It (2017)
September 7, 2017 7:13 PM - Subscribe

A group of bullied kids band together when a monster, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children.
posted by Countess Elena (40 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I bought the first available ticket and looked forward to this like a Star Wars fan. The movie wasn't perfect, but I was not disappointed. There is a lot of horror here and I jumped like a girl. The rest of the audience did too. There was a lot of whooping and laughter, but also actual screams. I had a lot of thoughts, because that is what I do.

Nobody can out-Curry Tim Curry, so Bill Skarsgård doesn't try. He's on a different wavelength. Curry's Pennywise is scary because he looks like an actual working clown, a big cheerful bastard in greasepaint and pompoms, who just happens to be down in the sewers and to know your every thought. That's terrifying. Skarsgård's Pennywise is an alien thing that learned what a clown looks like about two hundred years ago, and has been aping it ever since. He's acrobatic and slender, and moves like a human shouldn't. That is terrifying, too. It's different and I like it.

In the novel and in the miniseries, It has an undeniably sexual menace -- leering, threatening, offering -- because King understands how terrifying sexuality is to children. That's absent here, because the adult characters deliver that vibe, and plenty of it. Instead, It is deeply inhuman, capable of delivering bizarre sights and hallucinations that weren't possible on the big or the small screen when the novel was new.

Also, Pennywise, true to his soi-disant title for once, actually dances. It is at first ridiculous. Then it is deeply unsettling. Then it is horrifying.

A nice touch that I noticed: at one point, as the kids enter a room, they are chattering to each other about Michael Jackson's Neverland -- "he has a pet chimp, and a rollercoaster, and ..." This dialogue is quickly cut off and never comes up again, but I thought it was an excellent stroke of subtext that would have been totally unavailable before the '80s were over.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:37 PM on September 7, 2017 [13 favorites]

I'm gonna go ahead and assume that if you're here and reading then you've seen the movie or don't mind spoilers. With that in mind:

"I bought the first available ticket and looked forward to this like a Star Wars fan. The movie wasn't perfect, but I was not disappointed. There is a lot of horror here and I jumped"

My ticket wasn't the first one sold, but it was to the first showing in town. This book was one of my favorites when I was a young teen and I've remembered it fondly since, even though I realize parts of it are problematic in a very weird way. Anyway, in anticipation of the movie I re-read it recently and if you want to know my thoughts on the book as an adult they're all right here.

I am not a horror movie aficionado and I'm not really into being scared, but I went to this film relishing the thought that maybe they were going to deliver some deep chills and they totally did. I mean there were a few jump scares, sure, but there was one part that was just so ... just so protracted and and straightforwardly scary in an unexpected way that it had the hair standing up on my arms. It was the projector scene for me - I thought the trailer had spoiled me for, you know, everything that was going to happen. And when it didn't stop, and then kept not stopping, and everyone in the theater was keyed in just like me and we were all recoiling and unbelieving and basically right there with the Losers ... yeah, that was great.

and then of course the jump scares were good too.

I read part of some review, dunno where, that said that Muschietti did a good job of mixing up the scares and I think that's true. I was never sure at all what was coming next. I think one of the best ones was Mike Hanlon's first encounter, honestly. The way it was resolved was cliched (scare interrupted by outside force) but the sheer murkiness of the scene was wonderful. I was right there with him feeling his confusion and dread and horror.

I also loved when Mike was being beaten up by the bullies and he sees Pennywise waving a severed arm, and in a subsequent scene someone mentions a victim's arm being off (Eddie Corcoran, I think) and I thought it was a nice reference.

As far as I'm concerned all the kids handled themselves perfectly. I didn't get any of that sense of "ugh, horrible pre-teen actor" that happens so often. This goes right up there with Stranger Things in terms of movies and shows that didn't disappoint by casting some popular kid who can't deliver. Okay so maybe Bill was a bit bland but hey, he's not King Charisma in the book either, you know?

