I Wrote my First Movie Review While Giving Birth to a Camera. It has followed me ever since. Please don't mind the Mess.
Rated R for:
Rapist Dads, Walkmans (Walkmen?), characters saying “Where’s the Beef?”
“Dandy” Andy Muschietti
Chase Palmer and Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman from the novel by “Even” Stephen King.
If you like kids getting killed, then the 2017 upgrade of Stephen King’s 3 hundred-thousand-page novel It is just the movie for you. By having more than one scare, It ’17 is already better than the dated milquetoast miniseries from 1990 that Gen-Xers love for whatever reason. If you’d take the nostalgia goggles off you’d realize it’s a snoozefest that’s “scary” if all you watched was network or public television.
I remember reading the interminable novel when I was a teenager. It hit me in my heart place especially hard because my nephew Mortimer fell into a sewer and died. I’d like to think he was taken by an evil clown (at least that’s what I tell his mother). As I read the novel, I thought that it was too long to make an effective movie without having a hard “R” rating. Then I slogged through the miniseries and was proven correct.
All fans of the novel should be thankful that the adaptation will be split into two parts because if the first part is any indication, the filmmakers know what they’re doing.
Unlike everyone that was involved in making The Dark Tower (the most disappointing movie of 2017) last August.
It ’17 opens with the scene you’ve seen in the trailer countless times. We’re in the fictional town of Derry, Maine. It’s the late 80s because 80s nostalgia is just so in right now. Little Georgie “You’re dead” Denbrough (his real name is not important because he will be dead soon) and his brother “Stuttering” Bill (Jaeden Lieberher, not to be confused with Jaden Smitherher) are making a sailboat for little dead Georgie.
Even though Georgie is around 9 years old, we find out he’s about to retire from the police after serving 35 years on the force. He just put a down payment on a Ferrari and is about to propose to his girlfriend of 6 years, Mary Beth. Sure hope nothing bad happens to him.
Something bad happens to Georgie because his boat floats near the sewer and finds a harmless clown that’s named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard, appropriately terrifying and playful). Why wouldn’t you trust anyone you meet in a sewer? It’s almost like a meet-cute, except instead of George and the clown ending up as boyfriend and girlfriend in some inane romcom starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, George ends up in Pennywise’s mouth (“Pop…Pop…Pop”).
Georgie getting dead and missing is not an isolated incident, as we shall soon see.
Meanwhile, Stuttering Bill is s-s-super sad that his dead brother is missing. Thank goodness he has a group of friends to help him get through his brother’s murder by clown. They call themselves the Goonies. Um, Losers Club.
Since Stephen King’s characters are usually archetypes, they will each have 1 trait that defines them as a character.
- Stuttering Bill (Jaeden Martell)- We’ve met him and he stutters. That’s it.
- Ben Hascomb (Jeremy Ray Taylor)- Ben is fat. He’s been doing a history of Derry and found some peculiar stuff
- Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis)- She’s a girl who’s buying her first box of tampons. That’s it. Oh, and her dad may be molesting her.
- Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard)- He’s a motormouth played by one of the kids from Stranger Things. That’s it.
- Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Grazer)- He’s the smallest of the crew and has an overprotective mom. That’s it.
- Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs)- He’s the only black person within a 400-mile radius. If the clown doesn’t kill him the cops will.
Thanks to Ben’s research, the Losers Club learns that Derry has more missing children than “6 times the national average”. These stranger things happen every 27 years with this year being the peak. None of the adults seem to really be stressing out over it. It’s almost like something is clouding their minds. Something…evil.
What Works With It (2017)
- You’ll float too- the opening scene between Georgie and Pennywise is the scariest scene in the movie. Though the film is pretty well made, this scene throws a gauntlet that the rest of the movie has to live up to. Mostly positive results ensue.
- Of all the broadly written characters, only Jaeden Lieberher distinguishes himself as Stuttering Bill while everyone else languishes. I think I stuttered while saying “Lieberher”.
- To reiterate, this adaptation is much, much better than the 90s miniseries simply by earning its “R” rating. If you’re actually frightened of anything from network television, sorry you're afraid all the time.
What Doesn't Work With It (2017)
- 80s nostalgia- Can we give it a rest already? We sat through Stranger Things. One can only hope this phase dies out like _______ (insert antique from the 80s that you’re all thrilled for). Granted, a little nostalgia can make up for some thin storytelling, but it’s getting older than ______ (Insert 80s fad here). I guess 90s nostalgia would be worse.
- It follows- This doesn’t necessarily not work, but once Pennywise takes front and center of the story, there’s nothing that happens that the average horror fan hasn’t seen in countless Blumhouse pictures. You’re grateful for the gore and well-rendered special FX, but you just saw something like it on AHS and you never had to leave the house. Credit director Andy Muschietti (the underrated dark fairy tale Mama) for setting the mood early in the film, but minor points must be taken away for blowing it up in the 3rd act.
- New kids on the block.
Come for the clown. Stay for the scares. Don’t worry if you’ve seen it all before, you’ll still have a fun and floaty good time.
Buy It Here!
Noel Penaflor (author) from California on July 17, 2019:
Poor dead Mortimer.
Jennifer Jorgenson on July 07, 2019: