Introducing guest blogger Movie Buddy (MB)! He was kind enough to write up a review for a movie I refused to see for reasons expressed here. (So yes, apparently, I am a chicken.)
Hello there, everybody! This is Movie Buddy (MB) stepping in to help Miss Movies this week. It seems that she came down with a case of “chicken-itis”, which is very fitting because this week’s movie has one of the most iconic, terrifying clowns in all of cinema. That’s right, we’re talking about Mr. Pennywise himself in IT (2017). Now, I am going to set up my review format a little different from Miss Movies because that’s her style of writing that best fits her. I will be hitting on some of the same subjects as she does in her reviews. I will also start with a non-spoiler plot review for those who haven’t seen the movie to help determine if you want to go or to just skip this one. I will then give fair warning and go into a spoiler-filled review.
I have to say, one of the best things this movie has going for it was the absolute spot on casting; from the Loser’s Club, Pennywise, the bully, and even to the parents of the kids, all were perfect. Bill Skarsgård, in my opinion, had the hardest job in the movie because he had to overcome his predecessor Mr. Tim Curry’s take on the character, along with making it new and interesting. Let me tell you this, he completely knocked his take on the character out of the park. He was able to take all the scariness of the old Pennywise and mix in an inviting and trusting nature that lured you in.
For the Loser’s Club, each individual character has specific attributes that made the group as a whole amazing. Let’s start with the leader of the club, Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Liebeher) who showed the perfect mixture of a damaged past mixed with relentless determination, to his family and his friends. Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard) was the funny man of the group with a million one-liners perfectly timed and masterfully hit. The jokes that didn’t hit right in the group were designed to fall flat on purpose to show that he was just a fallible, funny kid, which made this character all the better. Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer) was the rational one in the group and the one who was a germ-a-phobe who never wanted to do anything but did it anyways for the group. Stanley Uris (Wyatt Olaf) was the one character I felt like was overshadowed for the majority of the film but the moments he had were very important and hit hard in the plotline of the film. Mike Hanion (Chosen Jacobs) had a different take on the character as he didn’t join the group until later. He was homeschooled at his family farm outside of Dairy due to an unfortunate accident in his past that took the lives of his immediate family and haunted him still. Pennywise amped up that haunted feeling to a whole new level. Ben Hanscom (Jeremey Ray Taylor) was the very lovely, cute, and charming new kid to Dairy and to the Losers Club but his character arc, I felt, was just as important as the leader of the Losers Club as he was the one that finds out the past of Dairy and introduced them (and us as an audience) to what might exactly be going on. Last, but not certainly least, there was the beautiful Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillie). Beverly fit the typical 1980’s rebel without a cause trope that made her the outcast of all the popular kids, but she also had a bunch of gossip around her, as well as some alliances from the rest that might be on her side. She was there when we were first introduced to Ben while he was trying to hide from the local bully and helped him out of that situation. After which, we then see why she fell into this trope, when we got to meet her father and see her home life. To put it delicately, he was not a very nice father and it was implied that he had personal space issues with his daughter.
Moving on to the plot of the movie. This movie did a great job of character development for the Losers Club and for Mr. Pennywise himself. Once the character development was there it moved on to the mythology behind Dairy and IT and we as an audience found out along with the club that something has been wrong for a very long time in Dairy (more in spoiler talk). The one thing that I had a little bit of a problem with, and this may just be me, was how the arc of the Bully turned out. However, film interpretation is very subjective and so others may not have a problem with it. There was definitely a beginning, middle and an end to this first chapter of IT. The scares in this film were perfectly planned and executed and in some parts you thought, “this was obviously a jump scare they didn’t do” and let it go. Which in my opinion made it 10x better since they were smart enough not to over play that in a horror movie in this day and age.
This movie shines because of its character development. It made you fall in love with the characters to the point where you want them all to make it. You cheered for them and this was why each death and scare was so much better because of the time they took making us as an audience care for them. They also make us utterly hate Mr. Pennywise and want him to fail in every possible manner, especially when he started to go after the Losers Club.
In closing of the non-spoiler review, this movie delivered on a brand new adaptation of the IT novel by Stephen King. It introduced a modernization of the book and of the characters along with being able to recapture a certain nostalgia from the book and the old mini tv series. I highly recommend this film to all the appropriate aged individuals and if I was to give it a score on a 0-5 Movie Buddy it most definitely gets a solid 4.7 MB’s. OH! Don’t take your kids to see this!!! A couple brought their 11 year old to it at the screening I was in and luckily they sat behind me because he and his mom constantly got up and left the theater.
