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Friday, October 21, 2011

Life lessons from The Thing...

So, last night, with some friends, I treated myself to the outrageous cost of paying for stale popcorn and a Diabetes-inducing-sized "small" soda, and went to see The Thing. (I just lost your respect right? Ha: can't lose what you don't have!) I have to admit that normally I am a huge wuss and I will not normally see a horror film, because I have an extremely over-active imagination, and am prone to hearing a noise at 3am and being convinced that there is a demon standing right. By. My. Bed! (Usually it's just The Kitten. Or, a date. Usually.)
For example, last summer one of my mens surprised me by renting Paranormal Activity and I literally was so terrified that I made him come to the damn bathroom with me afterwards. (Which, he didn't really mind but oh well...Over-share much?) I slept with the lights on for 6 months, sweet fancy Moses. So, I don't usually watch horror films, but I am a huge fan of John Carpenter's The Thing (not to mention, how awesome was/is/always will be...Escape from New York.), which remains a wonderful film, besides being a great horror film. So, I was curious to see the prequel, so-called. Feh. Netflix it and save your money.
The best I can say about the 2011 version of The Thing is that it is frustrating. Not scary, not engrossing, not gripping but frustrating. It is also another lesson in that state-of-the-art special effects do not make up for bad writing, acting, lack of vision, etc.
I think the major flaw in the remake is an excellent issue to discuss in terms of real life. John Carpenter's The Thing, worked, for many reasons, but a major one was that he gave the audience time to get to know and care about the cast as human beings. He introduced the audience to these men, working together, despite their personality differences, on a base in Antarctica. Each actor had time to develop his character and let us get to know him, so when the alien started wrecking havoc, guess what: the audience gave a damn. (Note: it also didn't hurt that Kurt Russell as the hero was 1) fine as hell and 2) a super badass. Hawt!)
The remake, on the other hand, just started throwing "characters" (read: bare-bones stock caricatures) at us, with no rhyme or reason. The majority of them are Norwegian, all seemingly named Lars, we know nothing about them, we can barely identify one from another, so when they start dying gruesome deaths, it's like, "Well, that sucked...but which Norwegian was he again? The hairy bearded one, or the really hairy bearded one? Oh." Not to mention the heroine was so artificially planted in the film, and such an uninteresting presence, that the entire film ultimately became very tedious. I wasn't exactly rooting for the alien--the film, for example, wasn't as horrendous as Tom Cruise's Valkyrie, which made me, a history major, so enraged, that I actually found myself suddenly sympathetic to Goebbles, primarily because he was played by the only somewhat decent actor in that piece of crap--but I really didn't care who lived or died.
So here, finally, is my point: the remake didn't work because the director/writer gave us no chance to truly get to know, and care for the characters. If you're trying to get a better job, or re-define your career trajectory, or in some way change your life: take. Some. Time! Invest emotionally in what you're doing. Invest in figuring out your own motivation, as well as other's. What's the rush? Give yourself and those around you time to care about you. When I work with clients, helping them figure out what they really want to do, sometimes they wonder why the process should take more than a month. A month? Hello, some people NEVER figure themselves or their passion out! N-e-v-e-r! To do this hard work takes time and hard work, and guess what? It's all worth it. Do the hard work and savor the life-changing results. On the other hand, if you don't do it, and you rush it to completion.. you'll end up with a story not worth the stale popcorn.

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