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The Thing

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    84
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • The Thing's 4K release dazzles with supreme visuals/audio, a must-have for fans.

    The Thing 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    90
  • Universal's 4K UHD release of 'The Thing' delivers unmatched visual clarity and color depth, thanks to its native 4K restoration, HDR10 grading, and preserving of filmic texture, making it the best version yet for home viewing.

  • Audio
    86
  • The new DTS:X mix of The Thing enhances atmospheric and directional audio elements but lacks the balance and inclusion of older mixes, delivering a nuanced yet imperfect auditory experience.

  • Extra
    81
  • The Thing's UHD release brings revered extras like Carpenter/Russell commentary & 'Terror Takes Shape,' but lacks newer bonuses from Shout! & Arrow editions. Includes prequel, soundtrack CD, and booklet. Legacy content shines, despite missing some newer features.

  • Movie
    96
  • John Carpenter's 'The Thing', a masterpiece blending sci-fi and horror with groundbreaking effects and a haunting score, now shines in 4K UHD, preserving its legacy.

    Video: 90

    John Carpenter's "The Thing" has been given a meticulous restoration for its latest 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation, benefiting from a full restoration from the original camera negative. Utilizing an updated 4K DI from Arrow's prior release, this version boasts a native 3840 x 2160p resolution in the film's original widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio, enhanced with 10-bit video depth, High Dynamic Range (HDR), and a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec for HDR10. The visual improvement over previous releases is instantly noticeable, marked by a richer, darker color scheme that leverages the expanded color gamut to deliver more depth and texture, particularly evident in the vibrant hues and subtleties of the film's diverse palette. The HDR enhancement notably amplifies the brilliance of whites and deepens blacks, contributing to a more vivid and accurate representation of the film’s icy vistas and dimly lit interiors, without compromising on shadow details.

    From a textual standpoint, "The Thing" showcases an impeccably stable and filmic quality, retaining a fine grain structure that reflects the cinematic integrity of the original 35mm film shot with Panavision Panaflex Gold cameras and C- and E-Series anamorphic lenses. This transfer exhibits outstanding clarity and sharpness in fine details such as clothing textures and facial features, starkly surpassing the 2008 Blu-ray transfer and presenting a significant upgrade in visual fidelity. Despite a few inherent softer focus shots due to optical filming techniques, the overall sharpness and detail resolution are remarkable. Additionally, the careful management of film grain ensures a natural appearance without digital noise reduction artefacts that have marred previous releases.

    Universal's definitive transfer achieves a harmonious balance between enhancing visual clarity and preserving the film's original atmospheric essence. The nuanced handling of HDR amplifies crucial elements like fiery explosions and pristine snowscapes while maintaining authentic skin tones and intricate details in both the grotesque creature effects and the bleak research station interiors. Black levels are notably deep, enhancing the image's overall depth and dimension, thereby allowing for an immersive viewing experience that honors Carpenter and Cundey's visionary work. With a robust bitrate eliminating any visual compression issues, this edition of “The Thing” not only serves as a testament to the enduring power of practical effects but also sets a new standard for the film's presentation in the digital age.

    Audio: 86

    The Thing's 4K UHD Blu-ray release boasts a new English DTS:X object-based mix, presenting a step forward in immersive audio experiences, though it sidesteps traditional tracks for a singular focus. From the outset, with the engaging overhead chase scene, the mix establishes its prowess, leveraging the entire speaker array for a robust soundstage. The LFE channels provide substantial weight to the film's more explosive moments, while ambient sounds and spot effects are distributed with precision across the surrounds, enhancing the atmosphere substantially. Ennio Morricone's foreboding score is well-served by this mix, offering depth and density that underscore the film's palpable sense of dread. Dialogue clarity is consistently maintained, ensuring every line is heard amidst the cacophony of chilling winds and creature screeches.

    However, this DTS:X track is not without its peculiarities and shortcomings when directly compared to its predecessors, such as the 4.1 track from previous releases. Certain alterations in the mix's balance result in perplexing moments where environmental sounds or score elements are oddly diminished or absent, detracting from some scenes' intended impact. This inconsistency occasionally undercuts the mix's effectiveness, hinting at a missed opportunity to include older tracks for a comprehensive audio experience. Despite these issues, the mix still manages to captivate with moments of well-crafted directional sound, from meticulously positioned bullet trajectories to the ominous, encircling howl of Arctic winds.

    On the whole, the new DTS:X mix for The Thing on 4K UHD enriches the viewing experience with enhanced dimensionality and atmospheric detail. While not the pinnacle of what one might expect from an object-based audio track, particularly given its sporadic diversion from the film's original sound design ethos, it remains an engaging auditory journey. The upgrade in sound quality is evident in scenes filled with tension and terror, providing a moody and engaging soundscape that largely respects and revitalizes John Carpenter's classic. Despite some flaws and omissions, this release marks a significant auditory enhancement that fans and newcomers alike will appreciate for its commitment to atmospheric and enveloping sound design.

