"It": A Review
"Oh no, here we go again. Another review of a movie based on a book that Ben has red. Now we have to read the words "source material" and "accurate" over and over while he gives props to a author who does not need the help." That's you, that's what you, the reader sounds like. To be honest I feel your pain, you came here to find out if a movie is good or not and all I give you are opinions on how closely the movie resembles something you have no interest in. I really did want to try to avoid doing this for this review but the fact of the matter is 2017s IT is probably the best adaption of a book that I have read in quite a long time.
For all of you who never had anything to with the book (Another classsic from the master of horror, Stephen King) or the TV movie, IT centers around the town of Derry, Maine and the strange events that seem to occur there. "People disappear at 6 times the national average, and for kids it's worse." The problem has been going on for generations but it's not until group of youngsters dubbed "The Losers Club" all in some way terrorized by waking nightmares, decide to try to find out why their siblings, classmates and even enemies have disappeared. Meanwhile a terror far greater than they could imagine lurks in the sewers under the city, waiting to be strong enough to emerge and feed once again. Throw in some deranged school bullies and you have yourself quite a coming of age story.
The first thing I want to go over is "The Losers Club", they are not just central to the story, but give almost every type of viewer a way to put themselves right into the action. We have.....
Bill Denbrough who's brother Georgie meets a terrible fate at the hands of IT and even with his stutter is the leader of the group
Richie Tozer the "trashmouth" of the group who always has either a usuially whitty and often dirty quip or an obscure impression to lighten the mood.
Eddie Kaspbrak by way of his mother is a germaphobe and carries his inhaler and fanny pack of pills with him everywhere.
Stan Uris is probably the most skeptical of the Losers, Stan is the least likely one to put himself in harms way.
Ben Hanscom is the new kid in town, not to mention he is a little overweight. These things have forced him to spend most his his time in the library studying history, until he joins "The Losers Club" that is.
Beverly Marsh, the only girl in the group and despite the various difficult home lives for the entire group, Bev probably has it the worst. Rumors round school have pushed her to the fringes of her classmates.
Mike Hanlon is the true outsider as he does not go to the same school as the other Losers. He has been living with his grandfather since his parents died in a fire when he was young.
Each character is so vastly different and relatable to in some way. This piece of genius writing is moved over to the movie flawlessly with great acting and terrific character work. There are some tough traits in these characters that I thought may be difficult for younger actors to pull off (Bill's stutter and Richie's impressions) but through great acting and some solid editing they brought The Losers Club to life.
I have to be honest with you guys, I never actually red IT. I listened to it, all 48 or so hours. With that amount of time spent there are parts of that book that are just stuck in my head, Neibolt street, the barrens and downtown Derry are almost like memories from a childhood I never actually lived. I nearly had my breath taken away when I first saw Mike riding his bike down the hill into downtown Derry, it was exactly as I had imagined it. For some reason the new trend for sequels/reboots is to find some way to deviate from the source materiel in the most annoying ways for fans of the original (Dark Tower I'm looking at you). IT does the opposite and completely embraces the book. Even though these moments are brief like the few times that Bill's bike "Silver" gets some screen time, it feels good to know that the filmmakers were thinking of the OG's.
Director Andy Muschietti has to take a good amount of credit for the praise I have laid out for this movie in the previous paragraphs. His handling of child actors and the amount of fan service is impressive, and even though I did not really have faith in him to handle such a large scale movie I have to say he did a great job. That is not to say that he is not perfect here, while almost all of the scares in IT are well earned, there is a lack of originality. A scary thing rushing at the screen gets stale after a while even if you use some sort of weird blur effect. The CGI was also lacking and felt as if it were from when the first movie adaptation came out.
There is also the issue that not every Losers Club member gets fair screen time. Michael and Stan in particular get very little to do, but in a movie that is already 2 hours and 15 minutes long there was not much time for a whole lot else. Another way they solve the issue of converting a 1,000+ page book into two 2+ hour movies is to just have scenes that blurt out huge parts of the plot and even the subtext with no effort to make it interesting. There were a few little secrets and story elements that I was excited to see if people figured out or how the filmmakers would address certian ideas and most of those were either explained to hell or entirely left out (I'm not talking about the GB scene that has no business in the movie).
All in all IT is a really solid horror movie. It does what it wants to well and I think services both the hardcore fans and new ones. IT is not an entirely well made movie, it is paced well and is mostly enjoyable but in the horror genre these days IT can feel like a masterpiece. If you keep your expectations in check and just allow yourself to get spooked then you will have a fine time. And for the inevitable group of people who will declare "I did not get scared once!" or "I thought it would be scarier" get over yourselves. Who are you impressing really? If you are not getting scared by movies then you are watching them wrong, going in attempting to be a tough guy/girl and somehow defeat a scary movie is ruining the whole point of the experience. The rest of us will enjoy the full range of emotions movies can provide and IT does a pretty good job of scaring this viewer, and I once watched Suspuria with ALL the lights off.