By Luke Balderez:
Twenty-seven years have passed since the original miniseries based on Stephen King’s novel aired on TV, which means it’s time for the return of Pennywise.
Many adaptations of Stephen King’s works have graced the big screen and many of them have failed to capture the tone and spirit of King’s original work, like “The Dark Tower,” which released earlier this year. Sometimes, however, you receive something else entirely, something like “The Shining,” “Stand By Me” or “The Shawshank Redemption.” Every so often you receive truly brilliant films that show the excellence of King’s original works by captivating the audience and filling them with the heart of the novel. “IT” is one of those rare gems.
The film is fantastic. One difference from the original novel is that the new film takes place in the ‘80s. With the time period comes reminders of “The Goonies” and the more recent “Stranger Things,” which was inspired by King’s original novel.
The movie mainly revolves around the relationship of seven kids, the losers’ club, and their attempt to save the town of Derry, Maine from Pennywise, the dancing clown, an evil being that has fed on the town of Derry once every 27 years since the town was founded.
Having first read the book in the fifth grade and being a fan of the original miniseries since even before then, I entered the theater filled with questions. Would the movie be any good? Would they capture the lovable members of the losers’ club correctly? Could Bill Skarsgard possibly live up to Tim Curry’s performance that turned Pennywise the clown into a horror icon? The answers are yes, yes and yes.
The child actors are completely believable and most of the characters capture the tone of their source material. The only issue I had with the kids is the character of Mike Hanlon. In the novel, Mike has a deep backstory and a truly believable relationship with the main bully, Henry Bowers. In the movie however, the character of Mike has none of his backstory explored and no real moments with any of the other members of the club. Other than that, the chemistry of the kids is off the charts.
Pennywise, the dancing clown, is a character that has become bigger than the film itself, manifesting himself in the minds of many people as a fear of clowns, mainly thanks to the iconic performance of Tim Curry in the first miniseries. That being said, Bill Skarsgard had a lot to live up to and he hit it out of the park. Instead of trying to redo what Curry already had done so well, Skarsgard had another take on the character. Rather than being funny in a strange and likable way, Skarsgard’s version of Pennywise is more similar to the novelized version in that he’s completely horrifying.
This new film is a must-see, not only for horror film and Stephen King fan, but movie fans in general. If you like “Stand by Me,” “The Goonies,” or “Stranger Things” then you will absolutely love this film.