For me the most exciting and yet the saddest part of this prequel was the most overt homage to Carpenter's masterpiece in the final credit sequence. As the Morricone score sets in and the the surviving Norwegians chase after the wolf replica in a helicopter, I felt exhilarated by the beautiful rendering of the scene, and sad that the previous ninety minutes had failed to live up to an epic epilogue. The character's were mostly bland and uninteresting, so there was no emotional investment in them before you see them picked off. Also, what was the point of introducing a female heroine just to make her androgynous and bland?
The CGI effects were patchy at best. There were a few decent moments but by and large you were well aware of the monsters' artificiality plus nagging doubts about internal logic of the shapeshifters. Not only were Rob Bottin's pre CGI effects supremely grotesque he had thought about the Thing's actual behaviour; 'Since the Thing had been all over the galaxy, it could call upon anything it needed whenever it needed it'. In Bottin's world a human replica is being bothered by a doctor using a defibrillator on it - so its chest becomes a mouth and bites his arms off; following a dousing with a flame thrower the only surviving part of the body, a severed head, escapes the only way it knows how - by sprouting legs and running away. All very disturbing, but also functional. In the 2011 prequel we have the ludicrous spectacle of the Thing merging to human heads onto a lumbering insect-like alien body for seeming no purpose other than to explain the charred remains of a two-headed creature discovered by the Americans in Carpenter's original. All very clever, except surely that the Thing shapeshifts into a form most suited to it's purpose, be it hunting or fleeing? This cumbersome creature's only need of a second human body serves only to justify a discovery in the original film while abandoning the internal logic of its own.
I don't thing The Thing 2011 is disrespectful as such, it as afterall eager to please us whilst doffing its cap to Carpenter. The problem is it forgets to forge an identity of its own in the process, the sequences which helped make the original so unforgettable were the atmospheric shots and the teasing build up of tension throughout. A chilling shot of Carpenter's lone wolf is worth a thousand of van Heijningen's two-headed monsters.