A Bunch of Yahoos and the Intellectual Carrot
Something crashes in the arctic, a research base looks into it, finds a spaceship, manages to blow it up, and straight out of an old Scooby Doo episode, they drag back an alien trapped in a block of ice and proceed to accidently defrost it (okay, the movie predates the cartoon, and that actually featured a "caveman", but the Scooby Doo episode makes more sense). From then on, their only point in life is to deal with this Thing they have unleashed.
They do a fine job of spouting an air of scientific authority, but ultimately the words are just babbling to push along the plot.
The attitude of the film is biased against the one character (that starts) with an open mind regarding the Thing. Combined with how careless actions have devastating consquences here, it's easy to interpret the film as a reflection of the times, projecting communism on the screen as an alien force. Cold War politics made the people fearful. The policy of blast-first and ask questions later is clearly rewarded, albeit painfully. The script is anti-science and paints its practitioners as idealistic dweebs. If this were made more recently, it might almost seem a parody, making fun of those who jump to conclusions and find the biggest weapon to be the best solution. But this movie is all too serious about itself.
More than just its attitude is wrong here - heck, that can be chalked up as a difference of opinion. But also, the plot is weak. The Thing is called smarter and more powerful than humans. There's no evidence at that point, but the movie certainly tries to prove it later on. The big problem though, is that it doesn't seem to behave rationally. The appearance is the Thing is never really a surprise, nor is its behavior. I'll admit to being startled a couple times, but maybe that can be blamed on how predictable the film was otherwise.
There are plot threads unresolved. The characters don't really have their own storylines - which, for having so many, makes it especially hard to tell them apart. The acting was neither atrocious, not the material good enough for any kind of interesting performance.
The only reason for watching this that I can think of is to make fun of it.
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