My recent re-read had me feeling all the feels I have about Stan. As a kid I didn't understand (obviously) what it was like to grow up, to forget, to smother some trauma and keep it inside and poison yourself, to lose your friends to age and time and distance. I had no empathy for the kind of pain that pushes someone to take their own life. Now he's the main thing I think about when I think about the book. With that in mind, I couldn't help but feel a pang in every scene where he's hesitant, where he's at the rear of the group, where he is the first to look up from the group hug, and is the first to leave after the swearing-to-return ceremony. And the movie certainly gave him an even bigger trauma to choke down and live with for as long as he could. Man. Poor, poor Stan.

I'll leave it to someone else to discuss some plotting and pacing issues and some hokey dialogue in parts. I also have lots of thoughts about how the script dealt with Beverly, especially taking her out of action to become the bait in a trap, but I'm sure someone more eloquent than I am will come along with a nuanced reaction.

Overall, for me personally as a fan who recently re-read the book and didn't feel those old "oh my god I'm not going to be able to sleep" terrors that he used to and really hoped the movie would re-capture them: A+, delivered 100%. I can't wait to hear from some folks who haven't read the book and have no idea what all's been cut out, and what they think about it.

and in conclusion: I knew 'that scene' would be unfilmable and I'm so grateful they didn't even try, not that anyone in their right mind would have. I'll take one kiss from Ben and a group hug any day.
posted by komara at 8:26 PM on September 7, 2017 [8 favorites]

God, yes, poor Stan.

I really enjoyed that! I was expecting to be underwhelmed, but considering the reams of text they had to condense, they did a decent job of it. I was in as soon as Pennywise's feral eyes shifted to blue for George. I could have done with maybe skipping out a couple minor Pennywise encounters for some more character work (Mike in particular needed more time)(man, the change to his backstory was brutal), but on the whole it felt like the world of the book.

They updated to the '80s, but other than the NKOTB poster and some hints in costumes in some minor characters, they didn't neon it up -- the color palette really tied back to the 50s, and I liked that.

I was waiting for Paul Bunyan to say hi and he never did, but I was happy he was there.

I noticed two turtles. And the Tracker Brothers Co. and Freese's Department Store tees. And Bill's house had those brass butterflies on the wall that were also in my house in the 80s, so spot-on prop work, there.

The change to Patrick Hockstetter was also appreciated. Blech.
posted by rewil at 12:18 AM on September 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

I have plenty of nitpicks, but I really really liked this. I'm most impressed with the use of humor...There are genuine laughs throughout, while still treating the situation and the threats very seriously.

I haven't read the book but am very familiar with the TV movie...I presume that Mike was the one with all of the town history info in the book (as he was in the old adaptation)? Sucks that they took that away from that character to give to Ben...And I thought in the end both characters were under-developed overall.

Despite that, I thought all of the kid actors ranged from good to great...I especially liked Richie and Eddie. Oh, and Bev was fantastic. Finn Wolfhard and Jaeden Lieberher were the only actors I was familiar with before this (not counting Bill Skarsgård, and hey look there's Steven Williams as Mike's grandfather! Nice to see an actual 80s mainstay in this 80s movie).
posted by doctornecessiter at 4:39 AM on September 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

"I used to be It..."
posted by gauche at 9:48 AM on September 8, 2017 [8 favorites]

I thought the movie was pretty good. Good performances, great visuals, and a nice creepy atmosphere throughout. The audience I was with didn't seem scared at all, though.

The big downside for me: Everything felt rushed, and even though book purists probably hate me, I think Stan (as a character) could be cut and you wouldn't really lose anything. I had to look at Wikipedia to confirm that he was even in the book, and what he did there. The real effect of a lack of time is that the kids just feel suddenly like friends - Mike especially, as he's added late to the group. Henry also doesn't feel quite as real, because he has a lot less time to ramp up.

Still, not a bad popcorn horror movie.
posted by codacorolla at 1:26 PM on September 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I saw It opening night, and was surprised by how many people in the audience made surprised/excited noises when it ended with the 'Chapter One' subtitle... like... I guess nobody read the book? Or even saw the 1990 miniseries? I am old. (And an admitted book snob. I've never re-watched the miniseries because I had such a hard time taking grown up Bill seriously. I mean, John-boy Walton with aviator glasses and a ponytail mullet felt kind of dated even at the time.)

