The Thing (1982) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Horror / Mystery / Science Fiction / Thriller
Universal || R - 109 minutes - $29.98 || September 30, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-10-05


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: John Carpenter
Writer(s): John W. Campbell Jr. (story), Bill Lancaster (screenplay)
Cast: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley


Theatrical Release Date: June 25, 1982


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • U-Control (BD Exclusive)
  • MyScenes (BD Exclusive)


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

The film opens as we see a man hanging out of a helicopter trying to shoot a dog. After several unsuccessful attempts, his partner eventually lands and tries to go out on foot to kill this dog. Unfortunately for him, while trying to shoot the dog he accidental shoots a member of an American crew digging in Arctic - and from there, he is promptly seen as a threat and killed. The American crew, lead by R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell), believes he may have went stir-crazy and after they visit the dead manís camp, find out that something attacked and killed them all...but not before they managed to burn one of the "creatures".

R.J. and crew take the creature back to their camp where they study over it trying to figure out what it is. Eventually they discover itís some sort of virus that can clone itself and fool the others into thinking its "one of them". The rest of the movie deals with the men trying to figure out whom among them are human and who is alien.

I've seen this movie several times over the years and still fall back on it as a favorite to watch during the Halloween season. For a film made in 1982 the special effects still hold up very well today. C'mon, a stomach opening up to reveal Venus flytrap-like teeth? A dog that sprouts tons of tentacles that grabs hold of other dogs and "eats" them? That's awesome!

The acting does leave a bit to be desired. Some characters, while certainly fleshed out enough by the time the "virus" hits, are still rather wooden and you can almost pin point which ones won't make it very far into the film. R.J. is probably the only character you will care about as the others are hardly worth mentioning except for Blair which we don't know until the end if he is truly infected or not.

While the film was ignored when it was released into theaters do not ignore it on Blu-ray. The Thing holds up very well now twenty five years later and remains one of the best remakes (albeit very loosely) I've ever seen.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Feature Commentary with Kurt Russell and Director John Carpenter - A rather old track (dating back more than 10 years) gives us a great look into the film and its production. By far one of the better tracks available.

U-Control (Profile 1.1/2.0 Only) - As I mentioned below in my little rant, most of this is "re-purposed" special features from the previous HD DVD that you are forced to watch in random bits in a tiny window. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

MyScenes (Profile 2.0 Only) - This little feature allows you to bookmark your favorite scene to watch later or share them with friends via BD-Live. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Right off the bat you may notice this disc looks a bit slim on extras... well, Universal cut some of the special features from the HD DVD or as others like to say, they "re-purposed" them on the U-Control track (of course now they are in a tiny 480i window that can't be viewed in proper order). Gone (at least in a standalone presentation) is the excellent 80 minute documentary "Terror Takes Shape", some unused footage from three scenes, a rather large collection of still galleries and a trailer. Why Universal, why? Luckily most of this has been "re-purposed" so you're not missing out on that much... sigh.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The Thing is presented in its Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 (VC1) on a 25GB Disc. The film is now twenty five years old and looks really good on Blu-ray. While there is still some obvious dirt specks and grain you won't ever see The Thing look any better. I did, however, compare this to my HD DVD version and found the Blu-ray has added a bit of additional DNR to it making the HD DVD still superior, so if you already have the HD DVD, keep it. If you are strictly Blu-ray only, then I would recommend still picking this up as it still looks good... just know there is a superior version out there on a dead format.

Universal has included an English DTS MA track (previously a DD+ on HD DVD). I don't want to say I'm disappointed with this mix... but itís just not very active. While the front speakers produce fairly clean dialog your rear speakers will pretty much be empty throughout most of the flick. Itís expected with a film of this age but I was hoping for just a bit of a boost.



.::OVERALL::.

After all of these years I still love The Thing. It makes an excellent watch every Halloween and the Blu-ray packs an impressive punch in the Picture department. Audio is a bit lacking (however justified) but the special features are simply pitiful. Instead of putting this on a BD50 (like they should have) they dropped it down to a BD25 and nixed some of the features. While U-Control brings some of those back to life... they are poorly implemented and for HD DVD owners there is no reason to upgrade.