The first trailer for the upcoming remake/prequel/whatever of "The Thing" has been released and it's sure to spark debate amongst movie buffs.

A group of scientists doing research in the Antarctic discover a strange entity long-buried in the snow, and soon become exposed to the shape-shifting alien's parasitic personality. 

If this is a "prequel" to the 1982 John Carpenter film -- itself a remake of the 1951 Howard Hawks-produced original -- then how come it looks like a note-by-note remake, only with younger (and even female!) leads? 

Sure, this version centers on the Norwegian-U.S. crew who dug up the shape-shifting alien prior to the events of the Carpenter film, but then why are so many visual cues swiped directly from the 1982 film? You can always chalk it up to homage.

Watch the trailer:





Admittedly, it sounds hypocritical to complain about a prequel (still unseen) to a remake, but Carpenter obviously had a deep appreciation for the original John W. Campbell story and the Hawks version (it can even be glimpsed playing on a TV in the director's 1978 "Halloween"). Yet, he also took the visuals and tone in a wildly new direction (who can forget the "Spider-head" crawling across the floor of the lab?). The new trailer doesn't exactly promise anything new to behold -- it comes across as a brainless -- and, possibly, spineless -- retread å la the remakes of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street."

It has some nerd cred though, with a cast that includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead ("Scott Pilgrim Vs. the Word"), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ("Lost") and "Star Wars" prequel bit player Joel Edgerton (who looks a lot like "Avatar's" Sam Worthington). And to give credit where it's due, the trailer smartly refrains from revealing too many special effects and/or glimpses of the thing. Furthermore, at least it's not a sequel that demystifes the perfect ambiguity of the Carpenter film's conclusion.

Dutch filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. ("Red Rain") directed the film, which will be released nationwide October 14.

What do you think of the trailer? And where's Kurt Russell when you need him?