It is arguably my favorite Stephen King novel and for me this was a pretty satisfying distillation of half of it, but it was admittedly shallow compared to the source material; there's just not really any way around it given the time constraint of a single film to tell the Losers' childhood story. It was unfortunate that Mike got particularly short shrift in this adaptation (all the more noticeable because he has a much more prominent role as a narrator in parts of the book.)

I was really stunned by the extent to which the filming locations looked just like the Derry of my own mind's eye. Except the house on Neibolt Street... while delicious, it was completely over the top for its neighborhood. In the book I believe it was just as run-down, but more of a simple saltbox/cottagey place like the others near the railyard. But it would be tough to convey that level of pervasive menace and dread in a nondescript house on the screen, I suppose.

It was nice to see the ways they condensed and/or reworked little touches to keep elements from the book in the film; the Tracker Brothers and Freese's t-shirts were totally unnecessary but clearly done with love for the source material (and for fans of the source material.)

I'll be curious to see who gets cast for Chapter Two.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 3:01 PM on September 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Saw it last night and loved it. I was especially happy with the characterization of Richie, who was a funny smartass in the way kids actually are, instead of the Catskills shtick of the miniseries (and even the book). I've been thinking about "and now I'm going to have to kill this fucking clown" all day.
posted by Ragged Richard at 4:03 PM on September 10, 2017 [9 favorites]

Except the house on Neibolt Street... while delicious, it was completely over the top for its neighborhood. In the book I believe it was just as run-down, but more of a simple saltbox/cottagey place like the others near the railyard. But it would be tough to convey that level of pervasive menace and dread in a nondescript house on the screen, I suppose.

Yeah, I'm not familiar with small town Maine, but I'm not sure how many decaying Second Empire homes there were sitting around in 1989. It seems to me they'd either be collapsed rubble or restored. That said, housing has never really been portrayed realistically in tv or movies with maybe the exception of early Spielberg. There's like that one street in Pasadena that is in 80% of everything ever, because nobody wants to see a treeless mcmansion exurban wasteland on the big screen.

My biggest beef was that it obviously looked like a movie set, which I guess I guess you could make a No-Prize explanation for, but whatever. Also, the inside bore no semblance to the interior, which again, No-Prize, but maybe have one of the kids comment on it?

It was a fun ride, though.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:47 AM on September 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

"housing has never really been portrayed realistically in tv or movies with maybe the exception of early Spielberg"

I think there's one shining example where it was done right and that was A Serious Man. In the DVD extras they even show how they digitally altered some of the houses (and landscape) to represent what St Louis Park, MN would have looked like in the 1960s. From the city's Wikipedia page: "The Coen brothers set their 2009 film A Serious Man in St. Louis Park circa 1967. It was important to the Coens to find a neighborhood of original-looking suburban rambler homes as they would have appeared in St. Louis Park in the mid-1960s, and after careful scouting they opted to film scenes in a neighborhood of nearby Bloomington, as well as at St. Louis Park's B'nai Emet Synagogue, which was later sold and converted into a school."

Having bored you with all that I'll return to the subject at hand: the house on Niebolt Street. I too agree that it was waaaaay over the top. Speaking as a photographer who works only in still images (I mean that's the definition, I know, but) I often find myself looking at something - a house or commercial structure - that is absolutely fascinating and I want to photograph it. Then once I try to start framing it out I realize, "This is only interesting because of context, because all the buildings on the road before it and after it inform [us/the viewer] of what 'normal' is in this situation. Unless I can magically include the journey that got me here then this image won't have any impact on the viewer."

all of which is a roundabout way of saying that the filmmakers chose to go with the high-impact model: make something that would be striking regardless of where you drop it. Their Niebolt house would be out of place in any neighborhood and therefore they can excuse themselves with not showing the neighborhood. I would have far preferred it as I saw it in my mind when I read the book: the last house in a line of houses, and it's the sick one at the end that just doesn't quite fit in, but isn't deliberately over-the-top ominous and cartoonish.

so yeah. A little more work on their part would have stripped some of the cartoonishness away while (in my opinion) increasing the true uneasiness and fear quotient. But I get it, scary clown movie needs scary clown house.

