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UHD Review A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Thing (1982) -- in 4k UHD Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Mike Boone

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I love “The Thing” and I also love “E.T.”. Pablum, it is not, IMHO.
I'm also a big fan of "The Thing", and agree with you that our fellow member's put down of "ET", is very unfair to a film, which many feel, and I'm among them, is a movie worthy of being called an almost magical film experience. I've heard others describe "ET" as a sort of "Wizard of Oz" for a newer generation, although Mr Spielberg's film obviously isn't a musical, though it's beautiful score by John Williams, is certainly music which will long live in the memories of countless people.
 

Mike Boone

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Was a finalist in the Fangoria "Draw The Thing" contest and still have my button and name in the magazine. Saw it opening weekend and kept laughing in wonder at the efx. I could tell the audience hated the ending and then Siskel/Ebert told America not to go see it (can we acknowledge Ebert was a terrible critic although a lovely person?). Even as a 15 year old I knew this should have come out in the fall and witout that terrible parka monster ad that helped kill it over the superior "Man is the warmest place to hide" early ads.

I saw it on 35mm with a print from Universal last night and if you want an informal comparison, I found the 35mm frame shorter (could be the screen, etc.) but much darker and that could be the screen/projector tho it did look great on the big screen while the 4k is much wider and lighter -- look at that jacket -- and it definitely shows in this scene.
View attachment 148814 View attachment 148815
Christian D66, I'd like to answer this question that you asked in your post: "can we acknowledge Ebert was a terrible critic although a lovely person?" Yes, I have no doubt that the late Roger Ebert was a nice person, but my experience of following his reviews for a few decades, did convince me that his judgments of the quality of various films, or even his stated views about the entertainment value he thought average movie audience members would be likely to derive from viewing certain movies, were evaluations by Roger Ebert that often struck me personally as being way off course. A prime example of what I mean was presented by Mr Ebert on one of his retrospective editions of his weekly televised movie review program that aired during the 1990s, (that I still have on VHS) in which Roger Ebert was honest enough to say that following a pre-release screening he saw of one of the most beloved films of the 1960s & 70s (and still loved by many, many film fans now), 1969's "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", he walked out of that screening believing he'd just seen a "dog of a movie", which wouldn't click at America's box offices. Of course, "Butch Cassidy" actually went on to become 1969's biggest box office hit in the U.S. was nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture, and DID WIN Oscars for its very funny screenplay, by William Goldman, as well as for Conrad Hall's cinematography for the movie, Burt Bacharach's original film score, and also won the Oscar for Best Original Song for a Motion Picture, which was "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head, which was sung by B.J. Thomas, and was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

And BTW the screenplay for the film that Mr Ebert had thought of as being "a dog of a movie", not only set a record for the time for the highest fee that a writer had been paid by a Hollywood movie studio for a film's screenplay, but also, its quite amusing script by Mr Goldman, would go on to eventually be selected, a number of years after the film's release, by the Writer's Guild of America ranking the "Butch Cassidy" screenplay as #11 on its list of 101 Greatest Screenplays ever written. That's not too bad of a feature that served as the foundation of a hit film, that at least 1 movie critic saw as being a dog, which disappointed people would force to trot right out of their movie houses!

Yeah, I've never been able to understand how Roger Ebert could have been so far off of the mark in misjudging the pure entertainment value of "Butch Cassidy", especially since, as a college freshman in 1969, I knew so many of my peers, who like me, went to see "Butch Cassidy", 3 times, or more, and absolutely loved that movie! And last winter, after having not seen the film in at least 20 years, I pulled out my old DVD version of it, and still had a great time laughing at the film's many funny lines & situations, which were aided so much by the terrific interplay between Newman & Redford. But, of course, having several brewskies during that viewing, also did a little to enhance the entertainment!
 

Jeffrey D

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Christian D66, I'd like to answer this question that you asked in your post: "can we acknowledge Ebert was a terrible critic although a lovely person?" Yes, I have no doubt that the late Roger Ebert was a nice person, but my experience of following his reviews for a few decades, did convince me that his judgments of the quality of various films, or even his stated views about the entertainment value he thought average movie audience members would be likely to derive from viewing certain movies, were evaluations by Roger Ebert that often struck me personally as being way off course. A prime example of what I mean was presented by Mr Ebert on one of his retrospective editions of his weekly televised movie review program that aired during the 1990s, (that I still have on VHS) in which Roger Ebert was honest enough to say that following a pre-release screening he saw of one of the most beloved films of the 1960s & 70s (and still loved by many, many film fans now), 1969's "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", he walked out of that screening believing he'd just seen a "dog of a movie", which wouldn't click at America's box offices. Of course, "Butch Cassidy" actually went on to become 1969's biggest box office hit in the U.S. was nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture, and DID WIN Oscars for its very funny screenplay, by William Goldman, as well as for Conrad Hall's cinematography for the movie, Burt Bacharach's original film score, and also won the Oscar for Best Original Song for a Motion Picture, which was "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head, which was sung by B.J. Thomas, and was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

