The perfect blend of 80’s nostalgia, a classic horror tale and honestly just an overall really fun and scary movie going experience.
Seriously, what is is with clowns anyways? They’re fun, they’re creepy, and they have honestly made me lose more hours of sleep then I care to remember. I’m now a grown man, and I find it hard to believe that Stephen Kings newest adaptation would cause me such pain. Well guess again Nate, because Andy Muschietti’s IT really scared the crap out of me. It’s been a long time since I was this excited walking into a movie theatre, this has been years in the making. Being in production hell, going from one director to another, and casting and recasting the famous Pennywise The Dancing Clown, I wondered if they would ever get around to making this happen. Finally things started coming together when director Andy Muschietti got on board with the project, and even helmed part of the script himself. Having grown up with the 90’s TV mini-series, I fell in love with Pennywise, and was also terrified of him. I can remember watching it when I was very young, probably younger than one should be when watching IT, but props to my grandfather who decided to hell with it, and now here we are 27 years later, and Pennywise still gives me goosebumps. The story is pretty simple, 7 loser battle a clown that brings out their deepest darkest fears in the town of Derry Maine. Boy I would not want to take a vacation to that place.
So like I just mentioned its been 27 years since Tim Curry made parents wash more bed sheets then they could ever dream about. Did you know that in the novel, Pennywise actually comes back every 27 years, I found that very neat. I’m not going to spoil anything in the movie, but this is drastically different from the TV mini-series, and I’ll say this movie is more faithful to the source material, and that made me happy and sad. I was expecting certain things to happen that didn’t and they take certain things in other directions, which in the end I was fine with, because I know they just didn’t want to rehash everything that went on in the mini-series. For instance, I’m going to start with the main attraction, Mr. Pennywise himself. I recall when the first images of Pennywise were released, everyone and their mother threw a massive hissy fit about the way he looked. Well lets just toss this out the window, because take a bow Bill Skarsgard, because you had pretty big shoes to fill, more like clown shoes (I AM RIGHT!) Sorry I couldn’t go this entire review and not toss that pun in there. I don’t want to sit here and compare the two Pennywise’s, that’s not fair to either actor, they are both completely different interpretations of a character. I will say I enjoyed this Pennywise more, he was certainly way more creepy, and people forget that Pennywise is a shape-shifting entity from another dimension, he is more than just a clown. Tim Curry’s portrayal felt more clown like, where Skarsgard’s felt like he was portraying a super natural being. He brings it though, the first 5 minutes of IT, you are sitting on the edge of your seat. You can tell he really put everything into this role, and the kids seemed genuinely afraid of him, almost like they weren’t acting in certain moments, there was real fear inside of them. He was creepy to boot, funny at times, and part of me was kind of rooting for him in moments. He really sucks you into the movie, the very moment you lay your eyes on him. I had one very small gripe with Pennywise, and that was simply just not enough of him. Just the way he was able to put his whole body into his performance, from contorting his body, to using different voices. He was so animated that it made Pennywise so much creepier, and seemed so much more unhinged, that I I wanted to see more, because every time he was on screen, you didn’t know what he was going to do or say. A little more interaction with the kids would have been nice as well, but those are small nitpicks in an overall fantastic movie. There is about a 7 minute stretch, that involves Pennywise, that is some of the most disturbing and scariest stuff I have ever seen in a movie. It sums up his role, and is the purest form of what I want in my dancing clown.
Now for the Losers Club. Bravo to the casting director of IT, because they casted the Losers so damn well. I couldn’t believe the chemistry and the camaraderie between all the kids. They felt like just a bunch of friends, who happened to be in the same movie together. I’m not going to go over seven different performances, but they all deserve credit. For me the stand outs were Finn Wolfhard who plays Richie Tozier. Who serves as the comedic relief for the movie. He has so many incredible one liners, that involve dick jokes, mom jokes and just easing the tension, and I found myself laughing a lot throughout the entire movie. IT is actually a really funny movie, there are a ton of laughs to be had, which makes sense, because it’s about a group of kids. Remember when you were a kid, you knew all the swear words, but you would only say them around your friends. These kids have really foul mouths, and I loved every second of it. Besides being really funny, the movie has so much heart. There are just some real endearing moments, about kids really becoming young adults, and overcoming what scares them most. All around IT just has such a nice blend of different genres and themes, that it makes you appreciate what the director was able to pull off. Sophia Lillis plays Beverly Marsh, and I thought she did such a wonderful job in this role. Her character goes through the most development in the movie I’d say, and she really seemed mature for her age. She has some really tense, emotional scenes, and she showed her acting chops in those scenes. But my man, my guy, Jack Dylan Grazer who plays Eddie Kaspbrak, the geek/germaphobe. I think this kid as a hell of an acting future, there’s just something about him, maybe he reminds me of a younger version of myself. I just found him having almost the most to do in this movie, and he seemed like he was acting the hardest, and I really respect that about the kid. All the kids did such an incredible job, they are all rockstars, and all have bright futures. Everyone and their dog is about to see IT, and these kids are about to become house hold names. Shout out to Port Hope, Ontario, that’s where IT was shot. The cinematography is simply stunning. There are some gorgeous sets, and shots of the town were spectacular. There is just some amazing imagery throughout, with Pennywise, the kids, and just some little subtle things that people may or may not pick up on.
This story just has a really special place in my heart, and it’s movies like IT that make me have such a strong appreaction for the film industry. This is more than just a horror movie, it’s just a really good, well made movie. It’s also more than just a horror story, it’s got a comedy aspect, a thriller aspect and what I like most, the coming of age story. This is at its core a story about kids coming together, and facing their deepest fears. It’s about friendship, about being part of something special, and coming together for a common goal. Each loser overcomes what scares them most, while at the same time dealing with everyday problems, that 13 year olds are faced it on a day to day basis. It just so happens they are dealing with not only bullies from school, but a psycho killer clown, that wants to rip them to shreds. This just reminds me of other movies I hold dear to my heart, Stand By Me, The Goonies, ET, Sandlot and of course Stranger Things. Whenever kids are involved and a great story is being told, I don’t know, something about that just warms my heart. I loved my childhood so much, and it’s nice to just feel like a kid again, get scared in the theatre, not have to worry about the responsibilities of being an adult. Just to be around your friends a go on an adventure, maybe it’s because that’s something I need right now, but these are why these are my favourite types of movies. IT just made me feel like a kid again, while I was sitting in the theatre, scared like I was when I was 6 years old, clinching my seat and trying to not whimper like a baby. I never really look at my watch or phone during movies, but I did during IT, because I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to spend more time with the Losers Club. When the title screen is finally revealed at the end, and it says “Chapter 1”, I smiled, knowing that we will get to see Pennywise again. One thing I will say about chapter 2. I hope they are careful with their casting. They did a perfect job casting the young losers, and I think casting A-List actors, could take away from the movie. Some how make it seem less believable, but I can’t wait to see who they cast. This was just a really special movie going experience for me, and the most fun I’ve had in the theatre in a long time. It’s not the best movie of 2017, but right now I think it’s my favourite. Get over your fear of clowns and go out and see this movie. See you in your dreams!
Check ya later,
Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – IT = 97/100 – Saw it a second time, even better than I thought, original score was 93.