IT had a record breaking weekend at the box office, ECHG writer Adam Holtzapfel shares his thoughts on if it lives up to the hype and how it compares to the 1990 mini series.
by Adam Holtzapfel
When a theatrical version of IT was announced, I’ll be the first to admit I was skeptical. A lot of us that grew up in the 80’s into the 90’s hold the TV Miniseries (no matter how bad it is) with high regard. After seeing the theatrical version it is almost like apples and oranges.
The 2017 version starts off in 1988 and takes place through 1989, which makes it relatable to people my age, as well as playing to the films strengths. As the picture starts we see Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) making a paper boat. His brother Billy (Jaeden Lieberhar) tells him to get wax so the boat won’t sink. From there Georgie takes his boat out and encounters Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard). We all know what happens from there.
We jump ahead to the end of the school year where we see Billy with Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), & Stanley (Wuatt Oleff) as they talk of their summer plans and encounter Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) and his crew of degenerates. As the summer goes on the losers club add Beverly (Sophia Lillis), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), and Mike (Chosen Jacobs) to their ranks while they continue to find Georgie and the other missing children of Derry.
At the heart of the story IT is a coming of age tale (come on we all know what the bloody bathroom scene is a metaphor for…). Examining the awkwardness of changing from a child to an adolescent while also examining friendships.
What works for this version of the film is it follows the cherished novel more closely. The 1990 version you had to fit it all into 4 hours (2 hours over 2 nights including commercials) which made it feel rushed.
The casting also works, while Tim Curry set the bar for Pennywise, Skarsgard delivers a great performance. Finn Wolfhard defines the role of Richie, with great one liners and not as annoying as Seth Green’s take in the 1990 version. Also, one of the most jarring scenes in the film is in the library involving Ben. It definitely helped set the tone for the rest of the film.
What didn’t work for me was the over use of CGI, it just looked bad at times. Also, some of the decisions the characters made were odd choices to move the story along.
Overall I’d rush to the theater to catch this one instead of waiting for it to hit Netflix. I’ll definitely be catching it a couple more times before it run ends!