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Friday, September 8, 2017

Movie Review: IT...

Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård) lurks in the sewers of Derry, Maine, in the big-screen adaptation of the Stephen King novel IT.

"Hiya, Georgie." So earlier today, I watched the big-screen adaptation of Stephen King's bestselling novel It...and needless to say, it was both funny and intense. It was a mixture of The Goonies and Stand by Me (which, of course, was based on Stephen King's earlier novella The Body), with a hungry, demonic clown as the main antagonist. Speaking of Pennywise the Dancing Clown (portrayed here with a sinister playfulness by Bill Skarsgård), this shape-shifting, child-eating creature is definitely the stuff of nightmares. From his opening scene where he greets 6-year-old Georgie (played by Jackson Robert Scott) from inside that sewer drain, to a moment later in the film where he reveals his true physical self to the Losers' Club (the group of kids who would ultimately defeat him—for the time being) inside that wellhouse, Pennywise didn't waste a moment to terrify his victims before dismembering them within the sewers of the small town of Derry, Maine.

The Losers' Club is determined to defeat Pennywise the Dancing Clown in IT.

It was funny in that all of the kids who comprised the Losers' Club shared witty banter that was definitely realistic of what kids joked about during the 1980s. Most of the zingers came from Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard), who went from remarking that only the virgins in the group (which apparently was everyone in the Losers' Club but Richie himself) could see Pennywise when others couldn't, to him commenting that Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor) was "leaking hamburger helper" after Pennywise slices the portly boy's stomach with his claws during that wellhouse scene mentioned in the previous paragraph. And prior to entering the wellhouse, the Losers had to draw straws to see who would be the lucky one to wait outside while everyone else headed into Pennywise's dreadful lair. Richie drew the short straw, but commented that things would've been different if they "measured the size of their d**ks" instead. Aw, juvenile humor.

Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott) is about to have a fateful encounter with Pennywise the Dancing Clown in IT.

In regards to It's intensity, not a single moment goes by when the Losers' Club isn't harassed by Pennywise or a fellow citizen of Derry. Along with the monstrous clown, the Losers are also tormented by Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) and his high school band of bullies...to the point where Bowers and his gang also find themselves on a collision course with Pennywise himself. The heroine of the Losers' Club, Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis) also has to deal with being slut-shamed at school as well as going home to an abusive father who may or may not be having an inappropriate relationship with her. And Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer) thinks he's ill when his mom was giving him placebos to make him feel sick just so he would stay home with her most of the time. Clearly, the Losers are in no position to win as long as they're living in the small, messed-up town of Derry.

Another kid goes missing in Derry, thanks to Pennywise the Dancing Clown in IT.

Overall, It was more emotional than it was terrifying. It revolved around Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher) and his quest to find out what happened to his little brother Georgie after he went missing a year earlier. And the moments between Beverly and Ben were sweet...even after she found out that he was a fan of New Kids on the Block. (BTW, with most of It taking place in 1989, I liked how it featured references to Tim Burton's first Batman movie, Lethal Weapon 2 and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5—which all came out in theaters that year.) Director Andy Muschietti and his writers were definitely mindful of having us care about the Losers before having them get bloodied up by Pennywise in the film's finale.

Pennywise the Dancing Clown makes his presence known outside a Derry wellhouse in IT.

All-in-all, It was a commendable flick. This movie is actually 'Chapter One' in the horror story, with Warner Bros. yet to approve the production of Chapter Two (though I'm sure that will be a sure thing after the box office results for this opening weekend come in). In Chapter Two, the Losers' Club will be grown-up...with its members returning to Derry in the present day to confront Pennywise for the final time. I can't wait to see which adult actors will be cast to portray Bill, Ben, Richie, Eddie, Beverly and company...and how Pennywise will use modern technology to further his reign of terror in the hapless city of Derry, and maybe elsewhere. But in the meantime, I recommend watching this current installment of the It franchise if you're a horror movie buff. I saw the film mostly because I'm a fan of villainous clowns—hence why Heath Ledger's Joker makes The Dark Knight my all-time favorite Batman flick (Jack Nicholson, you're still awesome), and why that zombie clown in 2009's Zombieland was hilariously badass—and wanted to see just how delightfully frightful Skarsgård's Pennywise would be. Sure enough, he delivered. Please greenlight It: Chapter 2, Warner Bros. Thank you.

See ya, Georgie.

Pennywise the Dancing Clown confronts Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis) in IT.

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