"Also, the inside bore no semblance to the interior"

If I'm not mistaken there's some Tardis-effect stuff that happens in the book where the hallways get longer and people start getting lost, but I could be conflating that with one of the Dark Tower books that has a similar effect.
posted by komara at 12:12 PM on September 11, 2017 [4 favorites]

I have not read the book. I was familiar with Curry's Pennywise but didn't have the wherewithal to make it through the miniseries.

And I thought the movie was really good! Broader in scope and funnier than I was expecting, and I liked that. It touched on kind of a lot, which made it feel a little unfocused at points, but it all comes together quite well. I suppose that's what you get trying to do justice to an 1,100 page source document. I'd prefer it address the scope of what's going on in the book than cut it down to make a tighter thriller and I suspect that scale is part of what makes the story unique.

I wish Bev hadn't been used as a damsel at the end. I get that of all of them, Bev was the one the boys would put fear aside to save, but I think Eddie would have made more sense. He and Stan seemed the most vulnerable to fear, and it would have kind of mirrored and resolved the thing with his mom trying to use fear to separate him from his friends.

My preference in horror has changed as I've aged, I think. The sort of slasher/thriller "get chased by monsters" and "snoop around a haunted house" scenes were fun, but I don't find them especially scary as such. The tree photo in the library and the slide projector from the garage were genuinely spooky and I kind of wish they'd been allowed to stand as 'creeping dread' moments on their own, and not resolved with monster chases. But that's strictly personal taste from someone who's not a major horror aficionado.

All together I thought it was solid, and I'm glad I watched it in a full theater. It got really good crowd response, which heightens this kind of movie a lot.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 1:11 PM on September 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, putting a Second Empire house over an old well was so strange that I wondered if that hadn't been in the book, among the many details I had forgotten. It wouldn't surprise me to know that the house had a novella-length history that I had completely forgotten reading about. The art nouveau fireplace was so over-the-top I thought it had to have been inspired by a real piece.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:39 PM on September 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

My recollection is that it was just a run down abandoned house, in the book and not the silly thing from Monster House....
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 1:51 PM on September 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

"The tree photo in the library"

OH MAN you just reminded me of one of my favorite things - in the background of this scene there's a patron (on the left-ish side of the frame) who is just hulking and glowering at Ben every time the camera gives the reverse shot of his face. It's really unsettling and a fantastic minor detail. As soon as the balloon floats past she's back to doing normal patron-y stuff.
posted by komara at 2:51 PM on September 11, 2017 [8 favorites]

Monster House aside, I really enjoyed it and thought they did a great job condensing the novel. I especially loved the smoking Easter eggs in the library stacks scene and the way the headless boy moved. Very wrong. Reminded me of the freaky zombie movement from Last Train to Busan.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 3:08 PM on September 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Phobos the Space Potato, I got a completely different take on Bev at the end. Bev was the strongest of all of them, she didn't fear IT like the others did, no doubt from having to live with her father all these years. She confronts her father and shows that she's not afraid of him anymore. She was the only one who didn't raise a hand when they were going into the house. It seems IT took her because she was the strongest and knew the others, most of whom were terrified and reluctant, would come for her. If IT had taken Eddie, it would have just eaten him because Eddie was so scared. IT didn't eat Bev because she stood up to it and showed she wasn't afraid. You can even see this in the film when Pennywise smells her and can't detect a trace of fear on her— Skarsgård's subtle, disappointed reaction is one of the best in the film. Calling Bev a damsel in distress, which is a complaint I've seen in a lot of discussions online, is not only inaccurate, it's a disservice to the strongest and most developed character in the film. Pennywise takes Bev out of its own fear of the fearless.
posted by guiseroom at 3:19 PM on September 11, 2017 [18 favorites]

I think the scariest part was that far away look Pennywise had when he was talking with Georgie. His face just goes blank, as if the real entity behind the clown face is trying to figure out what approach to take with cajoling this little boy to his death....ugh, chills!
posted by cazoo at 12:59 AM on September 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

Watched it last night and for the most part I really enjoyed it. The kids were all well cast.

In particular I enjoyed the relationship between Bev and Ben. Their New Kids on the Block connection was heart-warming.

