It (2017)

I feel like maybe It should have had a name that will make its sequel in a year or so make more sense. Because, as is, it seems like it will appear to be a sequel, while in actuality it will be the second half of a coherent whole. I mean really, now, It 2? I hope not!

This is what you came here for, right?

But seriously, I think it may be broadly known among the readership here that It, by Stephen King, is my favorite book. I even, unjustifiably, like the ABC miniseries from lo these many years past. Sure, it’s under television guidelines, but it tried very hard to be a faithful adaptation. All the same, the idea of a multi-part cinematic version struck me as a pleasing idea, something I could maybe point to as “yeah, that’s why I like this book so much” without expecting someone to put in the time investment of a doorstop horror epic.

Mostly: this is that movie. It could have used another 45 minutes or so to breathe and allow the kids to be small town kids on their own for the summer, give an idea of what the oppressive horrific atmosphere was taking away from them. (And to allow some of the references to be built into the plot instead of just there to make sure ItFan117 was satisfied that their pet reference got made.) But all in all, it definitely did what I wanted, and I’m excited to see the second half. Hell, I may even watch this one again, but since I still haven’t seen The Dark Tower yet, that feels hard to justify.

That said, I do have some real complaints, and they are not the result of my pet fanboy moment being missed or misrepresented. Unfortunately, they are kind of all huge spoilers. So, I’ll put them in the comments.

Last thing: the acting / direction of those kids was seriously good.

EDIT: Having now posted my spoiler complaints in the comments section below: seriously, do not click through or read those unless you want third act plot destroying spoilers. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

3 thoughts on “It (2017)

  1. Chris Post author

    These are in order of my grumpiness.

    Complaint #1: They gave most of Mike’s character actions to Ben. That is, the research / history of Derry and all the horrible things that happened there prior to the events of the movie. I will say as a caveat that Mike did that work as an adult, and it for sure makes more sense for bookworm Ben to be the library guy as a kid, if they insisted on that history being revealed in the first movie. But all in all, it feels like they stole the black character’s development / characterization, and I’m not sure what I’ll see in the sequel that makes me feel better about that. Well, I suspect I’ll see nothing much at all. But here’s hoping!

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  2. Chris Post author

    Complaint #2

    So, I didn’t really care for the whole “kids get in a fight and split the party” element in the first place. I don’t think it was true to the characters, they had friction, but the whole point is they were a team and that’s why they could win. So everything that follows is already tainted by that and by the fact that It could have won through inaction since they’d already lost their way. I think It’s smarter than this? But whatever, that’s an element I can live with aside from a fanboyish eyeroll.

    What I really didn’t like was that as soon as this is the thing that’s happening, the way to fix it is by refrigerating Beverly. First of all, because *goddamn it!*, but then on top of that because she had been , up ’til this point, every bit as effective, tough, in charge as she was supposed to be. It’s like some asshole wrote himself into a corner and then pounced upon the most obvious sexist cliché to get out of it. We, and she, deserved better.

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  3. Chris Post author

    Complaint #3

    I said these were in order, but yeah, this is by far the worst of them, and moreso because it was thirteen year olds. (Yeah, it’s an R-rated movie, but that doesn’t mean kids this age won’t be watching, all the time.) So there Beverly is, stuck in the deadlights (about which more in the sequel, I trust), and they don’t know how to wake her up. And Ben gets the bright idea of, kiss her!

    They came so close (I thought) to getting it right. The other kids mostly made noises of disgust, which I was choosing to believe were directed at him instead of at the idea of kissing a girl. But then it worked!!! This is something you can maybe get away with in text, where you have hundreds of pages to explore their relationship and their friendship up ’til now, and paragraphs to explain how the deadlights work and what each character was thinking in the moment. But on screen, it comes off as Sleeping Beauty bullshit, of exactly the kind we do not need right now, and triply so aimed at children of that age. Argh!

    All in all: these made me grumpy (or more), but did not ruin the movie for me. That said, It is my favorite book. I will not take it amiss if this kind of thing ruins the movie for people who do not love the book. Because that was some really contrary to the point idiocy there. (Especially 2 and 3. It’s plausible 1 only sticks out to me *because* I know the book, and Mike was handled fine by the movie? I have no way of knowing.)

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