That is interesting. I got a lot more than you did as far as the characters. At the same time, I pretty early started watching it from an 80’s perspective of GOONIES and STAND BY ME or their modern equivalents - the HARRY POTTER movies as mentioned. Actually, I’d say the film’s portrayal of characters is closer to GOONIES. STAND BY ME is basically IT squeezed down to one day without PENNYWISE. So, it is all about the kids without the demands of fighting a damn monster in town.
This is a weird thing that some movies can achieve for me. With the first and second X-MEN movies, for example, you really get very little in the way of character development. However, because I’ve read X-men comics and seen the cartoons for a long time before, it was like I was watching a movie that had been adapted from a long running television series. Like a STAR TREK film with the original cast.
At the same time, because Singer and McQuarrie (the writer, right?) stayed fairly true to the X-men characters even while updating them to a new cinematic setting, I think audiences who weren’t really familiar with the stories also got that same sense of character even though there was very little character development actually going on in the film’s action.
This is how IT struck me as well. Now, I had read the book recently and I remembered a lot of it from the mini-series and when I first read it, the character types were so familiar to me that I already felt like I knew them. So I could see people finding them superficial, but I also felt like I already knew them well enough from seeing these kinds of characters in so many other things - movies, shows, books - that I could get under the surface with very little to slow down the plot.
I actually think the filmmakers knew that too. That they would have to be very selective in the way the characters progressed because they weren’t going to get a lot of time with each one.
I think you’re probably right that there isn’t a lot of character development on screen or deep interaction in the characters, but I think there is a strong impression of it in the film that is engendered by the way the film is put together. It’s like a magic trick and from the reviews, it seems to have worked.