That opening sequence with Pennywise and Georgie stands out. Even with the trailers showing as much as they did of that particular sequence, it still worked.

I was on the edge of my seat and I had goosebumps the entire way. When poor Georgie reached in...I was doing that think where I had my fingers in my face and I'm peaking through. Yup. If I were at home, I'd have had a pillow in front of me.

One area that the film sort of let slip away was the way in which the adults purposely avoid confronting the terror that is Derry. We had a few slight nods to this, but the 1990 television mini-series really brought that element of the novel to the forefront.

That being said, I realize certain things are going to be condensed, changed, and/or removed entirely from this film. This particular adaptation was very much focused on the children and their connection with one another.

I agree with guiseroom that Beverly was clearly the strongest and this is why she was chosen. She's my favourite character in the book and in this film, Sophia Lillis was phenomenal. Whenever she was on screen, she just draws your attention.

Final Thoughts and Observations:
• Ben's sequence in the library was the sequence (aside from the opening Georgie scene) that had me most terrified. Those slightly burnt eggs. *shivers*
• I want Beverly's fashion-sense. I'm a 36 year old man and I want that wardrobe. Give that costume-designer an award. He/she nailed it.
• Will be interesting to see if the more cosmic Macroverse/“dead-lights” parts of the story make an appearance in Chapter II, they were only briefly referenced/nodded towards.
• Why does every childhood bully in all of film have a mullet?!?
• The film was weird, it was both rushed and yet a little bit too long. A weird feeling. But overall I loved it.
• “...and now I'm going to have to kill this fucking clown.” - best line in the entire film, our theatre cheered.
• That final sequence where they're each taking their turns beating the shit out of Pennywise...had me fist-pumping!!
posted by Fizz at 7:59 AM on September 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

I want Beverly's fashion-sense. I'm a 36 year old man and I want that wardrobe. Give that costume-designer an award. He/she nailed it.

Janie Bryant is the costume designer for IT, and she was the brilliant costume designer on Mad Men. She's the first costume designer whose name makes me excited when I see it in the credits.

I'm not a horror fan (too scared most of the time), but I really wanted to see this. I'm so glad I did, and that I saw it in a full theater. It was intense and fun and no nightmares after.
posted by gladly at 9:30 AM on September 12, 2017 [6 favorites]

That movie was great!

My only complaint is that over two hours is a long damn time for a horror movie. There's this great almost-ending when they emerge mostly triumphant from the house....and then there's another ~45 minutes to the real ending. And the real ending was good, mind you! But, still, long.
posted by graventy at 11:39 AM on September 12, 2017

I take your point about what the context says about Bev and her strength. I'm finding I can't offer further support for my gut feeling about the "damsel" thing without being more critical than the movie deserves. Maybe I'll watch it again with that in mind, when it's out streaming. I bet it holds up pretty well to multiple viewings.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 11:56 AM on September 12, 2017

I hated the damsel shit they pulled with Bev as well. I get that the rationale was that she was the strongest, but to me that doesn't mitigate that she was A. kidnapped, giving B. the boys the motivation to rescue her. You can put a twist on a classic trope but you're still executing a classic trope. I'm tired of this trope. It's been done to death. Making the girl the "strong one" who gets damseled doesn't really do anything for me personally, especially since they didn't even have the excuse of it being in the book.

Also annoyed with how Mike was handled. I want to like this movie but just tired to death of the female and minority characters being minimized or having their storylines reduced in favor of more white boy heroics.
posted by supercrayon at 5:01 PM on September 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

I absolutely loved this. Right up there with the best King adaptations of all time. So glad I went to see it in the theater.

surprised by how many people in the audience made surprised/excited noises when it ended with the 'Chapter One' subtitle... like... I guess nobody read the book?

I’ve read the book probably a dozen times, but I tried to go into this without reading anything about the movie or even watching the trailers, and I had heard nothing about it being Chapter 1. I assumed pretty early on that they were just going to focus on the kids' story and ditch the adults (not a bad way to do it, honestly), so when they did the blood ritual and talked about coming back, and ended with the Chapter 1 graphic, I gasped too. So excited for Chapter 2 already.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:58 PM on September 16, 2017

Also annoyed with how Mike was handled.

