It is back!

17635272_1388581737828780_8411948519200049512_o-700x350It’s been 27 years since the last It movie and boy was it worth the wait!  I first read the book about 8 years ago and watched the original movie shortly after so I was very excited for this latest adaptation.  Plus, I’m a huge Stephen King fan so I will easily get excited for anything if it’s based off of his work. As a fan of the book, there were only a few things that I was a little disappointed about, but overall this was a fantastic film and I absolutely cannot wait to see Chapter 2 of the movie once it gets made.

I think one of the biggest issues for me is that the book is such a monstrosity that obviously certain plot points and elements of character development are going to get cut.  The fact that this story is being made into two films and that some plot points haven’t made it into the first film shows just how much there is in the book.  So obviously I went in expecting that I probably wouldn’t get to see EVERYTHING that was in the books.  For this adaptation, I think the right things were left in, but there were a few things that were left out that disappointed me. Mainly, I felt like the characterization of the Losers had been a little watered down compared to the book.  It wasn’t bad, but I felt like there were a few character details that I would have liked to at least seen mentioned.

The kids who played the Losers were absolutely phenomenal actors an I was very pleased to see how they had brought some of my favourite Stephen King characters to life.  And Georgie was so darn adorable that I actually felt really uncomfortable watching all of the horrible things that happened to him and It’s puppet of him.  Seriously, these kids are all amazing and they nailed it.  I just wish the writers had included a bit more about the skills that each of the kids has, instead of merely focusing on what makes them Losers.  In the book, each kid is a loser for a reason, but they all each have a special skill that allows them to face Pennywise in some way.  Some of the kids’ skills were hinted at in the movie, but others were glossed over completely – for example, we never really learn about Eddie’s good sense of direction.  Obviously, I know the film can’t include everything from the book but I still think it might have been nice to at least show a little bit more of their skills to show that they are made up of more than just what makes them Losers.  That being said, the ways in which the children overcame their personal bullies (i.e. abusive parents and other children at school) was absolutely perfect, so even though the film omitted and/or glossed over some of the character development from the book these powerful moments definitely served as a way to define these children as strong characters before they even began their final battle against It.  (Minor Potential Spoiler: Actually, Stan is the only child who does not overcome a bully and even falls victim to It – for fans of the book who know what’s coming next, I think this film has done a really good job of setting up Stan’s future actions and motivations.)

There is hope, however, that more characterization and omitted scenes from the book regarding the Losers’ childhood will make it into the second film.  In Entertainment Weekly’s article (WARNING: Article Contains Spoilers) about the film it looks like we might get to see some flashbacks as the adult characters look back on their childhood.  And honestly, I think now that I’ve gotten more of a feel for how the characters have been re-created for the movies I think I’ll be ok going in to the next one.  The Losers are still wonderful, with or without all the stuff from the book I was hoping would make it into the film.

In terms of the smaller details of the film, it was mostly very good, but there were a few missteps.  There were a couple of obvious continuity errors, like Georgie’s walkie-talkie switching pockets between cuts, and one of my friends pointed out that the book Stan is reading as he is practicing for his Bar Mitzvah is upside down.  Despite that, there were some really fantastic details included in the film.  Turtles appear in this film, and for anyone who’s read the book you’ll know this is significant.  I was super excited when I heard the kids call out that they saw a turtle in the water as they swam, and I was even happier when Bill picked up a Lego turtle from Georgie’s room.  I’m interested to see how this plays out in the next film.

The details put into Pennywise were also very impressive.  The way It drools when speaking to Georgie, the way Its jaw unhinges forwards and Its eyes roll back like a shark when It’s about to eat – everything was delightfully horrific.  And Bill Skarsgard is amazing.  When I first heard that It was being remade it was hard to picture anyone but Tim Curry in the role, but Bill had me hooked from the first trailer and he most certainly did not disappoint.  I admire actors who can still do an amazing job while smothered in prosthetics and body paint and Bill Skarsgard definitely pulled it off thanks to his Pennywise-perfect voice and animated facial expressions.  Films like this need a perfectly horrific movie monster, and Bill Skarsgard was just that.

The overall ambiance of the theatre definitely impacted the movie-going experience for me.  We sat in the DBox seats and honestly I’m on the fence as to how I felt about them.  They really only moved when Pennywise was on screen or nearby.  It was certainly a nice touch though – everything is calm while the kids go about their daily activities… Then Pennywise appears and your chair starts shaking!  So in that respect, the DBox movements were well planned because everything made sense and added another layer to the nightmarish encounters with Pennywise.  That being said, the DBox seats aren’t entirely necessary for some films.  Some of the movies I’ve seen in DBox this year have been a perfect fit for those kinds of seats – Doctor Strange and the third XXX film were probably my top two favourites.  With those kinds of movies where there’s lots of movement and action the DBox seats really enhance the experience.  For a film like It, it wasn’t necessary – it was simply a nice touch.  Actually, my favourite use of the DBox seats was during the end credits.  As the credits are finishing, all of a sudden the seats began to shake violently until the disembodied laugh of Pennywise burst through the speakers.  It was a great way to end the film.  Would I see it in DBox again?  Sure.  But if you don’t want to spend the extra money on the fancier seats you can easily pass on this one and just watch it in regular seats.

The absolute best part of the ambience was the audience.  The theatre was packed!  the only empty seats I could see were a couple of DBox seats.  I feel that there are some movies out there that are better experienced with a crowd of people and this was one of them.  It was fantastic to hear whimpers of “Oh no…  Don’t…” coming from a few rows down when one of the kids ventured into a poorly lit area, or to hear a woman shriek when Pennywise jumped out of nowhere.  And of course we all laughed at Richie’s crude jokes.  Probably the best moment for the audience was when Beverly finally fought back against her abusive father – a group of people broke into applause and a lot of other audience members joined in.  Audience reactions added a nice touch and they made some great moments in the film even better.  Just as the Losers need to be in a group to defeat Pennywise, I’d recommend seeing this film on a busy night and/or with a group of friends.

In terms of the horror, it’s manageable.  I saw this film with a group of friends, all with different levels of tolerance to horror films, and we all survived.  One of my friends thought the horror was a little too showy and CGI heavy, whereas my boyfriend nearly squeezed my hand clean off during the scene where Ritchie is trapped in a room with clown dolls.  Personally, I enjoyed the horror and thought it was well done.  It was terrifying in the moment but when I left the theatre I was mentally unscathed and I slept undisturbed.  The basement at work today seemed slightly creepier than usual, but other than that I’m ok.  Now, I did see some young teenagers get kicked out of the theatre for showing up to this film without ID so the horror is pretty intense and you should absolutely respect the film rating (it is 18A here in Ontario).  That being said, even if you’re not typically into horror films, this one is entertaining and survivable if you get scared easily but still want to check it out.

I could probably keep talking about this movie all day.  I’m super excited for Chapter 2 now and I can’t wait to see who they cast as the adult Losers!

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