I really loved John Campbell Jr.’s short story Who Goes There. And, though I’ve never seen the movie adaptation of the story, a friend of mine had suggested that I watch The Thing. My interest having been piqued by Who Goes There, I decided to check out the trailer for the 1982 version. Lo and behold, Hollywood has, in its infinite wisdom and limited originality, decided to remake the flick.
So, based on the trailers alone, there is a noticeable deviation in the 2011 remake, not only from the original film but from John Campbell Jr.’s original story as well. And that deviation comes in the form of…
In Campbell’s story, the antarctic expeditionary crew is remarkably masculine. More than that, Campbell seems to play heavily on a masculine aesthetic. Not only is the cast of the story completely male, but he assigns many of the main characters a metallic demeanor.
“Barclay, six feet tall and weighing over 190 pounds; McReady, a bronze giant of a man; Dr. Copper, short, squatly powerful; and Benning, five-feet-ten of wiry strength.”
“If McReady was a man of bronze, Norris was all steel.”
Bronze. Copper. Wiry strength. Steel
And this, the inorganic and metallic descriptions, is fitting. Fitting of men in an environment in which they can survive only because of technology. Fitting given the grossly organic appearance of The Thing. Even the 1982 version is fitting, in its casting of Kurt Russel as McReady.
So, the question is, does the inclusion of a female in the 2011 version of the film destroy Campbell’s original aesthetic?