Quick Thoughts on It: Chapter One

Red Molly and I finally got around to seeing It last night, and I have some thoughts.  Beware, unmarked spoilers and unexplained references to both the 1990 miniseries and the original book to follow: 

1) Bev was so incredibly badass. I love it. In a lot of ways, I think she stole the movie. They almost ruined it with that whole “maiden in distress” thing, but not quite. Honestly, the only way they could give the boys a chance to kick some ass is to take Bev out of the picture for a bit.

2) If Tim Curry’s Pennywise was Jack Nicholson’s Joker, then this Pennywise was Heath Ledger’s Joker. Where Curry’s Pennywise was genuinely charming and funny in a Freddy Krueger sort of way, this Pennywise clearly has trouble keeping the child-eating chaos beast hidden for any length of time. The clown avatar is clearly decaying over the course of the movie, but it’s hard to say if that’s because he’s going hungry, or if a physical body can only contain the Deadlights for so long.

3) Is it just me, or did anyone else catch a glimpse of…something…in the darkness below when Pennywise was hanging in that deeper well?

4) One of the changes I didn’t like is how they gave Mike’s Derry Historian duties to Ben. Mike doesn’t get a whole lot of characterization as a result.

5) Speaking of Mike, I’m not sure how I feel about the movie killing off his parents and replacing them with a hardass grandfather (btw, are we supposed to suspect that Henry knew more about that fire than he said?), but I see why they did it. Now all of the Losers’ families (at least the ones we see; I don’t think we meet Richie’s) are unhappy in some way.

6) On that note, they sure did take Al Marsh’s abusiveness in a new and more disturbing direction. It adds whole new layers to the “blood in the sink” scene.

7) Pennywise’s lair was…perfect. This is where we really get the idea that Pennywise is more than just a shapeshifting child-eating monster. He is something Greater, something our minds can’t comprehend, and that lair is his altar to himself.

8) I don’t know how I feel about the change from the book, where it was the Losers’ imagination and personal magic that allowed them to fight back, whereas in the movie it’s simply their courage. I suppose the book version is a complicated thing to bring into even a long movie.

9) Finn Wolfhard does an amazing job as Richie Tozier, but no one will ever match Seth Green.

10) When I first saw the 1990 miniseries and read the book, I knew who I was rooting for to end up with Bev. Now, 27 years (one sleep-cycle for It) later, I’m not sure. Ben loves her truly, madly, deeply, enough to call her back from the Deadlights. She knows it, too. But as much affection as she has for Ben, it’s Bill she has eyes for. I don’t want Ben to be unhappy, but I don’t want there to be even the slightest hint that he “deserves” her. They’ve managed to avoid that so far, so I guess we’ll see in 2018.

PS – I seem to be one of a relative few that actually kinda liked this part:

I just find it to be a perfect combination of menace and black humor.  By this point, Pennywise has been toying with the Losers all movie to “fatten up” their fear, and this is a continuation of that. But by this point, Beverly has overcome her deepest fear, and Pennywise is being forced to improvise a bit, and he’s coming across a bit like a standup comedian who’s bombing onstage and considering murdering the audience.

That said, he’s shaking the whole damn cave with his dancing. This is our hint that It is a much bigger and more powerful entity than what we see.

Besides, it’s the first time in any medium I’ve actually seen Pennywise the Dancing Clown actually, y’know, dance.

PPS – Apparently, the director is on record as saying that he suspects that It got the Pennywise persona by meeting a real, human Bob Gray/Pennywise the Dancing Clown. We see how It treats humans that it considers meaningless snacks. How does It treat a human who actually catches Its interest?

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