Giving Mike's storyline to one of the white boys and eliminating the racism part of it was mystifying and inexcusable.
posted by Mavri at 10:46 AM on September 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I saw It opening night, and was surprised by how many people in the audience made surprised/excited noises when it ended with the 'Chapter One' subtitle... like... I guess nobody read the book? Or even saw the 1990 miniseries?

I think that people are used to movies taking extreme liberties with books. I mean, look at what happened to The Dark Tower. (Speaking of which, I am sincerely hoping that the success of this movie will lead to a redo on a Dark Tower adaptation, which should be feasible given that the movie was itself implied to be a sequel to the book series, although I'd rather that they brought Elba and McConaughey back if they can manage it.) I'm also excited about Chapter 2 and want to see what they do with the town; King has a good sense for what can change in a town over time, not only what's not as good as it used to be but also what's better.

Also, I wasn't so bothered by the decrepit old house being there because that's kind of a trope of King's; besides this house, there's also the Marsten House in 'Salem's Lot and the house in Brooklyn that Jake uses to cross over to Mid-World in the Dark Tower series. I think that there's some sort of curse on these types of houses that prevents people from messing with them and tearing them down, or even paying much attention to them... except for their victims, heh heh heh.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:32 PM on September 17, 2017

Was anyone else bothered by the bikes always being casually abandoned in the middle of the street? Whenever that happened it took me out of the movie because I imagined careless drivers crashing into the bikes or careful drivers having to get out and move the bikes.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 12:44 PM on September 24, 2017 [8 favorites]

I went to see this today at the only $5 showing at my local theater, so the place was packed with a bunch of young teens on group dates, and even though my preference is for the theater to be empty and quiet, I have to say--this was the best audience to see it with.
posted by phunniemee at 6:13 PM on October 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Was anyone else bothered by the bikes always being casually abandoned in the middle of the street?

No, that's totally what I did as a boy. I seemed to go through a bike about every six months as a result.
posted by maxsparber at 9:57 AM on October 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

As a visual production, I have no complaints. The color grading was excellent, the costuming and makeup were amazing, and I think this Pennywise is one of the creepiest things I've seen on film. Just some really solid work from all of the visual artists and Skarsgård's physical acting really sold Pennywise as a Lovecraftian horror in clown costume. (I was actually surprised to learn that Pennywise's weird lower lip is not makeup but something he can actually do.)

Of the child actors, the young lady playing Beverly was the best. She was so good, in fact, that I think the other actors felt inauthentic by comparison. Most of their interaction felt like an exaggerated performance more suitable for the stocks than celluloid and they didn't really sell the friendship/comraderie I could feel when watching Stranger Things or Stand by Me.

Unfortunately, though, I found myself chuckling through most of the horror scenes in the film the same way I do for other less serious horror, like the Nightmare series or Halloween 84: More Hockey Mask. Each child has their encounter with Pennywise and those encounters are beautifully shot, but few of them had emotional weight for me because the REAL horror of the movie is not Pennywise but the terrible lives that these kids are leading. The bullies are insanely violent and fearsome creatures with horrifying home lives, the parents are cruel, absent, or abusive, and I ended up thinking on several occasions that'd I'd rather float with Pennywise than spend one more second at home or at school in that godawful town. And because these hearth horrors were so very real and so very disturbing, Pennywise's antics seemed like just a weird and incongruent distraction from everything that truly matters. Though there were some efforts to make a link between the underlying rot of the town and Pennywise's existence, I found myself chafing at that a bit because I'm a cynic who thinks that human beings can be horrible enough without any influence from an ancient evil that roams in the sewer.

Ultimately, I think the real issue is that there was too much Pennywise. The more I saw him, the more comical he seemed by comparison with everything else going on.
posted by xyzzy at 3:32 AM on October 5, 2017

Ritchie is only scared of one thing. Clowns. He's not even scared of the town bully! He declares the rock war! He declared victory in the rock war with double birds and a foul bon-mot!

Pennywise looks at him as an easy-out. Doesn't take him seriously. No-one does, except Bill, who takes him seriously enough to punch him in the nose at one point.

