When IT was first announced as being up on the remake slot (or re-adaptation if you want to approach it that way) I was not really that thrilled with the idea. I once met the director of the 1990 TV miniseries version of IT. I straight up told him that I blamed him for the reason I didn’t like clowns. Anyone in my age range will tell you that Tim Curry pretty much ruined the ever enjoying a clown again. For me there was no way anyone could ever do Pennywise justice. Tim Curry had terrified a whole generation with some grease paint and a wicked smile.
The longer it went on I hoped more and more that IT would be put in the old development hell section of Hollywood where things like Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash or such gems as a sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep seemed to live. I wouldn’t get my wish. I began my crusade of denying this movie. Hell no we won’t go . . . . to the cinema to see a new IT! The chant was awkward so I dropped it but I kept saying there was no way a new IT would be good. Then the first trailer hit. Suddenly a slight crack in my facade began to show. I was still adamant that Pennywise wouldn’t be nearly as good as Tim Curry’s but damn did the footage look pretty good.
Trailer 2 hit. The cracks were really showing now. IT actually looked scary. As much as I love the 1990 TV movie version because it scared my 10 year old self senseless it has lost some of the scary luster it once held and now I just appreciate it for how it USED to scare me. These trailers had made it look actually scary again. Yeah but still he was no Tim Curry. What I learned this weekend is that he didn’t need to be.
I’d been waiting to hate on this movie since it was first announced and now here I sit opening weekend telling you I can’t. Don’t get me wrong, it still has some quibbles with me, but I actually can say I really enjoyed it. They took a story I’ve loved all my life and gave it a loving tribute to it’s source material. The time frame is updated to 1989. Making the kids pretty much the same age I was when I saw IT for the first time. Suddenly I’m caught in a nostalgia loop. I’m reliving my childhood through these characters and they were also about to get the piss scared out of them by a killer clown.
The casting is about spot on perfect for me. I have no complaints what so ever. Bill is great as an awkward leader consumed by his brother’s disappearance. Eddie is one sneeze away from being put into an iron lung by his over bearing mother. Richie is the foul mouthed class clown we all wished we could have been. And there’s Bev. Poor poor Bevie. I worry about her a lot.
These kids feel like friends. It’s no stretch of the imagination to see these kids hanging out. The chemistry on screen is near perfect. Henry Bowers has traded in his duck tail hair cut and leather jacket for a mullet and sleeveless t-shirts fitting right into the 1989 setting. Pennywise. Oh let me tell you about this Dancing Clown. Bill Skarsgard brings a new twist onto King’s terrifying shape shifter. He doesn’t try to do what Tim Curry did. He didn’t do an impression. He creates something new. Which is exactly what you need in a remake like this. Something new. This evil clown doesn’t lure you in with his innocent clown tricks. No. This clown lures you in with his smile and then keeps right on smiling as he rips your guts out. If Tim Curry gave 10 year old me nightmares then Skarsgard is going to give the almost 40 year old me some sleepless nights for the next few days.
I am pleading with you if you have been on the fence to give the new IT a try. And this is from a fan who denounced it from the start. Give it a chance. You might just get a few night terrors of your own.
I actually have seen IT twice this weekend. First with a few friends I had made plans with a few months ago and then just today I got a chance to go see IT with an invitation for free passes to try the 4DX version. A new 4DX theater had opened in Illinois and I was curious to check it out so I gladly accepted. With 4DX you get an immersive experience. Your seat will move and vibrate along with the movie. You’ll get fans blowing when the characters are riding their bikes so you can feel the wind rushing past your head. New smells will enter the theater during every scene. There was strobe lights to help accentuate the lightning. Mist and air from the seats in front of you to bring you into the wet and surprising scenes. Seems like a great idea . . .
. . .unless you’re trying to watch an atmospheric horror film. Sadly it didn’t help with this movie. The audience also didn’t help. Lots of talking and people checking phones. Part of me thinks the 4DX didn’t help with this. When you have air blasting in your face and your friends are laughing it seemed to open up the idea that you could just talk about it at full volume. Many times during the film my seat was shaking and moving all over the place and making it hard to pay attention to what was going on on screen. I looked over at my friend Scott who came with me to see him almost a foot higher than me because our seats were moving at such a weird pace.
Also I didn’t smell anything. Nothing seemed to change during the movie. I felt bad as this was Scott’s first time seeing the film and what was supposed to be an immersive experience seemed to be distracting him from actually enjoying the movie. I don’t think it’s a bad idea overall. If I saw Jurassic World in this theater I probably would have enjoyed every second of it but for a movie like this it seemed to make it harder to enjoy the film. I say YES to 4DX but not for something like this.
Outside of that GO SEE IT! From the box office it would seem like a lot of you did which means we will probably see more R rated horror films and more Stephen King in the theater. Both of which can be good things.
On the way home from the theater me and Scott decided to break out the recorder and talk about our experience. There was a lot of road noise so I did best I could to get rid of it but you may hear some bleeps and bloops. Sorry.
Music provided by The Fantastic Plastics.