Sunday, February 8, 2009

Movie Review: The Thing From Another World

The Thing From Another World
Not Rated
4 Slimes
Copyright RKO Radio Pictures 1951

THE CHARACTERS

Captain Patrick Henry: Kenneth Tobey! He’s our hero! He’s called in to search out the mysterious object that crashed into the Arctic. Little did he know that he would be bringing chaos back to the base when he brought the alien back from the site. He and Nikki get together at the end of the movie.

Ned “Scotty” Scott: Douglas Spencer! He’s a newspaper reporter who is brought with the team to the arctic. He is constantly trying to take pictures of everything that is happening and is trying to get the story of what is happening out into the world. At the end of the movie, he reports everything that has happened to the team to the outside world.

Dr. Carrington: Robert O. Cornthwaite! He’s the stereotype doctor who thinks he learn and communicate with the alien. He’s extremely smart, but values gaining intelligence from the alien more important than anything else. Well, the alien sure showed him in the end.

Nikki Nicholson: She is Patrick’s secretary and love interest. She looks pretty when she isn’t smoking so much.

Crew Chief Bob: He’s in charge of Geiger Meter and lets everyone know when the alien creature is getting closer to them. Strangely enough, the credits never mention his name despite everyone calling him Bob during the course of the film.

Tex Richards: He is in charge of communications and is constantly having a hard time contacting the outside world during the bad storm while the alien is attacking them.

Corporal Barnes: This guy accidently puts an electric blanket over the ice block that was holding the alien and frees the beast. In any other movie, he would have been killed, but he lives.

The Thing: James Arness! He’s a plant alien from another world. He feeds on blood and can grow back limbs as well! He’s unstoppable with normal bullets and is incredibly strong. He doesn’t work very well around fire. Interestingly enough, he destroyed with electricity.

LESSONS LEARNED
+ Certain plants live off of blood, like Audrey II.
+ Never use thermite bombs to remove a spaceship trapped in the ice.
+ Aliens are part plant.
+ Always unplugged an electric blanket before putting it on top of a block of ice with an alien in it.
+ Plant aliens are highly vulnerable to electricity.

STUFF TO WATCH FOR
Opening Credits – Why can’t most movie titles open this way?
6 min – Man, I would hate to ride in the back of that plane.
16 min – The meter’s off the charts? You guys should turn around since that radiation is too high for a normal human being to be able to stand.
18 min – Looks like warped dish sticking out of the ice to me.
23 min – Congratulations. You just blew up a flying saucer. So much for a key to the stars.
25 min – There’s no way that ice chunk would’ve fit through the plane’s door!
28 min – You don’t even have to break the window! Just leave the block outside in the cold and it’ll remain frozen!
36 min – Umm… what are you two doing?
39 min – How does he not hear the ice melting and dripping onto the floor?
53 min – Whoa!! That was freaky!
57 min – AUGH! I didn’t see that coming!
61 min – The plants look more dead than alive to me.
70 min – RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A WINDOW!
80 min – RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A BARRICADE!

81 min – I guess he didn’t understand.

NOTABLE QUOTES
Ned Scott: Watch the skies, everywhere! Keep looking! Keep watching the skies!

Dr. Arthur Carrington: No pleasure, no pain... no emotion, no heart. Our superior in every way.

Lt. Ken McPherson: What if he can read our minds?
Eddie: He'll be real mad when he gets to me

THE PLOT

Here is a classic that is one of the greatest sci-fi alien movies of all times. This was such a good movie that Library of Congress elected it to be preserved in the National Film Registry back in 2001. The film is based loosely around the short story, “Who Goes There?” and has Howard Hawks’ fast pace talking style. There is no need to go into further detail, let’s take a look at the film.

Our story opens up in Anchorage, Alaska with Ned Scott talking to bunch of military personal, including Captain Patrick Henry and Lieutenants Eddie Dykes and Ken McPherson, about trying to find a story to write about. Patrick is then called into General Fogarty’s office, who wants him and a couple of guys to head up to the North Pole to help out the military team. They have reported that there was a plane crash somewhere out there. Patrick, Eddie, Bob, Ken, and even Scott head up there to check everything out.

Everyone meets up with each other at the base and then heads out to the crash site. They discover that the down plane is actually a UFO, so they decide to remove it from underneath the ice with thermite bombs. This just causes the flying saucer to blow up. All is not lost luckily; they do find an alien body frozen in the ice. They decide to cut it out from the ice and take it back to their base.

They leave the frozen alien inside of a room in the base and take turns guarding it. During the time, it starts thawing out and they can start to see inside the ice, which allows them to see what the monster looks like. During Barnes’ shift, he places an electric blanket over the ice block so he doesn’t have to look at the alien, which is extremely hideous. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know that blanket is still plugged in and the heat from the blanket melts the ice, which releases the alien. By the time Barnes gets help from everyone, the alien has already escaped the building, killed some sled dogs, and disappeared into the blizzard.

One of the sled dogs manage to rip one of the alien’s arms off, so the team decides to examine it. During the examination, Dr. Carrington, who is the head scientist for the base, determines that the alien feeds on blood and it is an extreme advance form of a plant. Patrick believes it is huge threat and must be locked up or destroyed, however Carrington believes it can be reasoned with. Typical scientist behavior.

The team decides to search the base to see if the monster has return, while Dr. Carrington and his team wait inside the base’s greenhouse. They then discover a dead sled dog in one of the containers in the room, completely drained of blood. Carrington believes the alien will come back to the greenhouse since it has the only plant life for thousands of miles and the alien will want to be around things similar to itself. He and his team decide to stand guard of the greenhouse so they can wait for it to come back.

The next day, Patrick and his team discover Dr. Stern, one of Carrington’s men, has been badly injured by the alien. He tells them that during his guard shift with two other scientists, the alien returned and attacked him, while killing the other two. Patrick has his team locked the monster (It has grown back its arm also) inside of the greenhouse. He then finds out that Carrington has been able to use seeds from the alien’s arm to grow seedlings versions of the creature.

A bit later, the alien escaped from the greenhouse and is back on the loose. Everyone then tries come up with way to kill the alien now that it is out. They come to the conclusion that the only way to kill the monster is to burn it since it is a plant. They get a gather a bunch of containers filled with kerosene together just as the alien attacks them. The kerosene seems to work a bit, but the alien takes off. The team then decides to use electricity against it since it should be strong enough and hot enough to kill it. So they decide to set up a trap for the monster. Unfortunately, the alien cuts the fuel line, so they now have a limited time to kill the monster until they all freeze to death

The trap is set and they lure the creature towards their trap. As the alien approaches, Dr. Carrington runs to the alien and tries to reason with it. The alien tosses him aside and approaches the heroes. They set off trap and fry the alien, killing him for good. After the deed is done and they destroyed arm and seedlings, the team finally manages to make contact with the outside world and Scott reports everything that has happen.

This is one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time and one of my personal favorites. The acting, the setting, the script, the alien, and the amazing soundtrack all come together perfectly in this film. I can’t recommend this film more than enough. Now if you would excuse me, I’m going to go watch the skies now…

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