His monologue at the end, where Pennywise is offering him an easy way out, it's not him trying to trick Pennywise. He is talking himself up into a righteous fury, because if he loves his friend more than he fears the clown... and he does...

Swing-batta-batta! Swing-batta-batta-swing!

The perfect line, delivered in the perfect way, in the perfect scene. Nice.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:23 PM on October 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

I thought this was ... okay, but not that great. The comment above that it feels both rushed and very long totally nailed it. It pencils in the bones of the kids' half of the book, but because it has to reach the "defeating IT for the first time" mark by the end of the film we don't get much of the color of the book. The kids meeting and bonding and becoming friends, the way that they're all isolated in different ways from their parents, the fundamental sickness of the town; the feeling that this is a thing that they have to do because the grownups don't see it.

I'm not sure that's particularly the fault of this adaptation; more that it's probably simply not possible to adapt it at this length in a way that fans of the book would find satisfying. I would be all over a 10-hour premium-cable miniseries.

It doesn't help that the movie keeps winking at the book: the very-brief appearence of Henry's sidekick Belch, Pennywise using book-Richie's "beep beep" catchphrase, the multiple lingering shots of Bill's bike "SILVER" that never pay off. (And why would Bill name it that in 1988? The Lone Ranger was decades out of popular consciousness by then? It felt a little like bits of King's 1958 kept swimming into this version.)

And yes, too much Pennywise. The film kinda bounces off the idea of IT using your greatest fear to scare you and lands straight back on HEY LOOK SCARY CLOWN.

Things that did work: the projector scene, yes. Pennywise's lair, orbited by the floating bodies of the disappeared. Beverley's creepy father.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:19 PM on October 31, 2017 [4 favorites]

posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:23 PM on October 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

Finally saw this in Japan, and my crowd was silent until the lights came on (per usual in 95% of movies here). I'm really jealous of people who got to feel the fear ripple into the audience and not just stay on screen. :(

It was a good, fun watch but didn't give me the jumps and horror I was hoping for. Ah well, maybe demons don't do it for me anymore (ghosts sure do, though). The final battle scene was really satisfying, even if they hesitated to beat Pennywise into the dust. I also enjoyed watching the different ways the subtitles referred to "it" to convey the same ambiguity, but that's a localized experience.

Thinking on it now, I remember trying to read it in high school but got distracted with other things at the time, because I definitely own a hard copy still. I'll probably give it another go now soon.
posted by lesser weasel at 11:17 PM on November 17, 2017

I also enjoyed watching the different ways the subtitles referred to "it" to convey the same ambiguity, but that's a localized experience.

I, for one, would love to hear more about it, if you care to expound.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:17 AM on November 20, 2017

Oh, sure! This did get a bit longer than I expected it to, whoops.

So to start, the official title/tagline for the movie is: 『IT/イット “それ”が見えたら、終わり。』 ("IT / Itto -- 'sore' ga mietara, owari"), which literally translates to "When you can see 'it', it's over". They kept the English title "IT" and put it in Japanese pronunciation, and then expanded a bit for flavor, which I think actually worked pretty well. And not just "when you see it", but when you can see it; the adults of the town most definitely could not.

Then for the subtitles, I saw It being referred to as
それ sore - it/that
あのやつ ano yatsu - that guy/thing
ピエロ piero - clown ("pierrot")

They used the third one a lot when they mentioned "clown" in the English dialogue, but also a few times when it was in context, but the subtitler wanted it to be clear anyway. Japanese can get away with dropping pronouns, but I think how they treated the translation worked especially well for this movie. You're still talking about it, but--like in English--in this case it's both vague and specific.

Related: Although it's common and I do understand why, unfortunately the subtitles aren't always word-for-word (or concept for concept), so a lot of times I feel like the audience is missing out, whether on jokes or actual information.

For example, from the trailer: "People die or disappear six times the national average; and that's just grownups. Kids are worse." got shortened to "Disappearances are at epic proportions, and the ones disappearing are mostly the kids." I personally think the factoid of 6x the national average has a larger impact, but I'm also going out on a limb and assuming maybe the US outweighs Japan in disappearances, and so the numbers wouldn't hold the same shock value for a local audience.

