Overall a very aesthetically pleasing and technically well made movie, with some effective child acting and some clever scares. But, unfortunately, it is also a completely boring and forgettable movie in a character sense. While being pragmatic about somethings from the lengthy novel is a wise decision, the changes they do make don’t come with satisfying pay-offs of their own, nor do the various “Losers”, and it just doesn’t end up being engaging.
It slowly boils down to a whimper that ends with the overt assurance of a sequel both in the movie and in the credits and it feels totally unsatisfying. And if I hadn’t read the book I would have had a hard time remembering these kids names or wondering why their friendship were so important - as my uninitiated friends did. Characters like Mike become surprisingly less interesting and the movie makes odd choices of keeping aspects of the book in without the endgame memorable moments they had in the book.
So…4/10. Almost decent but not quite. Would recommend for a DVD/Rental rather than a theatre watch.
It was always gonna be awkward to split that story in half along the two timelines since the book relies so much on the interplay between past and present. With the success of Game of Thrones, more studios should consider bringing huge unwieldy books to TV instead of treating film as the only way to make a big impact.
So, i queued up a couple of dumb comedies last night while I was studying Thai. One of them was the remake of CHiPs. Aside from being mostly boring (although the chases weren’t bad), Justin Chatwin (of Dragonball Z infamy) was in it, but I think he had all of one line, and might’ve only actually appeared in a couple of scenes, despite being a major supporting character. Most of his character’s screentime was undoubtedly a stunt double thanks to all the motorcycle work. Seemed like an odd choice. He’s not a major star or anything, but he had a big recurring role on Shameless, and technically has been the lead in at least one film. If I hadn’t known who he was, I’d assume he was a complete no-name actor from this film.
I think the CHiPs remake would have been better if it had either played itself entirely straight or went more goofy. The movie tried to be both when it could have done either reasonably well and it kept clashing.
The film really is an odd duck, though. Aside from your observation, the casting pedigree is surprisingly strong, with most actors being pretty wasted in their roles, Dinofrio being an obvious victim. Also, Dax probably should’ve cast someone else in his role. I get the feeling it was mostly a vanity project so he could ride motorcycles around and pretend that he’s hot, honestly.
The new IT movie was an entertaining experience. Kermode really put it best in his review when saying that it was much closer to films like Poltergeist, Stand By Me and Nightmare on Elm Street. There are many great “scary” scenes but little that is entirely disturbingly dreadful. In contrast to shows like STRANGER THINGS and CHANNEL ZERO: CANDLE COVE, it never really reaches the same level of real unease and horror that some of those scenes build up to, but it balances concern with the protagonists with some really intense moments.
The focus on the characters is really the main attraction of the movie and even though it doesn’t have time to really follow all of them, it gives them enough to make people care. In fact, in a lot of cases, the kid’s parents become worse villains than Pennywise. The Clown really just wants to eat them, but the parents seem driven to really crush their spirit. In the end, It makes the children stronger while their own family and the community itself seems to be much more malevolent. I think the irony is intentional in the movie. In both the film and the book, it is ambiguous whether Derry is so bad because It lives there or whether It lives there because the town is so bad.
For me, the horror dissipated a bit after the big confrontation in the over-the-top haunted house at the mid-point of the story. As plots go, it accelerated as expected, but by the end it actually reminded me more of a Harry Potter movie than a Stephen King adaptation. It actually works quite well though and, again, fits much more into that 80’s action/horror movie style like POLTERGEIST which I think is really what most audiences want.
The hardcore horror addicts should enjoy it since Pennywise and the scariest scenes are very well done, but this film really shoots for a much broader audience and I think it will reach it.
I went back to the read the book recently, and I actually was a bit surprised how very scary and disturbing and really steel-hard R rated it actually was. It’s probably not King’s masterpiece of straight horror writing, but if someone like Cary Fukunaga (who was originally going to direct the movie) did eventually decide to make a new series for some network not so concerned about ethical standards, it could really be a traumatic experience of a show.
I agree that the movie has some well done intense moments, but on a character stand point it doesn’t really even give you much to care about. Characters exist in a bunch of gags or one-offs, but no real actions. And for a movie bluntly states it’s about the power of friendship, the friendship is woefully underdeveloped to the point of nonexistence outside of some brief scenes.
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.
I think the reason I didn’t get as much is because for me, and for what the movie really stiltingly blurts out in exposition, is that this is meant to be a story about their friendship. How their friendship is the true power and all of that. Let’s take another movie from this year with a large “kid” cast and all that - Power Rangers.
I won’t say that each of the characters in that movie get development. They don’t. But what they do have are actions, memorable actions that serve to highlight some small character arc that feeds into the larger themes of the movie. Like Zack…who gets the least screentime of the rangers in that movie, is acting out with some sort of death wish to work through his issues with his mom’s cancer, so he’s very carefree and reckless. This all happens in…maybe a handful of minutes throughout the movie.
Then you take Mike from this movie, the smallest amount of screen time as well. You could cut him from the movie and not lose anything because he doesn’t do anything on screen for any character arc or himself. The closest thing that comes to any sort of development is the Rod Gun, and that’s it. And he doesn’t even end up using it either, so it’s a wash. The Losers Club in this are just underdeveloped outside of what use they have to getting from Point A to Point B, and so whatever issues they are having are only really given lip service instead of some conclusion.
I went to see this with a couple of friends who hadn’t read the book, they couldn’t even remember who was who or what they did. If you’re going to streamline their actions to serve the plot, then dial back what you can do and focus on those you care more about.