Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a bloodthirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost.Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a bloodthirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost.Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a bloodthirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost.
All right, now . . . I have to say, I loved The Thing from Another World. I loved the dialogue in this movie. It's been a long long (Jesus Christ, a loooong) time since I had this much fun listening to exposition. Yes, exposition. The obligatory plot details that no one cares about that some poor sap spells out? Yes, that exposition! Thing from Another World actually gains momentum with its exposition whereas your typical film slows down and comes to a screeching halt for it.
Nyby spreads the exposition across about half a dozen characters, and they have real conversation with overlapping, quick fire, back and forth, dialogue, and in brief instances multiple conversations going at the same time. The result? Five minutes of exposition becomes one minute of exposition. Will the audience catch every single detail of their plan? No, but the audience doesn't need to either. Thank you Howard Hawks!
Lace this exposition with characterization, inside jokes amongst characters, hints at their history together, and friendly pranks, and The Thing from Another World not only knocks out exposition with one blow, but develops their characters simultaneously, yielding a wonderfully complex and realistic relationship between the characters and plot. No spot light and overdone Shakespearian aside with melodramatic boo-hoo backstory that brings elicits yawns and groans, no little nerd with all the answers getting to explain everything while everyone asks stupid questions--nope--the Thing from Another World is above that drivel.
Nyby and Hawks sold me on the characters from the get go, placing emphasis on how they introduce the characters and not so much in what their character backstory is. I salute the filmmakers for this decision, and in response was more than willing to suspend my disbelief for the sake of the film's needs.
Follow it up with well lit and well staged action sequences--the fire scene was perhaps one of the most beautiful and glorious moments caught by b/w photography--and the Thing from Another World delivers with all its 1950s charms. I'll take a film with narrow corridors and electrodes over all out war with CGI bugs/machines any day of the week.
- Nov 3, 2004