The Three Hundred and Forty-First Post: The One Where I Review ‘It: Chapter Two”!

I finally saw ‘IT: Chapter Two’ in the theatres, by far one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. Stephen King adaptations tend to run in only two directions: great (Misery), and not so much (Maximum Overdrive). While I was worried that the second half wouldn’t translate well, and I do have a couple of bones to pick with it – all in all, it has been one of the better adaptations. Nothing is better than Misery as far as film-to-movie goes.

One of the things that I noticed with the second one that didn’t happen with the first were the jump scares. There were fewer ones in the second, and the ones that were there (only three) you could see coming. I think this was a stylistic choice. The first movie dealt with the characters as children, so they’re going to be many more things to terrify them. The director made a good choice in really amping up the horror, but also giving the audience time to cool down…much like the children had with the summer. The second movie had the Losers Club as adults. Fewer jump scares, because they had already been through the hazing that was Pennywise twenty-seven years ago, but now their fears were reasonable, adult fears. The only character that still had that childish scares was Patrick Hocksteller. He was still trapped in that child-like mind set from being in the sanitarium.

The great thing about both the novel and the movie was the message about not giving up a child-like mind. Not letting the wonder fade into the grey ennui of mortgages, 401k and the comfort of a good marriage. All the Losers Club went on to jobs that benefited from that young spark of imagination mixed with the very adult toolset of intelligence and wisdom. One thing that I really liked in the first movie that carried over to the second one was things happening in the background. One of hte more remarkable scenes featuring a chronically underused Bill Hader was his confrontation with Pennywise during the festival. Pay attention to the background. I don’t want to outline it for fear of spoiling it. Given the nature of the confrontation, and what happens the director gives us a very unsettling reinforcement of Pennywise’s subtle control over the whole town.

There are some problems I found with the second film, and they aren’t very spoilerly if you’ve read the book and seen the movie, but you should also know that adaptations are rarely faithful – but if you want to go to the theatres with an untainted mind, skip the next paragraph.

Aubrey and Mike – Bill and Beverly’s spouses respectively – don’t make much of an appearance in the film, while in the novel, they’re powerful pawns in Pennywise’s defense. I understand that there might have been more, but it was either not present in the screenplay, or their material rests on the cutting room floor. Mike should have gotten more screen time at the beginning, just because I would have liked to have seen Beverly having to face down him down in the final showdown. While all of them had to face more nebulous psychological fears, it would have been nice to see Bev face down and conqueror a very visceral fear in Mike.

All in all – It: Chapter Two is worth the price of admission, in theaters right now. Go see it. Next week…I don’t know. I might do another card just to try to stay in the habit of scrambling to beat a totally arbitrary deadline. Writing is continuing on as it slowly does. I am finally getting to write one of the scenes I’ve been waiting to do for a while involving Ehren and the reason why he sells barely functioning potions to people who really don’t want or need them. I can’t wait!

Stay safe, Ignore any clowns offering you balloons. I’ll see y’all later.