Review for It
We’ve come to another adaptation of Stephen King’s work. As I’ve read ‘It’ and I've heard that the adaptation is supposed to be great, I thought I would it a go.
What’s it about? ‘It’ is set in mostly Derry, Maine and in two different timelines, one in 1957 and the other in 1984. The 1957 timeline follows the protagonists’ narrative as children. There are seven protagonists: Bill Denborough, the stuttering leader of the group, the fat but good-hearted Ben Hanscom, the asthmatic Eddie Kasbarak, the wisecracking smartarse Richie Tozier, the sceptical and rational Stan Uris, the only girl in the group Beverly Marsh and the only black member of the group Mike Hanlon. These seven children do battle with the child-eating, inter-dimensional monster known as Pennywise the Clown or It. When they fail to kill Pennywise in 1957, they return in 1984 to do battle once again. One prominent subplot also sees them facing off any times with the neighbourhood bully Henry Bowers. Henry serves as a human and therefore more relatable, but no less psychotic antagonist.
The good: The length. ‘It’ was released as a two-part TV movie, each part being 90 mins long. Seeing as the book is over 1000 pages long, I would argue that this is a reasonable length for a film, which they achieved by cutting out some unnecessary secondary characters and some lengthy character development. I’m glad they did this, as I thought the book had far too much backstory for its characters and I got very bored reading through parts of it. The film also worked well as a horror. It did well in, rather than showing the murders themselves, it showed the effects on those left behind. Pennywise has the powers to shapeshift into a character’s biggest fear or make them see what they fear most. The film depicted these different images very well, which all added to the scariness of it. I also quite liked the child cast, although it was weird seeing Seth Green, who played the young Richie Tozier, as a sixteen year old.
The bad: There were a couple of scenes that were in the book that weren’t in the film, which I felt should have been. The first focuses on Beverly in the 1984 timeline. In this timeline, she is married to the abusive and possessive Tom Hagen. When she tells Tom, she wants to return to Maine, they get into a bloody and physical fight with Beverly being the victor. In the film, this is mostly omitted, which I didn’t like, as in the book we see Beverly’s inner strength and power as a character, which isn’t conveyed in the same way within the film. The second scene focuses on Mike Hanlon’s past in 1957. Within this scene, Mike’s father tells him how he and some of his friends created a club that was originally just for black people, but soon expanded to encompass all races, but the club was burnt down by white supremacists. I felt that this really highlighted the racial prejudice that black people experienced at the time and by omitting this scene, I felt that the film glossed over this issue. I’m also not sure how I feel about Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown. Whilst, he certainly looked the part, I felt that he was very over-the-top and I didn’t like the gruff and rough voice he used. I think that a smoother, more melodic voice would have been more suitable.
The ugly: Once again we encounter a character with a bad hairstyle. This time it’s the adult Bill Denborough’s ponytail. Some people can pull off ponytails, some can’t. Bill Denborough cannot.
Overall, this was an enjoyable film. It was certainly very creepy and horrific and for the most part, it was a faithful adaption of the book it was based on. However, I felt that the filmmakers could have been a little wiser in the scenes that they omitted, which is why this film is only ‘good.’ That notwithstanding this film brought us a villain so scary that it only needs to be referred to as ‘It,’ much like how V for Vendetta has an anti-hero that is so epic he only needs to be referred to by the single letter V.