The It movies

In 1990 the first adaptation of It was released to the small screen. It wasn’t very well received at the time, but don’t worry it’s now a cult classic and it’s considered to be one of the best adaptations of Stephen King’s books.

The 1990 It was a two part special, which had the length of a 3 hour long movie excluding commercial breaks. So, before you start watching, I recommend having a bottle of eye drops nearby.  The first part of the special focuses on the seven main kids, aka The Loser Club or Lucky Seven, banding together to take down Pennywise, the dancing clown, who has been terrorizing the small town for centuries. The second part is a repeat of the first part except our heroes have their first wrinkles and taxes to pay instead of playing outside in the mud.

I think I could relate to the adults returning to Derry as this isn’t the first time I tried to watch this special. Two or three years ago I was about halfway through the special before I completely gave up on finishing it because of how boring and painful it was to sit through. Then about a year ago I found myself reading Stephen King’s very beefy novel. With a new It movie coming out it was the perfect opportunity to relive those sleep filled nights.

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On second thought, clowns aren’t scary.

So the big question is did I still find It as boring and painful as I remembered?

Well, yes and no. It was still pretty boring but it wasn’t as painful to sit through this time as I had read the book and I knew what I was getting myself into. There were only a few scenes that were like nails on a chalkboard and I’m mainly referring to the flashbacks. I found these flashbacks quite insufferable. They felt so corny as most of the dramatic scenes from the book are toned down for this Saturday afternoon TV time slot. The worst scene in the movie is the rock fight between the Loser Club and Henry Bower’s crew as it felt like I was watching a completely different movie. Pretty much every scene that doesn’t focus on It is like it’s on another planet to me. While I’m still grumpy I was so annoyed that they neutered the disturbed Henry Bowers to just some typical 90’s bully caricature.

I think this mini-series does a great job at keeping the core themes of the book intact. The seven main characters were very well handled. The best thing to come out of these flashbacks is it’s very well structured. It’s split into grown up kids preparing to go back to Derry, then jump to when they were kids and finally their encounter with Pennywise. The downside is the flashbacks feel very condensed to the point that half of their character development is implied. This is very much the case with Mike Hanlon’s relationship with the other Losers as he’s only in 2 out of the 7 flashbacks. I just wish ABC had let the director go with his original idea of a 4 part mini-series.

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Coming next summer: The Loser club change their names to the Underdog Club so they can enter their local baseball team.

The second half I enjoyed much better although there were still some silly moments, so silly that it became an unintentional comedy. My favourites were Richie freaking out in the library and Henry Bowers making the world’s worst assassination attempt. Finally things are getting interesting with the adult Losers recapping the childhood that we don’t get to see in the flashbacks. This all builds up to a final showdown with It and the special effects were the highlight, not the actual showdown. It’s nothing amazing, but I found this half more thought provoking than the first half.

Overall It the miniseries was okay.  The core aspects of the source material are there and it does a pretty good job at being a bit dark. Unfortunately it’s unintentionally funny and the studio interference really leaves you with the feeling that you’re watching two different movies. This is best left for the curious and the Stephen King fans. If you want something for everyone let’s segue to 27 years later where It returned to Derry and this time he’s not messing around.

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On second thought I take back what I said about clowns.

2017 gave us another It movie. An R rated horror flick about … you already know the plot so I’ll just give my pros and cons and be done with it.

This movie received a fair amount of praise when it came out. It was loved by the majority but hated by some. It’s known as one of the best horror movies of the 2010’s. Some people wished it was nominated for an Oscar, something I wouldn’t have considered possible for a horror movie, although this was the year Get Out got nominated for Best Picture! I don’t know, maybe if It had discussed a better political issue like racism for example, then maybe it would deserve a nom.  Honestly none of that matters unless I agree with these claims, which I’ve got to say … I think I can get behind.

After watching the other It series I’m glad this is rated R because everything is a lot less sugarcoated. There aren’t any scenes of grownups riding their childhood push bikes, no childish rock fights or Disney channel acting and no goofy Tim Curry scaring little kids. 2017 It is different as we see people get seriously injured, like missing limb serious! These kids aren’t the Executive Producer’s kids, but hand-picked kids by people who want to make a great movie. None of the kids will have time for fun because around every corner they will be barraged with jump-scares and Bill Skarsgard is freakin’ terrifying!

The horror is real and there are some creative and suspenseful scenes featuring the beloved Pennywise. The film projector scene and inside It’s house being the highlights. It’s a shame that the suspense build up feels like every other horror movie from this decade and don’t even get me started on the jump-scares. Back to Pennywise, as much as I enjoy a Tim Curry performance, even he can’t compete with Bill Skarsgard’s It who really is a pure nightmare. It is used extremely well and since this movie has a bigger budget than the mini-series they really experiment with the more creature side of It as he shapeshifts into all types of ugly looking monsters.

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These kids would struggle to get into a baseball team.

Luckily in this movie It isn’t the only highlight as the Losers were also really good. You can really get behind the bond these kids share. My favourite was Beverly as she was given the best treatment out of all of the Losers and I liked that they made her a lonely tough outcast. I think the key here is that I felt more invested in the struggles of these kids than I did in the previous adaptation.

 It was also a good idea to split Stephen King’s lengthy novel in half as in this version the Losers’ childhood doesn’t feel as rushed. You get enough information on what’s going on in Derry, who It is and where each character is coming from.  It was also a good call to move the kids story from the 50’s to the 80’s. Shows like Stranger Things and a ton of other horror movies from this decade excel  in 80’s nostalgia, so it makes sense for It to hop on the same train.

Yeah, 2017’s It was pretty damn good! The editing and cinematography was also amazing. The performances were great and so are the special effects. It’s a solid movie, not incredible by any means as I have my nitpicks but it was great enough for me to say I’m now looking forward to seeing It: Chapter 2.

This is the end of another post, sorry for the lack of posts in recent months. I have been busy with other non Blog Complainer stuff, but I hope to get back into the groove for the next month where It: Chapter 2 will probably kick things off. Until then I have been The Blog Complainer, signing out.

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