Thing Prequel screenwriter Eric Heisserer has recently popped up on the forums over at thethingfan.fr.yuku.com to challenge inconsistencies in the continuity between the 2011 Prequel and Carpenter’s 1982 classic.
One of the issues that’s consistently highlighted by some fans about the Prequel is that is eschews the thermite blasting techniques that are used by the Norwegians to reveal the alien spaceship that are documented in video footage in Carpenter’s version.
There are other inconsistencies too but this one is commonly cited in criticism of the way the Prequel diverges from perceived canon.
Heisserer has posted a reply on the forums to clearly state that it was his idea to change this part of the story and it seems he has the science to back it up:
“I spent a few weeks interviewing scientists in this and relative fields, including a forensic archaeologist. My father was a classics professor for thirty years, so I had a need to appeal to the scientific community as a way of respecting him. What I learned from the scientists was this: Using thermite or similar explosives to detonate the ice directly over the ship is a “remarkably stupid idea that no scientist of merit would choose to do.” It endangers the very artifact or site you’re trying to access. Improperly done, you can have a few million tons of ice come down and destroy the thing you’re trying to get to. The way it’s done is: You dig in (with explosives, perhaps) nearby and find a route on a horizontal path to the ship in order to slowly excavate it or explore it. If you need to come in from the top, you only do that with a tunnel using drills. But a route from the side is the scientifically sound concept,” Heisserer writes.
The screenwriter goes on to tackles the issue of freeing the Thing from the ice.
“My two archaeologists watched the movie and had me pause it there, asking “Why would they dig out the creature that way? That makes no sense.” I asked them to explain, and they said it was a similar principle to the space ship: If you go in from the top to dig out the creature from the ice, you’re making the job ridiculously hard on yourself. You have to lift it up. It requires more equipment. Whereas someone with a little smarts would instead dig in through the side. That’s where the director had the idea of the creature bursting out on its own through the top, so we wouldn’t have to shine a light on the rather awkward and unwieldy approach to removing the Thing,” he writes.
There’s quite a sound rationale in Eric’s thinking and it does highlight the fact that as great as Carpenter’s film is – the science in it is occasionally flawed.