A Review of Stephen King’s, IT -- Part One
A Review of Stephen King’s, IT -- Part One
It has been quite a yeoman’s chore to bring Stepen King’s scary tomes to life on the Silver Screen -- many have tried and most have failed, miserably, especially to those of us fans who have read King’s works. However, there was always hope, though, that an auteur would one day do to one of Stephen King’s popular novels like how the late, great, director, Stanley Kubrick handled the still classic, ‘The Shinning.’ Who could forget Jack Nicholson’s iconic dialogue and overall chilling, murdering, bad guy portrayal of the mad writer’s block author loose on the Tundra… gunning -- or I should rightly say --‘axing’ -- for his wife and infant son.
Andres Muschietti, I am happy to say, has done an excellent job of directing Stephen King’s, IT and made a movie that will be deemed a cult classic to come in the near future. I am not going to elevate Mr. Muschietti’s auteur work to the that of Kubrick since the latter has put together a body of work, which included the aforementioned, ‘The Shinning.’ Let me not give all the props to director Muschietti for II being the pending classic that it is going to be because he had much help: the movie musical score, the set designers, the make–up artists, and moreover, the actors too…with most of the kudos going to the young cast members and with ‘hats way off ‘to Bill Scarsgard, who, deserves an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Pennywise, and whose performance I will get to momentarily.
First, let me tackle ITs’ screenplay, as adopted from the Stephen King‘s novel. One of the salient reasons why we love Stephen King, as a writer, is his penchant for dark humor in the midst of horrifying life... and bringing said life on his pages. Its’ portrayal of bullies brought back to life the issue of bullying... I, and I am certain others, was flooded with bone-chilling memories of my own bully (Colin Manning) from some forty years ago in Saint Kitts. The novel/movie also covered incest and pedophilia and I must say that Maine seems to have more of those, per capita, than probably any other state, at least as portrayed in Stephen King’s novel.
It is the respective back-stories -- which ran the gamut from the childhood pangs of being an orphan to incest -- of the movie’s young characters that told the story; said back-stories fleshed out why the characters behave the way they did and gave the audience a glimpse, as to why Pennywise, the mad cannibalistic clown/bad guy, was attracted to these adolescent characters. The young cast of IT is a joy to see and behold and I could only hope that the powers in Hollywood will wait until these characters are grown up to take on the respective adult roles that will be required of them, if they are going to mirror what took place in Stephen King’s novel.
So I come to Pennywise, the bad guy in IT, as wondrously played by Bill Scarsgard, an actor, whose past work I am unfamiliar with – well, thanks for the introduction, Mr. Scarsgard! We have lauded Andy Serkis for playing Gollum in the Lord of The Rings, trilogy, and so we are going to laud Mr. Scarsgard for his scare-fest of a role, as Pennywise. Pennywise, for me, is to scary movies, what Darth Vader’s character was to Science-Fiction movies. It is the way, Scarsgard speaks, which is an amalgam of dead-pan dry humor, charisma,… and the way he walks or should I say, moving in what may be a hellish saunter. In addition, one could almost smell the stench/stink, even though one is sitting in the movie audience, from Pennywise; yet, as a kid, one could understand why a given child may be tempted to ‘chill out’ with Pennywise -- pun intended. It does not help matters that pennywise is always dribbling like a baby. There is an scene in IT, whereby, one of the characters is studying in a library, that will have one’s heart taking up residence in one’s mouth… I dare anyone who sees that scene to subsequently go to a library and not be affected by those movie memories of Pennywise behaving badly.
The truth is that this movie genre is not my favorite – but since Stephen King is one of my favorite authors and since I have told folks before that IT is the scariest book that I have ever read, it was only fitting for me to see if Hollywood did justice by bringing IT to the movie screen – and they have! I have included the late Warren Zevon’s -- Werewolves of London -- a song that is consonant with the themes of the blog. Drill down in the hyperlink below and enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhSc8qVMjKM