And BTW the screenplay for the film that Mr Ebert had thought of as being "a dog of a movie", not only set a record for the time for the highest fee that a writer had been paid by a Hollywood movie studio for a film's screenplay, but also, its quite amusing script by Mr Goldman, would go on to eventually be selected, a number of years after the film's release, by the Writer's Guild of America ranking the "Butch Cassidy" screenplay as #11 on its list of 101 Greatest Screenplays ever written. That's not too bad of a feature that served as the foundation of a hit film, that at least 1 movie critic saw as being a dog, which disappointed people would force to trot right out of their movie houses!

Yeah, I've never been able to understand how Roger Ebert could have been so far off of the mark in misjudging the pure entertainment value of "Butch Cassidy", especially since, as a college freshman in 1969, I knew so many of my peers, who like me, went to see "Butch Cassidy", 3 times, or more, and absolutely loved that movie! And last winter, after having not seen the film in at least 20 years, I pulled out my old DVD version of it, and still had a great time laughing at the film's many funny lines & situations, which were aided so much by the terrific interplay between Newman & Redford. But, of course, having several brewskies during that viewing, also did a little to enhance the entertainment!
About Butch Cassidy- if Ebert couldn’t see how hysterically funny the “Think you used a little too much dynamite there, Butch?”
scene was on his first viewing, then he was way wrong about the film. That scene is one of the all-time great scenes in any film.
 

sbjork

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Hopefully not to let this get too sidetracked just dunking on Ebert, but it's apropos to The Thing to point out that he had a massive blind spot with horror movies in general that made him awfully inconsistent in how he judged them. Compare his two-star review of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with his four-star review of Halloween -- he praised the latter for the exact same things that he condemned in the former. Along with Siskel, he also actively campaigned against the slasher cycle of the Eighties, criticizing the violence in against women in them that was perpetrated by men, despite the fact that the films that he wrote did the same thing, and he also praised other kinds of film that featured similar violence against women. (Infamously, the two of them used clips from the first Friday the 13th, apparently forgetting the fact that Jason wasn't the killer in that one.) It basically came down to the fact that violence against women was acceptable if it was an "important" film by an "important" filmmaker, but it wasn't acceptable in low-budget horror films. That kind of "what the gods get away with, the cows can't" philosophy is one of the worst forms of criticism. If something really is bad, then it's bad no matter who does it.

Things like that do make him fair game for dunking. All of us are inconsistent in our own ways, but not all of us get paid to put that inconsistency down in writing. He was, so it's only fair to note those inconsistencies, and he was very influential, in ways both good and bad.

But to circle back to The Thing, most of us are guilty of watching that through nostalgia-colored glasses. I love it, but it's far from perfect, and it has some huge plot holes, underdeveloped characters, and a pretty blatant use of the "idiot plot." Plus, like most of those practical effects movies in the Eighties (The Howling is another prime example), it's guilty of having all the characters stand around doing nothing while the effects play out for far too long. Counter-intuitively, most of those flaws are far less noticeable after you've seen the film several times. You tend to gloss over them while just enjoying the good parts. Critics and audiences in 1982 didn't have the advantage of decades of familiarity like the rest of us do. I freely admit that while I enjoyed it the first time that I watched it, the flaws still bothered me. These days, I just love it, and don't really care about them. Time has been kind.
 

jayembee

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I'm also a big fan of "The Thing", and agree with you that our fellow member's put down of "ET", is very unfair to a film, which many feel, and I'm among them, is a movie worthy of being called an almost magical film experience. I've heard others describe "ET" as a sort of "Wizard of Oz" for a newer generation, although Mr Spielberg's film obviously isn't a musical, though it's beautiful score by John Williams, is certainly music which will long live in the memories of countless people.

