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Movie Review: IT
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So, I'll preface this by saying that I don't typically go see horror films. Just not my genre, although I read a lot of Stephen King when I was younger, including IT. So I'm not really going to compare this to other recent horror films in terms of how scary it is.

IT is the first film in what will be at least a two part film series, covering the plot of Stephen King's 1100+ page famous horror novel about a group of friends who face off against unspeakable evil in their childhood, and then return to finish it off once they become adults. This film focuses solely on the childhood adventures of the 7 main characters. The movie begins on a rainy day in Derry, Maine, as Bill and Georgie are making a paper sailboat. Bill is too sick to go out on the rainy day, so Georgie takes the boat outside by himself to race it in the streams of water running along the streets. Suddenly, the boat takes a detour and runs into the sewers. Georgie thinks his boat is lost forever, until Pennywise the clown greets him from inside the sewer grate. Pennywise offers Georgie his boat, but when the child reaches for it, the clown grabs him by the arm, and the boy is never seen again. This kind of story is common in Derry, where school is just ending, and children are disappearing at an alarming rate. Over the summer, a group of 7 outcast kids team up to figure out what's happening to the missing children, and to face off against a monstrous evil that has plagued Derry for generations.

Most people are familiar with the basic plot of IT. Either they read the book, or saw the two-part mini-series from the 90s. They mostly recognize Tim Curry's benchmark creepy clown from that miniseries. There will be no big plot surprises for this movie. Compared to the miniseries, which was made for ABC prime-time television, the movie has a lot more gruesome violence, a ton of foul language, and some sexual themes, although it is still nowhere near as terrifying or graphic as the novel. The movie spends the first two thirds or so bouncing between the main characters, as they each have run-ins with Pennywise. There's a bit of character development, but it's just a bit rushed. The last third shows them band together to find and take down the clown.

The acting and writing are fine. The cast is mostly children, so there is a certain degree of child acting to deal with, but it's not distracting. My biggest gripe was that the movie's scare moments were pretty predictable, even not having read the novel or seen the miniseries in years. The new Pennywise certainly qualifies as a scary creepy clown, but 25 years after Tim Curry's clown, it's just not as impactful. Maybe for younger audiences who aren't familiar with Curry's Pennywise, this one will be scarier. The effects are generally good, although there are a few scenes that feel like stuff everyone's probably seen before, either in horror or action films.

Overall, if you're a fan of horror films or specifically of IT, you'll definitely want to see this. However, the movie didn't blow my mind as some sort of magnificent new rendition of the novel. It was good, and scary in parts, but not groundbreaking or magnificent.

Slowguy

(insert pithy phrase here...)
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Re: Movie Review: IT [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for the thorough review. Like you, I don't generally bother with horror films - not my thing. But I'll be going to see it for the following reasons:

1. Nostalgia - I was the same age as those kids in the 80's. Popular media has really captured the zeitgeist of that era recently - particularly with Stranger Things. These shows help me return to that simpler era, and to remember when I could "finger bang Mary-Jane Rottencrotch through her pretty pink panties" (you 80's kids will know that quote)

2. Test my nerve - When I saw the 1990 version I was already a teen. It still scared the sh!t outta me. It scared me at such a fundamental level, my DNA got changed, so that my son developed coulrophobia for no discernible reason. I want to see if this version scares me even 1% as much as the cheesy 1990 one did.

3. The Derry, Maine in this film is actually Port Hope, Ontario. I live not too far from there and was on hand when they filmed last summer. It's cool to see the shops and streets you know on the big screen.

Interesting fact: According to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, "The bulk of Canada's historic (nuclear) waste is located in the Ontario communities of Port Hope and Clarington. This waste and contaminated soils amount to roughly 2 million cubic metres, and relate to the historic operations of a radium and uranium refinery in the municipality of Port Hope, dating back to the 1930s."
Maybe killer daemon-clowns are not so far fetched????

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell
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Re: Movie Review: IT [Guffaw] [ In reply to ]
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Did they film part of it (the swimming hole scene) at the Elora Gorge? Looks familiar, but I haven't been there since I was a kid.

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Re: Movie Review: IT [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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When I was a little kid I would squeeze myself down into those sewer drains and play. Something tells me that's not going to be such a big hit with the kids nowadays.
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Re: Movie Review: IT [SH] [ In reply to ]
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SH wrote:
When I was a little kid I would squeeze myself down into those sewer drains and play. Something tells me that's not going to be such a big hit with the kids nowadays.

That explains a lot ;-)

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Re: Movie Review: IT [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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JasoninHalifax wrote:
Did they film part of it (the swimming hole scene) at the Elora Gorge? Looks familiar, but I haven't been there since I was a kid.

Good eye. IMDB lists the Elora Gorge as one of the locations. http://www.imdb.com/.../tt1396484/locations

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell
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Re: Movie Review: IT [SH] [ In reply to ]
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SH wrote:
When I was a little kid I would squeeze myself down into those sewer drains and play. Something tells me that's not going to be such a big hit with the kids nowadays.

Yep me too.

In fact in school, we were able to sneak off campus to play hooky. There was a covered cement drain near the football fields you could squeeze down into. then, you could take the follow the drains (duck walking and stooping) into the adjoining neighborhood and exit, then run off where ever we wanted to. This of course 35-40 years ago in the good-ole days.

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Re: Movie Review: IT [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for the review. I remember renting the original in high school when we wanted a scary movie...it was a big let down. I may give this a shot once I can rent it.
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Re: Movie Review: IT [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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Just went and saw it. I, too, had read the King book (SCARY) and remember watching the TV miniseries. No one can duplicate Tim Curry's malevolent Pennywise, especially when he put on that uber-creepy grin of his, though Bill Skarsgard is game to try.

I thought the movie worked best when it worked through the kids, and I appreciated that their parents were all damaged in various ways (one father by deep loss, a mother by an ocean of overprotectiveness, another father by sick attraction). King's novels involving children and how they react to these sorts of circumstances generally explore how they overcome the hurdles that adults inadvertently, as well as deliberately, throw at them. There was no way a 2-hour movie could cover all of King's exposition about the kids and their dealings with adults, and the director was smart not to try.

It's also clear there's to be a sequel, and if it's true to the book it'll be about the band of losers as adults and how life has brought them to their various stations. There was bravery and tenacity (and fear, of course) in abundance among the kids, and there'll most likely be noble sacrifice among them as adults, as those who've read the book already know.

It was worth the price of admission for sure. I give it a 'B' and as a movie closing out this summer, it did just fine.
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Re: Movie Review: IT [big kahuna] [ In reply to ]
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Spoiler...but I'm assuming people reading this know the storyline










Did they show the coupling of the kids in this movie and how did they treat it? I think in the TV version they depicted it as just a round of kissing. I know that book scene was a bit controversial since they are all kids.



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Re: Movie Review: IT [Endo] [ In reply to ]
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Endo wrote:
Spoiler...but I'm assuming people reading this know the storyline.

Did they show the coupling of the kids in this movie and how did they treat it? I think in the TV version they depicted it as just a round of kissing. I know that book scene was a bit controversial since they are all kids. .

They didn't. They showed them becoming blood brothers (and blood sister) and holding hands in a circle. Nothing remotely close to the book's exploration of the subject was in the movie. I think the nearest they came to any of that was the quarry, where they all went swimming and the female character (Beverly Marsh) also stripped down to her underwear. I believe she kissed two boys in the movie -- and for two different reasons: the Henry character and the Bill character.
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