Then, just after, "[Kids are worse.] Way, way worse." translated to "Only the kids that can see 'it'"

"We all float down here" is very often changed to "Can you see it?" and only during the final repetition or emphasis of you'll float too do they actually translate the line and use the word for "float". (George: "We can play together, we can float like bubbles") Even just now rewatching the trailer, the Japanese subtitles heavily emphasize "seeing" and the ability to do so throughout.

So there's definite stylization choices, which I do think are interesting to analyze! But I can be a grump when good lines don't make the localization in the script. (People can only read so fast, after all.)

Trailer finishing tagline:
"sore" ga arawareru, kodomo ga kieru
when "it" appears, kids disappear
posted by lesser weasel at 5:49 AM on November 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

Finally saw this last night, and I think it's probably my favorite King adaptation. I noted with curiosity the several complaints about length and/or rushedness. I found the pacing to be really good.

OH MAN you just reminded me of one of my favorite things - in the background of this scene there's a patron (on the left-ish side of the frame) who is just hulking and glowering at Ben every time the camera gives the reverse shot of his face. It's really unsettling and a fantastic minor detail. As soon as the balloon floats past she's back to doing normal patron-y stuff.

This was incredibly terrifying and made use of one of my favorite horror tropes: something not quite right in the background -- and the more you look at it, the more it terrifies.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 9:53 AM on January 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

This just landed on HBO.

I think I enjoyed it more the second time because my expectations were suitably set; the book references felt more organic and less forced.

But: I still felt like it fell apart badly at the house on Neibolt Street -- which as all the comments above noted, is very much a generic haunted-house set -- and didn't really pull back together until the very satisfying "going to have to kill this fucking clown" moment.

To be fair, the book has the same problem: the long slow ominous build-up in the book's 1957 Derry is more frightening, and more satisfying, than the climactic confrontation.

Giving Mike's storyline to one of the white boys and eliminating the racism part of it was mystifying and inexcusable.

The racism is hinted at by Henry Bowers' behavior towards Mike. But yeah.

It's also really odd that the movie mentions the Black Spot several times as being one of Pennywise's recurrences but never addresses what happened there -- in contrast to the Derry Ironworks explosion, which it does spend a fair amount of time on. Mike's first encounter with Pennywise, withthe black hands desperately trying to escape a fire through a chained door, felt very much like a visual reference to how the book describes the fire at the Black Spot. But the book reframes it to instead explain how this version of Mike became orphaned.

The tree photo in the library and the slide projector from the garage were genuinely spooky

Both of those scenes were directorial riffing on the nature of film, I thought: motion pictures as a succession of still images. The book does have some similar moments in which the frozen images in photographs start moving, but I think animating that could have looked quite cheesy; the way the movie rendered these worked better in context.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:54 PM on July 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I saw this last night. It was okay, I guess. Good performances all around. I liked the history of Derry aspect. But I didn't find the movie scary. I'm not a Stephen King fan, either in the original text or in film adaptation. His plots always have a silliness and a triteness to them that have me spending much more time rolling my eyes than being frightened. I found the teen gang routinely beating up smaller kids, Bev's predatory father, and the century-deep trauma and dysfunction of Derry far more horrifying than that stupid "I EAT YOUR FEAR" clown, well played as it was by Bill Skarsgård.
posted by orange swan at 1:31 PM on March 2, 2019

It was pretty good. What surprised me was that I (mostly) liked the parts changed from the book just as much as what was kept. 100% less tweens all fucking Beverly, that's awesome. 100% less alien space spider. 99% less cosmic space turtle. 100% more cool scenes like in the library and garage.

It wasn't amazing. I agree that Mike's character was inexplicably cut down, Stan was dead weight, and the movie felt both overlong and rushed.
posted by Monochrome at 6:32 PM on May 16, 2019

I made a conscious decision to wait to see this until closer to a chapter two. So I finally saw it tonight. Can I just say that Finn Wolfhard nails the trash-mouthed kid archetype so well? I know this, because I was that kid.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:30 PM on August 2, 2019

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