You may recall that last week, after an aborted attempt, I promised to provide a review of the film this week. Here it is.
First, let me just say that IT is a good movie. I could just leave it there, but things aren’t so simple as this makes it sound. IT is good. The problem is, I wanted either a GREAT film or a terrible one. I wanted to be either blown away, or for the movie to be so lousy that I could with relish tear it to pieces. Instead what I got was merely a good motion picture.
The movie SHOULD be judged on its own merit, not taking into account the novel on which it was based or the 1990 miniseries. Alas, that isn’t quite possible. Novels and movies are such different artforms that I can largely ignore the ways in which the film deviates from the book. The miniseries, though, casts a shadow much longer and harder to escape. Is IT better than the miniseries, or inferior? It is both. Some things it does better, and in some ways it falls short. This second is largely due to the constraints of time necessitated by a theatrical movie. The miniseries simply had more time to develop characters and storylines. Particularly I missed the subplot with the villains, Henry Bowers and his bully friends, which was greatly truncated for the film.
In terms of acting, the two run neck-in-neck. Both feature terrific casts of young actors. Overall, if you put a gun to my head and made me choose, I’d give the edge to the new movie. The kids are fantastic. Unfortunately, the kids being so good only serves to draw attention to the movie’s major weakness, Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise. Skarsgard is good in the role. He gives a credible performance. Which would be sufficient, if only…
It’s like with 1931s DRACULA and the Spanish-language version they filmed at the same time. The Spanish film is hands-down the better film. EXCEPT. The Spanish version’s leading man cannot in any way hold a candle to Bela Lugosi. The same is applicable here: Skarsgard is good. But he isn’t Tim Curry. Not even remotely. Curry’s Pennywise blows his away. I read somewhere that the movie’s director admitted to not liking Curry’s performance in the miniseries. If this is true, I have to wonder why he allowed, or instructed, HIS Pennywise to try so hard to ape Curry’s clown–which also served to highlight just how inferior Skarsgard’s version is. But, again, he’s GOOD. He just isn’t Tim Curry good.
Them’s my two cents. IT is a good adaptation, worth watching, but ultimately it left me wanting more. Maybe that isn’t fair, but I’ve seen the miniseries–and remember, there are several ways in which the new IT exceeds the older one–and, as with anyone unfortunate enough to encounter the killer clown, once seen, there is no un-seeing IT.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!