It (2017)

it poster 2017 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Smart, fun adaptation

Tries a bit too hard to scare you

Movie Info

Movie Name:   It

Studio:   New Line Cinema

Genre(s):   Horror

Release Date(s):   September 5, 2017 (Premiree)/September 8, 2017 (US)

MPAA Rating:   R

it 2017 pennywise balloon bill skarsgard

Is Pennywise a gift to Stephen King fans?

There is something festering in Derry, Maine.  The adults don’t seem to want to see it, and the children who do end up paying the price.  When Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher) loses his brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott), he vows to find him.  With his friends Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer), and Stanley Uris (Wyatt Oleff), Bill forms “the Losers” who’s basic goal is staying out of the reach of Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) and his gang of thugs.  Joining other outsiders Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis) and Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs), the Losers learn that they’ve all been seeing things…and a clown named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) seems to behind it all.  Whatever “it” is, it wants them…and killing it is their only hope and hope for the children of Derry.

it leper 2017 movie stephen king

Ah…the leper? I wanted the Michael Landon Teenage Werewolf to come back…

Directed by Andy Muschietti, It (or also called It—Part 1) is a partial adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 horror novel.  The film had some production issues and a director change with Cary Fukanago leaving the project in 2015.  The film was released to positive reviews and a massive opening weekend.

It is an odd book for me.  When I read it, I was the age of the kids though it was set in the late ’50s.  Now, I’m the age of the kids as adults and the kids are the same age I was in 1989.  It has changed for me…and now it is nice to see It from a different perspective which works for the most part.

it 2017 slideshow pennywise clown attack

The slideshows we had to watch in the ’80s didn’t have cool 3D clowns that tried to kill you…what a rip-off!

I won’t say that It was a perfect novel, but It did have great moments.  The original TV adaptation in 1990 was forced to skip a lot of the gore and violence.  Here, there are no limits.  The story is streamlined and modernized for the ’80s (it wouldn’t have made sense for Richie’s nightmare creature to be Michael Landon’s werewolf from I Was a Teenage Werewolf), but it also made the horrors more modern for modern audiences.  Despite only being half of an adaptation, it moved quickly and felt like they could have added in a few more aspects of the novel (but at least they dropped the weird Beverly sex scene).

The cast is strong and gets lots of comparisons to Netflix’s Stranger Things (which isn’t hurt by the fact that Finn Wolfhard is in Stranger Things).  It is tough to find solid children actors and for a cast made up of child actors, the director did a decent job.  Tim Curry was (in my opinion) almost the only reason that the first It was viewable, but Bill Skarsgård’s take also has merit and feels a bit more close to the novel’s clown combined with Johnny Depp’s version of Willy Wonka (but without the negative aspects of that film).

it ending sewer fight bill skarsgard jaeden lieberher

Even the losers get lucky sometimes…

The movie is loaded with jumps (maybe too loaded).  It has a lot of scares and in the number of scares (aka Pennywise rushing to the camera), but it loses a little of its surprise aspect in that front (but looks a lot better than the older version of the film).  The story was more naturally scary and did not need all the forced scares.  I will give props to the ’80s details of the film.  There is a theater showing Lethal Weapon 2 and Batman…a double feature I went to at the drive-in that summer (though I do think some of their shirts are more 1984 than 1989).

It is one of the better Stephen King adaptations and it almost washes away the bad taste left by The Dark Tower.  With so many Stephen King references planted in The Dark Tower, I thought that It would have more to sow more seeds for a cinematic Stephen King universe…which would make sense in today’s movie environment (especially since King already built it for filmmakers).  It is followed by It: Chapter Two in 2019.

Related Links:

It:  Chapter Two (2019)

It (1990)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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