It's just a matter of a difference in tastes. I appreciate the fact that many, many people found E.T. a magicial experience. I did, too, when I saw it opening day. I saw it a second time a week or two later, and I couldn't believe it was the same movie. I didn't like it at all. I saw it a third time when it was first released on laserdisc. A friend of mine, who loved the movie, wanted the LD, though he didn't have an LD player at the time. I still didn't like it. If anything, I liked it even less.

No one is being "unfair" at putting down a film you love. They're seeing it the way they see it, and that's completely fair. There are films I hate that other people love, and films I love that other people hate. Different squids for different kids.
 

Stephen_J_H

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I detest ET. How is that "unfair". Why would someone be bothered by other opinions of things with which they had absolutely no involvement? I love lots of films that people hate. So what?
It seems the rest of us have moved on.
let it go GIF
 

JoshZ

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Plus, like most of those practical effects movies in the Eighties (The Howling is another prime example), it's guilty of having all the characters stand around doing nothing while the effects play out for far too long.

I would argue that, if you witnessed in real life something as utterly perplexing and horrific as what these characters saw, you would likewise step back in shock and not know what to do next, other than continue watching it to see what happens. That's not unrealistic at all.

What would you expect them to do? They weren't trained for this situation. They weren't expecting it. They had no frame of reference to understand anything about it.
 

Robert Crawford

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I would argue that, if you witnessed in real life something as utterly perplexing and horrific as what these characters saw, you would likewise step back in shock and not know what to do next, other than continue watching it to see what happens. That's not unrealistic at all.

What would you expect them to do? They weren't trained for this situation. They weren't expecting it. They had no frame of reference to understand anything about it.
I agree with that, but my ass would have made tracks.:laugh:
 

sbjork

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I agree with that, but my ass would have made tracks.:laugh:
That's the whole point. Even if you can argue that shock would root someone in place, it doesn't affect everyone equally, and it doesn't last forever. The survival instinct takes over, and your ass makes tracks. Plus, in The Thing, they keep reacting the same way every time, despite the fact that they've already had time to process the shock. After the dog-beast, they should have acted quicker with the Norris/Doc hybrid, but they didn't, and then right after that, they still stood there with the blood test. The only ones who do try to act decisively at that point are the ones who are tied down and can't act anyway. That's not an accident. Carpenter and Todd Ramsay made the choice to linger on the effects as long as possible, and they needed the characters not to act in the meantime.

Don't get me wrong, I still love the movie, but I think that we tend to excuse questionable elements in things that we love that we wouldn't accept in things that we don't.
 

jayembee

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It seems the rest of us have moved on.
let it go GIF

I know you're replying to John, but, to be fair, he was adding his voice to my comment, posted 9 hours after the post I was responding to. That's not exactly time enough to have "moved on".

Now, having said that, I'm moving on.
 

Mike Boone

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I detest ET. How is that "unfair". Why would someone be bothered by other opinions of things with which they had absolutely no involvement? I love lots of films that people hate. So what?
Well John, the fact that you detest ET, while I'm a big fan of it, has nothing to do with fairness, but is just an example of how personal taste varies between people, in much the same way that a friend's opinion that professional wrestling is a legitimate sport, conflicts with my own opinion, that it's not.
 

Dave H

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I was very critical of the Arrow Blu-ray when it came out, to which Arrow fanboys jumped out of the woodworks to rant against me for such heresy.

Universal's 4K is the best release of the movie by a significant margin. It's far better than any prior Blu-ray edition of the film - either their own, Shout Factory's, or Arrow's.

Fully agreed. I never owned the Arrow BD, but the screencaps looked strangely too smooth. I owned the Shout Factor BD and was satisfied with it initially although it looked a bit "electronic". I also owned the distractingly DNR'd original Universal BD.

I absolutely love the UHD BD. It truly feels like the definitive release to me and one of my favorite catalog titles on the format. The image, color, shadows, highlights feel so spot on. I also think the audio is quite good although some claim it's "off".
 

Lord Dalek

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Universal's 4K is the best release of the movie by a significant margin. It's far better than any prior Blu-ray edition of the film - either their own, Shout Factory's, or Arrow's.
Completely and utterly wrong.

It may have the best video transfer but the audio remix is poorly balanced and the Shout! trounces it quite easily in the supplement department.
 

JoshZ

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Completely and utterly wrong.

It may have the best video transfer but the audio remix is poorly balanced and the Shout! trounces it quite easily in the supplement department.

I'll give you the part about supplements. I don't typically watch those unless forced to, anyway. The audio, I didn't have a problem with.
 

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