A Brief History
On September 8, 2017, Warner Brothers Pictures major motion picture, It, the adaptation of the creepy Stephen King horror novel (1986), will be released to theaters across the US. Last night we were privileged to review the movie at a pre-screening, or should we say, “pre-screaming?”
Stephen King has written books that have sold over 350 million copies, and in 1986 It was the best selling book of the year in the US. Not surprisingly, as have many of Stephen King’s stories, It was adapted for the screen in 1990 as a television mini-series. For 2017 the story gets new life on the big screen, 135 minutes worth (not that long considering the book’s 1100+ pages).
Unlike the book and mini-series, this movie adaptation ignores the adult portion of the band of friends that battle the eternal evil they dub “It.” The 7 13 year old friends, known as the “Losers,” also battle life’s other serious problems, including abusive parents, obesity, loss of family members, a hypochondriac mother, and especially particularly brutal bullies. Before purists get upset about the dispensing with the “Losers” as adults, be advised that the 2017 film was made with a sequel already planned to round out the story. Hey, you can only sit through a movie so long! Trying to capture the entire book would require a mini-series…
Bill Skarsgard plays a creepy and scary Pennywise, the evil clown embodiment of “It,” and he does it with a fine performance worthy of the iconic performance of Tim Curry in the mini-series. The “Losers” are also well cast, as are the handful of adults. Acting is good, and the dialogue is believable, though a little risqué for younger children. Rated R, the sexual innuendo and abject terror might be too much for sensitive kids under 13, so use your best judgement if bringing younger children to the movie. Since the evil force feeds on fear, it is only logical that the movie will instill fear in the audience. It is seriously scary!
Speaking of the audience, despite a completely packed theater, no giggling or chatter was heard during the movie, the attention of the audience clearly focused on the screen. Post screening chatter seemed to revolve around comparisons to the mini-series.
Mostly true to the novel, some differences were incorporated in this year’s movie edition which help keep the movie fresh and not a mere karaoke version of the mini-series. It is an exceptional movie, clearly in the upper crust of quality horror films, a must see for Stephen King fans and all fans of horror movies. Struggling to find anything negative to say about the film, all we could come up with was a soundtrack that was a little weird, but not distractingly so. The lack of readily identifiable major stars works to the advantage of the film as the characters are seen as the character, instead of the celebrity you know.
See It! You know you want to, and you know you have to! Take your kids, but be careful with those under 13. Stephen King is the greatest horror writer in history and his books are wonderful as the basis for film, and It is just more proof of that statement,
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