good job in trying to create the creature around what was hinted at in brief moments of the original whilst also trying to keep it in tone with the creature we have seen already and at the same time making it different. I think the 'Juliette-thing' looked really good simply as a huge razor teethed gaping maw on legs with her head dangling round the back and there are some nice moments such as 'Griggs' starting to transform. Unfortunately the rest does seem rather unoriginal and dull simply utilizing the age old tentacles notion that doesn't really fit with the original and with later designs that looked like a 'Sarlacc' with legs or something from the 'Resident Evil' franchise.
One thing that did disappoint me was the lack of info on the creature, I was really hoping for some insight on its background, where it may have come from, why?, how and why did it crash?, is there an entire race?, why so hostile?, assimilate for food?, what does its original form look like? were there more inside the ship seeing as its so huge?, how did they create such technology originally and how do they pilot the ship in their form? etc...So many questions but you get nothing which is a shame really, maybe some don't wish to know but I'm just real curious :)
The whole film does seem a little pointless I admit as we can all guess what happened before the creature makes it into Carpenters film, but I do think they addressed the continuity quite well despite one or two issues and I loved how they made this prequel flow perfectly into the old original.
Not really scary or that dark and forboding but its not too far off, not sure what is suppose to have happened to 'Kate' in the end and the whole dog ending also made me think 'why not just run off in that form right from the start?' hehe.
My final thoughts....I quite liked it, better than most are saying methinks. My advice is simply watch this then the original Carpenter film straight afterwards and this film actually does seem allot better than you might have previously thought, they do connect together nicely.