The Thing from Another World Reviews
The captain was great. The initial reveal of the creature was actually pretty intense. The confrontation with it in the room seemed like an extraordinarily dangerous scene to film. Yet it looked good.
The final confrontation with it was legitimately worrisome.
The ending of the emotional, liberal, alien-sympathizer meeting his blood-feeding friend weaponless in a final act of diplomacy & understanding was cathartic. Though it would've been infinitely more dramatic if he ended up killed by his would-be friend he was playing hero to.
And if he was to survive, he should've at least enunciated some moral realization. Maybe he's being given some credit for at least a 'brave' attempt at making peace (though it seems the murders of colleagues might've given him some hint as to the viability of that conviction). Maybe it's assumed that he will due to his obvious understanding of a need for recovery from suffering terrible wounds & mental fatigue all throughout. But the fact that he didn't, and in fact was given CREDIT in their victory (which he was opposed to) is the one major flaw in this film.
This movie is the anti-Avatar. Humans are good guys, aliens are bad. Alien-sympathizers are dangerous accomplices, not heroes.
Rant/Social Commentary: I continue to be amazed at the consistency of the 'misanthropic, morally superior, condescending, stoic scientist' in even older films. And yet always the assumption of benevolency on the part of the 'wiser' aliens. The misunderstood supermen only require the communication of scientists, & it will see there is no more need for bloodshed. Yet the military rightly understands that the life of a human is not worth the knowledge that the alien can provide. The man of science cannot see this past his own self-obsessed pursuits (who would in no way sacrifice his OWN life for the attainment of this knowledge for the 'betterment' of mankind). Even after numerous killings, he deems it 'harmless'. The only crimes are those committed against it, believes the scientist. Aligning himself with the foreigner, in opposition to his own people & culture (in this case, the military), and their safety & security. A wonderful analogy for the leftist/communist symapthizer, for which these creatures were likely a metaphor. Present then & present now. Those pointing out the threat are deemed fear-mongers while the lives continue to fall one by one.
Contrary to some critics, this is not about a "conflict between between Force and Reason." That is a false dichotomy.
And this very mindset that inaction against a violent entity is reason (the same that the scientist adheres to) proves itself to be absurd in this very film. Reason is not divorced from force. Reason dictates that when a being feeds off of the blood of a host organism and will stop at nothing to attain its nourishment, it is threatening! But of course, killing & feeding off of mulitiple bodies is not enough to persuade some that intentions are anything but benign.
This is the same mentality that some have had toward the Soviet communists after watching Stalin massacre more people than perhaps any other in history.
While the scientist claims that knowledge is more important than life, there IS no knowledge without life. We owe it to our species to die so that greater knowledge can survive, he says. Yet what is the virtue in more & more people dying, until the whole world dies only so that this source of wisdom can remain well fed? Folly. I kept hoping he was next to be killed so that he could have his wish & wisdom could remain.
In addition to this, there's the annoying journalist who thinks HIS story (and, of course, the recognition it would bring him) are more important than anything -- regardless of the safety of other humans. For example, when the group is told that two men are dead & hanging upside down, he shouts out, "Wait for me!... I wanna get a picture!" Enough said. These are generally the characters I like to see bite it most.
Unfortunately, in 21st century movies (cf. Avatar), the result is very different. The mentality of the scientist is exactly the same. But his presentation as moral compass is much different. The foreign entity & the wiser-than-thou scientists unite to turn against & defeat the stated oppressor -- the military. The sympathizer is not shown to be treacherous, naive, self-serving, or dangerous anymore. Rather now, the scientist who deemed his own people as the true criminals is justified & his betrayal is portrayed as righteous. And the violent reactions of the aliens as always adequately proportionate, no matter how violent. This says something to me about a devastating change of culture 50-some odd years later.
(Granted, the circumstances were different in that the Navi were less violent than veggie man, and it was on THEIR planet, But one is hardly pressed to believe that the portrayed scientific elite would've seen things on earth with a more violent species much differently. I think the portrayal of us an invaders was intentional to get this point across that WE can be seen as violent, evil aliens too.)
Additional Observations: That said, if the intention was to portray these characters as so annoying, then the actors must be given some credit.
I also found the female lead quite annoying.
I love how the whole premise is that it's not hard to understand an immortal vegetable man if you buy the idea that worms becoming humans eventually is a great explanation of our being here. lol. Well, since I don't, then it makes it a little more difficult to accept the vegetable man.
I also love that in preparing to confront it, they believe the less light the better. Really, it's simply a way of saying "let's make this scene scarier!" I accept it.
The film starts with scientists in Alaska that are concerned about a recent meteor hit. Quickly they identify an alien presence but have no idea of its power.
The film isn't the best made or acted but is rich in concept & you can see why many sequels followed. A great UFO Era classic, that's sums up the era very well.
There will be of course more to the book than that, including characters, setting and plot nuances. But the film or films that follow the story more closely are the 82 film and it's 11 prequel. That's not to say this is a bad film or so because they chose to loosely follow the story. No, not at all. The film plays into the era in which it is film. The year is 1952 and there is peace and prosperity during the roaring era following the 2nd World War.
Instead of Antarctica, we have Alaska. Instead of a crazy being from outer space cloning and killing folks, we still have an out of world being, but more of which is a seemingly indestructible monster. Okay, it's different. Okay, it's a slasher sort-of before the genre ever came to be. But it's a generally annoying clueless monster that just makes grunting noises and goes on a killing spree.
The film contains way too much dialogue and becomes very monotonous and very boring, very quickly. Eventually, it's like come on....is anything ever going to happen? The film strangely enough doesn't even with the taking care of the monster, but still continues a little longer. The last 15 minutes of the film are the best scenes in the entire film. The monster creature looked like some cross between the Frankenstein monster and the people from The Hills Have Eyes. I wasn't impressed and as a result, this is easily the worst of the 3 films.