Monday, July 30, 2012

The Many Faces Of Mary (Elizabeth Winstead)

Uncertain Mary

She’s a paleontologist and a famous scientist asks her to drop everything and join his team in Antarctica. But all he can tell her is there is a structure and a specimen. And she must decide right then and there if she will accompany him.

Amazed Mary

The structure under the Antarctic ice is revealed to be a huge spaceship. All she can do is stare at it.

Professional Mary

The specimen is revealed to be an alien creature frozen in the ice some distance from the spaceship. Mary studies the situation and tells the scientists she can excavate a block of ice with the creature in it in less than a day.

Sad Mary

The other scientists want to drill into the block of ice she excavates to get a tissue sample of the creature. Mary advises against it but they won’t listen to her.

Grief-Stricken Mary

The creature has broken out of the ice and killed a scientist. If only they had listened to her.

Puzzled Mary

If the creature was simply eating the scientist how did the metal surgical appliance become detached from the scientist’s arm bone?

Suspicious Mary

The strange pieces of metal look like dental fillings. Did the creature take over one of the other scientists and expel the metal dental fillings from its new body the way it had started to expel the metal surgical appliance from the first scientist it ate?

Horrified Mary

If only she had figured out the dental fillings mystery in time to warn the helicopter pilot before he took off and got attacked by the creature he wouldn’t have crashed.

Vindicated Mary

Now that they’ve had to use a flame thrower to destroy three more of their party who were half-human and half-monster, everyone believes her and they agree to use science to destroy the creature.

Fighting Mary

Science hasn’t helped as much as everyone had hoped it would. Now there is only life and death and fighting.

Desperate Mary

The hand grenade will destroy the monster and start a chain reaction that will blow up the spaceship. Now there is only running.

Cunning Mary

The only other survivor used to have a metal earring in his ear. Now he doesn’t. That can only mean one thing. Luckily Mary still has her flame thrower. Now there is only Mary.

Existential Mary

Mary has killed the creature and destroyed the spaceship. But what will become of her? She knows she can’t go back to civilization herself because she knows she herself might not be human anymore. What is she and what will become of her?


The 1951 version of the “The Thing” is a great movie, a cinema classic. Great writing, great acting, great filmmaking. An extraordinary film.

The 1982 version directed by John Carpenter of “The Thing” is less good, but stylish and fun to watch.

The 2011 version of “The Thing” is really awful. One or two of the computer special effects somehow manage to look worse than the special effects from the 1951 version. But the actors and actresses give it their all, trying to make the best of the almost nothing the writer and producer and director have given them. And, of course, it does have Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

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Limits Of A Gadget: A Love Story

In that post “Limits Of A Gadget: A Love Story” I say:

I like gadgets. Gadgets seem to like me.
That is better than being a creature
from another world stuck at the North Pole
with military men and scientists.

I know the difference between the North Pole
and Antarctica! But the 1951 version of

“The Thing” for some reason was set
up north and the other versions were set
down south. When I make a reference
to this as a mythos I never know which setting
I should refer to. I sometimes use
the North Pole just because the 1951
movie is the best, and because
“Frankenstein” (I know, a different
story, but also a story about
an intimate confusion of
creatures) the narrative ends
“...the most northern extremity
of the globe.”

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