So let me start by saying that I am probably the biggest IT fan I know. The original TV series was almost perfect in my eyes. I had no qualms about defending the show and telling people that, although a little hokey, it was still as solid as it could have been.
I am also a sucker for anything with Jonthan Brandis and Tim Curry, so maybe I am a bit biased.
I also hadn’t read the book in a long time, so upon hearing that the movie was coming, I decided to re-read the book. At 1138 pages, it’s no small undertaking. I did everything I could to power through it and make sure it was done by the time the movie came out, because I wanted to make sure if there were any references, I did not miss them. What a ridiculous goal, but hey, I made it. I finished the book the night before the movie came out. I had my tickets, I knew what was going on, and here I was on opening night. I saw the movie by myself in a sold out theater. I made sure to tell my neighbors on either side that I was sorry if I tossed my popcorn. With a nervous giggle, they all agreed. We didn’t know what to expect. The lights dimmed, and then…..
I am writing this review under the assumption that you’ve either read the book, seen the miniseries, or both. If not, I must warn, you, SPOILERS AHEAD. I will be skipping the usual rundown of the story and writing my review of the things that happened in the movie. I can’t even begin to go into the book because it’s so expansive and so many things happened that it would take me three or four articles to get there.
The very first scene in IT was familiar. We’ve all seen it. Between the trailer, first look, and the book, it’s the same. Billy is setting up the boat for Georgie, getting it all sealed and good to go. I figured when I sat in my seat, that if Georgie’s arm didn’t come off in the first 10 minutes of the movie, it wasn’t done right. Well, it was.
General unease came over me when Pennywise made his first appearance. All I could think from the beginning was, “Nope, nope, nope”. The woman that looks out from her porch, sees Georgie leaning over a storm drain, and doesn’t say anything to him caused me so much discomfort. Even more so when his jaw dislocates and he bites Georgie. Absolutely terrifying. The woman next to me screamed. Then we all laughed (go figure). All I could think about were the ROWS and ROWS of TEETH. Okay, so although dark, we are off to a good start.
The majority of the middle of the movie is standard fare. Not anything new, but it was good as far as production value and making things believable. Of course, Pennywise always makes us feel strange, but honestly, the way that Bev’s dad interacted with her, made me so sick to my stomach. I think the people they cast for characters were done well. All of the kids were believable and enjoyable to watch. You could tell they spent a lot of time together bonding while making the movie and probably beforehand. I also read that they kept Bill Skarsgard away from the kids for the first six weeks of shooting, and the first time they all saw him in full Pennywise getup was in the projector scene. The looks on their faces of horror was completely genuine. And, let’s be real – when Pennywise is coming out of that fridge, I had the same look on my own face! That moment was enough for me to let out my own WHAT THE FUCK. The woman next to me just kept repeating that throughout the entire movie. All I could do was look at her and nod in agreement.
I didn’t really agree with the Barrens being left out – they left out major chunks of the movie that I felt were imperative to things that were to come. I feel that they chopped perhaps a little bit too much out of the movie, although I set my expectations to realistic. I knew they couldn’t include everything. I was ecstatic to see the story lines that outlined the history of the town. From the Black Spot (although short, would have been nice to see more of it) and 29 Neibolt Street, I really enjoyed seeing some things brought to life and given something to picture when you are remembering (or learning).
Towards the end, you can see the ramp up to prepare for the next movie. Pay close attention to the order that the kids leave in – I have from a pretty reliable source that it kind of predicts where things are going. And although they pulled things together well, I had some questions. Where did Henry go? How are they going to “revive” him in the second movie?
I also wondered why they chose to essentially flip Ben Hanscom and Mike Hanlon. I find it curious that they took a character that ends up as an architect and made him the historian, which would seem to cut Mike’s story short. He would have no reason to stay, no interest in the town or it’s histories. I did appreciate Eddie’s mom being a reflection of what she was like in the book, instead of a frail old lady like the series.
Maybe I’m just too stuck to the “old ways” and loved the book too much. Multiple reviews from director Andy Muschietti had him saying things like the plot was going to get wilder and that there would be a lot of content not found in the book or the original series. I think they did a good job pleasing old (read: stubborn) fans and new fans alike.
So, in short, TL;DR: Great movie. If you enjoy the book or the miniseries, take a look. If not, then maybe not for you. Also probably not for you if you really, really don’t like clowns.
As always, thank you for reading! Be sure to leave comments below!
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