    Extra: 81

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "The Thing" brings together a focused set of legacy extras that will satisfy those new to the franchise and enthusiasts alike, though it may leave completists yearning for the more comprehensive collections found in previous releases like those from Scream Factory or Arrow. Highlights include the revered John Carpenter and Kurt Russell audio commentary, known for its insight and entertainment value, and "The Terror Takes Shape," a feature-length documentary that delves into the film’s production with rich interviews and analyses. The inclusion of outtakes and a theatrical trailer adds value, albeit without introducing new material to the mix. This edition also wisely omits the cumbersome U-Control feature from the 2008 release, streamlining the viewing experience. The packaging nods to Studiocanal's Carpenter collection aesthetics and includes the 2011 prequel on an additional disc. While some may lament the absence of extras from other special editions, this release remains a robust package for fans and newcomers alike, preserving the film's legacy content across both its UHD and accompanying Blu-ray discs.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary: Featuring John Carpenter and Kurt Russell.
    • John Carpenter’s The Thing: Terror Takes Shape: A deep dive documentary exploring the film’s production, featuring interviews with key cast and crew.
    • Outtakes: Alternate takes and deleted scenes.
    • Theatrical Trailer: Original promotional material for the film.

    Movie: 96

    John Carpenter's "The Thing" makes its remarkable debut in 4K UHD, offering aficionados and new audiences alike a chance to experience the film as never before. The 1982 classic, which blends science fiction and horror into a tense narrative of isolation and mistrust, receives an upgrade with 2160p/HDR video quality and DTS:X audio. This release not only elevates the movie's visual and auditory experience but reaffirms its position as a cinematic masterpiece. Carpenter’s direction combined with Bill Lancaster's script delivers a narrative both timeless and terrifying, enhanced by Rob Bottin's groundbreaking special effects and Ennio Morricone’s atmospheric score. These elements, now in 4K, allow the film's intricate details and chilling atmosphere to be appreciated anew.

    The film's initial setting in a remote Antarctic research station, against the backdrop of escalating paranoia and alien horror, has never been more immersive thanks to these upgrades. Kurt Russell's portrayal of R.J. MacReady stands out, leading a cast of characters ensnared in a web of suspicion and survival, with the alien entity among them capable of perfect imitation. The tension is palpable, rendered in stunning clarity, making every frame a testament to the film's enduring legacy. The 4K release is accompanied by supplements not found on Universal's original Blu-ray, providing enthusiasts with richer insights into the film's production and enduring impact.

    Notably, Universal's 4K UHD disc does more than just present "The Thing" in unparalleled visual and sonic quality; it serves as a tribute to Carpenter's vision and the film’s narrative complexity. The enhancements illuminate the film's meticulous composition, from the static rawness of its cinematography to its calculated pacing and editing. This release captures the essence of what makes "The Thing" an essential landmark in horror/sci-fi cinema, ensuring that its legacy not only endures but thrives in the technological age.

    Total: 84

    The release of "The Thing" on 4K UHD Blu-ray by Universal is a significant event for fans of the genre and the film. This edition, celebrated for providing the finest video quality seen to date for the classic, leverages a native 4K transfer with HDR10 to breathtakingly enhance its visual depth and detail. While it shines in the video department, surpassing the 13-year-old original Blu-ray's quality with relative ease, there are remarks on audio issues that might not sit well with every audiophile. However, the DTS:X mix is generally acknowledged to be nicely active, enriching the overall viewing experience. Notably, there's some disappointment regarding the scarcity of supplementary features, though the inclusion of an essential audio commentary slightly mitigates this drawback.

    John Carpenter's mastery in filmmaking, particularly through the 70s and 80s, has rendered "The Thing" a standout piece, revered as much for its pioneering make-up effects as for its unrelenting suspense and horror. The film's status as a genre masterpiece remains undisputed, maintaining its grip on the cultural lexicon through decades, aided by home video and now this latest 4K UHD release. However, enthusiasts may want to retain previous boutique Blu-ray editions for their richer array of extra features. Despite these minor setbacks, the unanimous consensus leans towards a high recommendation for adding this release to one’s collection, highlighting its significant upgrade and affirming its must-have status for fans and newcomers alike.

    In conclusion, while "The Thing" on 4K UHD Blu-ray may not be the definitive edition in terms of supplemental content, its unparalleled video presentation and competent audio mix offer an immersive experience that does justice to Carpenter's masterpiece. Whether you're a long-standing fan or discovering this chilling classic for the first time, this release represents a worthy addition to your collection, aligning with the film's enduring legacy and ensuring that "The Thing" remains a pivotal reference point in sci-fi horror cinema. Highly recommended, with the caveat of its few shortcomings taken into consideration.