To start off this review, I initially want to give you my first impressions leading up to the release of this film and how it compares to the 1990 two-part TV mini series after viewing the film. I was born in 1987 and to be honest, I didn’t view the movie or even remember it until I was about 7 years old and when I did, I always looked forward to renting this from Blockbuster Video just a mile down from where I live in a small neighborhood in Sacramento. What made this film so special to my childhood horror fantasies was the fact that this was the only film I remember that had two VHS tapes instead of the standard one with most horror films. Other films that I vividly remember renting was Pet Semetary, Misery and of course the 70’s horror classic, The Changeling starring film legend George C. Scott. Stephen King was a horror legend and still is to this day and that is what makes his book to film adaptions so widely popular to audiences today. I’ll be honest, when I first heard news of this horror classic being remade, I was a bit skeptical because we have lately been seeing a trend of classics being remade and turning out horribly, but that’s Hollywood and whatever makes the big bucks, they will keep doing.
After seeing promotional images of Pennywise the clown, I started to become optimistic that this film will probably turn out to be okay and wouldn’t disappoint the fans because it was heavily adapted from the original story that Stephen King published. Not to say that director Tommy Lee Wallace’s mini TV series adaption wasn’t closely related to the book, but there were many elements from the book that prevented Tommy Lee Wallace to show on screen to a TV audience at that time. Wallace’s 90’s mini series will always be a classic to me, even if fans of the book disagree. Having not read the book, my first initial thoughts on Pennywise was a bit skeptical because growing up, I always imagined Tim Curry’s iconic adaption of Pennywise the clown and how horrifying his performance was in that film that still sticks to me to this day. So for my readers, some of you are thinking, how can you be a fan of this film and not have read the book? Simple, I never was interested in reading books 1000 pages long. I remember reading an article on the creation of Pennywise in this 2017 film adaption and director Andres Muschietti, being a fan of the book, wanted the elements of the film to be closely depicted to the story and the image of Pennywise when it was alive during the 20’s made sense rather than us seeing another iteration of Pennywise dressed up in a bozo the clown suit, in which Tim Curry portrayed.
Okay enough said, lets get to my thoughts on the 2017 film adaption and how it compares to my nostalgic taste buds from the original TV mini series. I was lucky enough to view this the first night before its official release screening here in my hometown. I was fully on board and anticipated after seeing numerous teasers and trailers leading up to this films release. Intrigued by every one, I was growing more and more anticipated to view this film. I still couldn’t believe ‘IT’ was being remade because I honestly felt that over the years of its original release, its been often overlooked. ‘IT’ is a 125 minute film and it was perfect to tell its story fully, which if you have seen the original, will continue in a part two when the Derry kids are all grown up and will face the beast one final time. Keep in mind that this will be 27 years later, so expect these actors to be well in their 40s when they do cast for part two.
Going on to my impressions of the film, the first scene. WOW. I was so intrigued to see how close this film would relate to the 1990 mini series and I wasn’t disappointed. Granted the original opening scene started off with It’s first victim of Lorrianne, but regardless while we view the death of Georgie everything was spot on to the original. What intrigued me the most is to see what would happen to Georgie and if they would actually show this kids arm being bitten off by the clown. As fans will know from the original film, Wallace was censored to not show anything grueling at the time, so as we see from the original film, the scene fades out with Georgie yelling just as the clown is about to bite off his arm.Nothing was set back with this film as we got the full picture of what happens, with no interruptions or fades. By far the film was way more in-depth, all the way down to each characters encounter with the clown. From start to finish I was entertained and interested to see how different this film will play out in comparison to the original. Lets go on to the characters and how they compare to 90’s version. DIFFERENT but also these characters were portrayed in different era’s. 80’s plagued the theme of this film all the way down to attire and the soundtrack, ala New Kids on the Block. Characters in this film were way more entertaining and humorous and that is what I enjoyed most about this film. Also was the chemistry these kids had on screen, it was so natural. Theres a huge representation gap between kids being portrayed in the 1980’s compared to the 1950’s. A lot of the humor was closely relate able.
There was one key element that I was looking forward to but didn’t see, which was Richie’s encounter with the werewolf incarnation of IT. Now not having read the book, I am sure this was probably mentioned in the original story but from my recollection of the original film, he was afraid of werewolves. I may be getting this point wrong on all counts, but we didn’t get to see that in this film and I was a bit bummed. Although there is one specific scene which I don’t want to spoil where we kind of see it, which was showed in the trailer as well. It was nice though to see certain elements of the film that I remember from the original film like Billy’s vintage bike ‘Silver’, which made an appearance in the film as he yell’s ‘High Ho Silver!!!’. These kids did a phenomenal job portraying their characters. Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise to me was great for its time, but I wasn’t as creeped out by him than I was with Tim Curry’s portrayal. His version of Pennywise just didnt’ gel with me even when I saw the first promo image of him in his full costume. Maybe if the actor was a bit more older then it might strike me as being a bit more creepy, but that’s just me. Another thing about horror films now of these days are the jump scares. Expect a lot of them in this film. Having seen many horror films of this generation, its easy to predict when they will happen so they didn’t affect me at all. I don’t want to go too in-depth as there are different themes going on for new or original IT fans that I don’t want to spoil so I will conclude this review and experience.
Overall, I can’t hate on anything about the story of this film because its a close adaption of the book in comparison to the 90’s mini series and it also brought more elements from the book on screen with less restrictions to show more gore than Wallace’s adaption could. This film held its own as a remake and it left me with strong optimism that if a horror remake is done right, it will prevail in my book. I am a fan of this 2017 film and it bode well with it’s original counterpart. For fans of the film, go into this film with an open mind and don’t expect too much or make quick judgement but appreciate what was done with this film. The story of this film all the way down to character development, plot and the infamous Pennywise is great for this generation of horror lovers, which will be remembered from here on out. Bill Skarsgard is no Tim Curry, but his performance was his own and it brought a whole new level of horror to audiences around the world. Kudos!