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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Thing [Blu-ray]

 

(Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., 2011)

 

  

    

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Universal

Video: Universal

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:02:49.153

Disc Size: 36,745,986,768 bytes

Feature Size: 30,397,298,688 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.35 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 31st, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3600 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3600 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
DTS Express English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. and Producer Eric Newman

7 Deleted / Extended Scenes (9:15 - in 1080P)

• The Thing Evolves (14:00 - in 1080P)

• Fire and Ice (4:47 in 1080P)

• UControl / DBox Motion controls - PiP Volume options / Button sounds

DVD / Digital Copy of the Feature included

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: It's not human. Yet. From the producers of Dawn of the Dead comes the chilling prelude to John Carpenter's cult classic film. When paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) travels to an isolated outpost in Antarctica for the expedition of a lifetime, she joins an international team that unearths a remarkable discovery. Their elation quickly turns to fear as they realize that their experiment has freed a mysterious being from its frozen prison. Paranoia spreads like an epidemic as a creature that can mimic anything it touches will pit human against human as it tries to survive and flourish in this spine-tingling thriller.

***

Paleontologist Kate Lloyd has traveled to the desolate region for the expedition of her lifetime. Joining a Norwegian... scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago. But it is about to wake up. When a simple experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, Kate must join the crew's pilot, Carter, to keep it from killing them off one at a time. And in this vast, intense land, a parasite that can mimic anything it touches will pit human against human as it tries to survive and flourish.

 

 

The Film:

And what of our new Thing, a prequel to Carpenter’s film by Dutch director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.? If it speaks to our times, it’s only in its fetish for nostalgia. The new Thing is soooo 1980s. In the Alien tradition, it features a butt-kicking, Ripley-like female lead in Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World), as the smartest scientist at a Norwegian-American Antarctic space station. Well, there’s a bossy-pants, unctuous Norwegian snob (Ulrich Thomsen), but really, he’s just pretentious monster meat waiting to happen.

Excerpt from Liam Lacey at The Globe and Mail located HERE

 

Despite having the same title as its progenitor, The Thing is a prequel, not a remake. It opens three days before the Carpenter film and moves forward so that the conclusion of this tale dovetails with the opening of the 1982 production. When an extraterrestrial vehicle is discovered deep beneath the Antarctic ice by a Norwegian science team, renowned scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) is sent to investigate. He brings along with him American paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), because he has been told there is "a body." The body turns out to be the frozen carcass of an extraterrestrial. The Norwegian crew excavates a block of ice containing the alien and transports it back to base camp for study. In short order, the "dead" creature is revealed to have been in hibernation and its exposure to the warmth inside the compound awakens it. Once free, it uses its imitation capabilities to gradually reduce the population of the camp, along the way foiling tests designed to reveal its identity.

Excerpt from James Berardinell at ReelViews located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Thing looks surprisingly soft on Blu-ray from Universal. The VC-1 encoded image quality suffers from the frequent hand-held camera that never allows direct, sharp, focus. It's a style issue, not a transfer flaw, and tends to work for the film's suspense.  This is dual-layered with a strong bitrate hence leaning to an authentic theatrical appearance. Some scenes can be extremely dark but I didn't notice any undue noise. Contrast seems an effectively rendered feature for the presentation. It is consistent and clean without digital manipulation. I just found it surprising how soft the image was - although I believe this look is intentional.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Very solid audio (better than the video) via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track at 3600 kbps. The creature makes effect sounds that fill the room with definite power, depth and punchy screeches that pounce out of the rear speakers. My head turned on a few occasions. The original music by Marco Beltrami (The Hurt Locker, 3:10 to Yuma, In the Electric Mist etc.) is solid and I really appreciated the pulsating bass homage to Carpenter's version at the conclusion. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc, like all Universal HDs, playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

The disc offer a commentary by director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. and producer Eric Newman that deals with many production-based issue - and from that standpoint has merit. There are also 7 Deleted / Extended Scenes lasting shy of 10-minutes. There is a featurette The Thing Evolves running 14-minutes dealing with the monster effects and another "Fire and Ice" that isn't 5-minutes long. The Blu-ray has features for UControl / DBox Motion controls - PiP Volume options and Button sounds. There is also a second disc - a DVD of the Feature is included with Digital Copy.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Unlike many others - I liked this version of The Thing (hence why I bothered reviewing it). It's far from perfect with very dark scenes hiding the creature but there are some important positive features. I think it is well realized - without going overboard on the action/violence although it is a big part of the film experience. The story, passed down in film for decades, references the Carpenter film intelligently. This gave me a decently entertaining night on Blu-ray. I loved the original and re-make and this pre-quel is a worthy, if imperfect, addition to the saga. I recommend! 

Gary Tooze

January 26th, 2011

  

    


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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