MOVIE REVIEW: It (2017)

Movie remakes tend to be a mixed bag. On one end of the spectrum, you have something that exceeds expectations like the rebooted Star Trek series (2009-present) – and then you have the disaster of a monster-lizard fest that was 1998’s Godzilla.

This year’s It was something that straddled the fine line between a good reboot & a bad one – so instead of separate lists of good & bad things about the movie, here’s a combined list that shows both sides of every point:

Or you could just skip to the end for the score we’re giving it, and a brief explanation as to why.

WARNING: POSSIBLE MILD SPOILERS AHEAD

(we tried to make it spoiler-free as possible)

 

Pennywise the Dancing Clown

The Good: Bill Skarsgård’s performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown was absolutely terrifying to watch, and I mean Heath Ledger’s Joker levels of terrifying. Skarsgård nailed the performance, as I constantly got a vibe that was equal parts terrifying, menacing, sinister, and “something’s seriously wrong with this guy” every time Pennywise appeared on screen – I personally feel he took some body posture cues from Death Note’s Ryuk for added emphasis.

The Bad: Pennywise the Dancing Clown was only terrifying for the first two-thirds of the movie, before It devolved into a typical modern horror movie with an overly-elaborate CGI monster.

The Plot

Photo Credit: A fan-made poster for the upcoming film by Smalltownhero on Deviant Art

The Good: It didn’t deviate too much from the original’s plot – movie purists rejoice!

The Bad: It didn’t deviate enough from the original’s plot, so the movie is largely predictable for people who have watched the original. Also, the way the plot is structured leaves room for quite a few plot holes.

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How the children “defeat” Pennywise

The Good: In the original, the children “defeat” Pennywise by using the power of imagination. In the 2017 remake, they do so by overcoming their fear – which honestly makes a lot more sense than the original.

The Bad: While the children “defeating” Pennywise by overcoming their fear is extremely clichéd, this removed a key aspect of the original that I enjoyed – the imagination of children. Pennywise is practically invisible to adults & doesn’t affect or attack them at all because he plays & preys on the imagination of children. Removing this aspect from It raises the question “What stops Pennywise from attacking the adults?”.

The explanation for the movie’s catchphrase “You’ll Float Too”

The Good: The 2017 version if It had a far creepier explanation for “You’ll Float Too” than the original.

The Bad: The 2017 version of It left results of the explanation and the film’s climax…unaddressed. Not unexplained, but unaddressed. The main characters literally walked away from the issue after the film’s climax without ever addressing it.

2017’s It is dark, as in really dark – in more ways than one.

The Good: In the original, Beverley’s father is shown as being abusive – slapping and beating her on-screen during the movie. In the 2017 remake, no such violence is shown…but something far darker and sinister is implied.

The Bad: The lighting is unrealistically dark in some scenes, which kind of broke my immersion from time to time. Were people not able to afford to turn on the lights in their houses in 1989 (when the movie was set), or did they straight up just not know how to open windows/curtains/blinds?

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Rating

Overall, I give the It a solid 6.5/10. While Bill Skarsgård’s portrayal of Pennywise the Clown was terrifyingly brilliant, it wasn’t enough to save the It from falling into the same hole that many remakes and modern movies do. The plot was close enough to the original that it wouldn’t anger fans of the original, but a little too close to the point that large parts of the movie ended up predictable. However, plot holes aside, the makers of the 2017 remake managed to make the It far darker and sinister than its 1990 predecessor – and deserves a spot on my list of must-watch Horror Movies of 2017.

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