IT’s back! After twenty-seven long years, IT, is finally back. Pennywise has become one of the big names in horror, so of course this novel is getting multiple cinematic lives. Horror writer Stephen King’s 1986 story about a fear-devouring, shapeshifting, demonic power that is fought by seven misfit children. Who after finally defeating the evil clown, vow to reconnect and take IT down, yet again, if the evil ever returned.
Inevitably about thirty years later, IT returns and as adults they must destroy the clown again. Pennywise, the Dancing Clown, is back to terrorize children on the big screen. In the 1990 original IT movie, directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, Pennywise was portrayed by the beloved, Tim Curry, who continues to instill a clown-phobia into children everywhere. With Tim Curry leaving such large shoes to fill as the infamous clown, many were skeptical of Bill Skarsgård’s ability to live up to his predecessor. Skarsgård’s performance certainly was up to par, however these two clowns varied from each other, making this comparison difficult to make. With technology being more advanced, it was easier to make this remake more gory and evil. Though the original has its sometimes cheesy, yet wonderful thrills. However, I would like to have seen a little less CGI and more of Skarsgård’s amazingly creepy, killer clown performance.
Bill Skarsgård made Pennywise his very own. I appreciate that he and the writers made this clown a one of a kind, with a very different appearance and a much more sinister portrayal. They still managed to pay great homage to the original Pennywise (Tim Curry), with the clown’s very evil and childish charm. As for the seven children, the characters stayed relatively the same. Besides the fact that the original cast took IT (1990) down in 1960, and not in the late eighties, they still remained pleasingly similar. The wholesomeness and charm of this group of outcast kids, who not only have to fight off their bully Henry Bowers and his goons, but also a shapeshifting demon, who morphes into your deepest fears continues to be heart-warming in this film.
I noticed if you follow the timeline, our 2017 cast are children, around the same time the cast of the 1990 film was supposed to be back in Derry, as adults destroying IT. The newer production also had a strong sense of late eighties nostalgia. I’m sure the kids who saw IT (1990), twenty-seven years ago had a few childhood flashbacks. IT (2017) was also incredibly dark compared to the original. Director Andy Muschietti, who directed Mama in 2013, wanted to go a different direction with the film.
He said in a recent interview, “In the book they’re children in the ’50s, so the incarnations of the monsters are mainly from movies, so it’s Wolf Man, the Mummy, Frankenstein, Dracula, etc. I had a different approach. I wanted to bring out deeper fears, based not only on movie monsters but on childhood traumas.” Muschetti brought out very real and very ugly fears that children sometimes face. For example, Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis) whose father has always been abusive throughout the book and movies, became even more repulsive in this recent release. Exchanges between Beverly and her father insinuated Bev’s father was sexually abusing her, as well as physically and emotionally abusing her. The other children also faced neglect and abuse, but not any that were quite as alarming. Eddie’s (Jack Dylan Grazer) mom also was abusing him, by being paranoid of the possibility of her son getting ill and dying. So she kept him on a tight regimen of “gazebo” pills. Eddie still remains a neurotic, thirteen year- old, hypochondriac.
The 1990 release was a whopping, three and a half hour movie.The 2017 release remained just over two hours, and thankfully Muschietti realizes that not many can sit and watch a movie for that long. So he split his masterpiece into two movies. The next IT movie is scheduled to come out sometime in 2019, and Muschietti confirms, that the new movie’s timeline will continue to be another twenty-seven years down the line.This is was great film to start off the fall movie season. This first part of the franchise has done well for itself at $189.24 million so far, that I am sure the next chapter of this movie will be just as crazed over as the first.