Earlier this week, Jeremy brought you the news that Universal was bumping the newest Fast and the Furious franchise entry to April 29th of next year, a move that showed confidence by leading off the summer with a sequel in a series of films that only seems to grow more popular. As much confidence as that demonstrated in Fast Five, it came at the expense of bumping the prequel film The Thing to an unknown new date. Speculation ran rampant until word emerged that the bump was to make room for some reshoots the director Matthijs van Hijningen Jr. is planning. “Reshoots” is a nasty word to drop, especially in reference to a controversial (at least among horror geeks) film that skates a fine line between goodwill and dismissal.
Drew McWeeny spoke to producer Marc Abraham and got a few more details about the reshoots, and while I would hesitate to use the word “spin,” good sir McWeeny is definitely an advocate of chilling the fuck out about reshoots, and that they should be a part of the process regardless of the film. This is true, but it’s tough to deny that a ton of films that have gone through this process turned out to be turds regardless of extra time and footage with which to finesse their cuts. It also speaks volumes when filmmakers have things planned well enough and have put enough care into pre-production that they get what they need the first time around. That said, there is absolutely nothing inherently terrible or creatively bankrupt about knowing you need something and actually going about getting it.
According to McWeeny the goal of the reshoots are specifically to “…enhance existing sequences or to make crystal clear a few story beats or to add punctuation marks to the film’s feeling of dread,” with the first encounter with the mysterious creature being part of that. He also rightly notes that the original film shot all through principle photography without knowing exactly what the special effects were going to look like, or even how there were going to be accomplished. It’s absolutely true that I’d rather them shoot more material instead of hiring a few extra animators to CGI in a fix for whatever the creature scenes currently lack.
Ultimately this doesn’t mean much to you and I, sitting on the other side of the screen with no context with which to judge the situation. We can only hope to hear a new date soon (hopefully one that plops in the Halloween season?), and that the final product doesn’t do an injustice to the name it bears.