****** This is your SPOILER Alert… You have been WARNED!!!!!!! ******
Since I only really have one negative about this film, I wanna start with it so I can go ahead and get it out of the way. I didn’t understand why they had the ending to the bully arc the way they did. So, the Losers were plagued by the town bully, Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton), through the whole movie at least up until they fight him back at the creek. That scene helped represent them all coming together for the first time against a threat. However after that, Henry was at home showing off in front of his friends and shooting guns (in an unsafe manner) when his dad showed up, scolded him and then abused him verbally and made him dance old western style in front of his friends. Pennywise used this to basically tell him to kill his dad and the Losers Club. I didn’t necessarily agree with how this went down. I felt like it could have played out a little better if somehow he ended up a Loser and part of the club instead of him taking on the Loser Club inevitably losing when Mike ended up killing him by pushing him down the well where Pennywise lived.
There were two extremely sad parts in this movie but one was followed by a sense of satisfaction. The first was in the beginning when Mr. Pennywise interacted with Georgie. The director built up the tension in us as an audience by letting us think that “well, maybe he’s going to let him go and not hurt him” but then right at the end we saw the clown’s true self and the monster he was when he ripped Georgie’s arm off. And as Georgie was screaming for help and trying to crawl away you saw the clown’s arm slowly reach towards him and yank him into the sewer so he could finish his meal. While Pennywise was setting Georgie up, we as an audience could clearly see that this wasn’t going to go well due to Pennywise’s facial expressions, mannerisms and physical drooling at the mouth that were clearly visible as the conversation progressed. This scene was sad because I am a father and know that we tell our kids constantly to never trust strangers. It killed me to see the most extreme worst case scenario end with the kid’s death. But, it also filled me with hate for that stupid clown and all I wanted was the kids to get him, so it served its purpose.
The next sad part was at the end when the losers were in the den of Pennywise. Bill saw Georgie and while we as an audience knew he was dead, through the whole movie Bill believed that he might not be and that he was just lost. When Bill saw Georgie and talked with him he slowly moved closer to Georgie and when they were about to embrace, Bill said, “I know, but you’re not my Georgie. My Georgie is dead,” and shot him in the head! Now this gave great satisfaction because, YES, he killed the clown. But when Georgie didn’t transform back when he got shot, he just laid there, you start to think “oh no, he just killed his brother…”, but the director waited just long enough for the transformation. The clown reappeared again, but injured and was ready to fight the Losers Club.
Another great thing they did in this movie was how the director went into the mythology of Dairy. The audience learned that IT reappeared every 27 years for a year and then disappeared again but something always big and bad happened as it disappeared. I liked knowing that IT had a back story and that IT just didn’t randomly appear and start taking people. Ben did a fantastic job at finding out all of this information and presenting it to the Losers in order to fight IT.
For Chapter 2 (otherwise known as the sequel) to succeed I think they are going to have to have the same spot-on casting agent that hired the kids and Pennywise because if the chemistry that’s in this movie isn’t there for the next I don’t know if it will hold up. Now, let me expand on that. The next chapter should be about the Losers Club taking on IT again 27 years after this one took place, as adults, carrying out the pact made at the end of the film to come back to finish it no matter where they were or what they were doing. So I think a little disjointed chemistry in the first act of chapter 2 won’t be bad just because they all haven’t seen each other in 26 years but by the time that second act comes around it had better be there or the movie won’t work.
Again, great movie, highly recommended as a 4.7 MB’s outta 5.
Also I have two things: first, give a like, share, or comment to get Miss Movies’ page off and to the races and so we can have some more great discussions over the films we review with the movie community. Secondly, Miss Movies and I have tossed around an idea that we would like feedback on. I am not so good with the typing of the thoughts as much as I am when just conversing, unlike Miss Movies who is great at both. We were thinking about doing a trial video blog, vlog, or maybe just a YouTube video over our top ten movies of the year and/or top ten worst movies of the year. This would be a trial run to see how it goes and could lead to more at a later date. So please, comment and let us know whether you would like to see/hear Movie Buddy and Miss Movies do a video. If you liked what you read here check out some of the other things she offers on her page. I am Movie Buddy and this is the Honest Midwest Movies blog!