I’m sorry. I thought you meant like a root beer float. No thanks. I’m good.
Nostalgia, good marketing, and a love of Stranger Things brought large audiences to see the new adaptation of Steven King’s It, but was it really one of the best movies of the year? The movie follows a group of kids who battle an entity that takes the form of a clown who abducts members of their age group, while mostly ignoring those old enough to drink legally. Spoilers will be largely avoided, but take this as warning to read with caution. What was right? What was wrong? What can we hope for Chapter 2? In general, I am amazed that people were scared by this film, but understand the appeal.
First and foremost, Bill Skarsgard won over at least one skeptic. His performance was original and disturbing. Minus the jiggling bit he did (he looked like he should be making a turkey noise), it managed to be good without trying to outperform Tim Curry’s performance in the original television series. (I promise to try and limit comparisons between the two). The movie was also very pleasing to look at; solid lighting and clean camera work. All of the lead actors ranged from decent to marvelous and I suspect any flaws really belonged to the director. Henry Bowers and Beverly were certainly highlights as far as acting ability, with everyone else close behind.
What bothered me most about the film was that the script seemed to be written for adults, but performed by children. I am not just referring to the unnecessary foul language from our teens (though it could have been cut back and seemed completely out of character for one of them), but also the way they took major wounds that would have limited grown men! Fresh injuries were ignored seconds later and even if they were not that serious (broken bones are, I don’t. care who you are), the pain would have at least been mentally stimulated. Even Eddie, who was raised to be a hypochondriac, failed to freak out about his broken arm enough nor did he reach for his inhaler. These kids never met the situation with innocence or inexperience, which would have allowed them to mature by the end. These were not kids and they should have been…at least in the beginning.
I recollect hearing that good stories had characters transform or grow from the beginning of a story to the end. Yes, I know that this is only part one of two, but even in this one half, there should be character growth. The only one who seemed to change by the end was Bill, and there was really no explanation of why he finally gave up on thinking his brother was alive. All of the characters were the same from start to end. That really makes the characters rather one dimensional. Much like Pennywise, who we spent two hours with and failed to deliver any surprises at the end like a good horror villain should do.
It was also troubling that Pennywise was introduced in horrific glory without any build up to his fearful presence. I didn’t like it about the original movie and certainly did not care for the even more explicit scene here. In fact, all the scenes were disconnected for me moving from one random “scary” moment to another. It left me not scared at all. S many questions as to why these were happening. Why was Eddie walking past the creepy house alone? Why did Ben follow the balloon and easter eggs in the library without saying anything to anyone? They were just random “haunted house” scenes that came from nowhere and went nowhere.
Sure, It is better than most modern horror movies. Is that really saying much? It also carries a fan base that started to develop when the book debuted and grew with a heartfelt television mini-series (despite the silly ending). So, I get the excitement of seeing it get a big budget treatment. With all of this considered, I don’t believe that this adaptation is the masterpiece that everyone is trying to make it out to be. It is an entertaining movie, but a slightly monotonous script and some short-sighted directing kept this from being the next Misery or Silence of the Lambs.