The Thing (2011)

It has no reason to exist, but then again, what does?
Matthijs van Heinjningen, Jr.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen
The Setup: 
Prequel / remake of the John Carpenter film.

This prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing was largely derided as being merely a remake posing as a prequel, and for, you know, existing at all. What they don't tell you is that it is not at all unpleasant to watch, though it may not leave you with much of anything to reward you for your time. This is supposedly the story of the people who encountered the alien first, ending with the release of the thing-infected dog that brings woe to the characters of the Carpenter film.

In the plus column is Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who brings an intelligent calm to her character, and is magnetic--although her very calm may be part of why the movie never becomes all that exciting. Not to mention that we have a good idea how this will end. Scenes from the Carpenter version are repeated with variation: this time we look for tooth fillings instead of infected blood, and the conceit of the alien morphing into all these different forms has been long drained of its newness or excitement. Still, it goes down smooth, is easy to watch and passes time, although once it's over you may reflect on all the more worthwhile things you could have done.

Should you watch it: 

If you've already seen the Carpenter one and have done all your homework.