It Floats Too
It (2017): A group of bullied kids band together when a monster, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children.
I LOVE this movie. One of the most anticipated horror films of the past few years, It is a big-budget horror movie that is a remake (I know......another one) of a 1990 TV movie bearing the same name. But, believe it or not, the film lives up to the hype. Personally, I have not seen the original, but that allows me to look at this film in a vacuum and not compare it to the original in any way. But after seeing this version I am going to change that very soon, because if it's anywhere near as good as this film is I will have an absolute blast watching it. The short summary is It is one of my favorite movies of the year, and is well worth the time of anyone who even kind of likes horror films. Sure there's some studio tomfoolery here, and sure it's yet another remake of an existing property, but somehow this film overcomes its major potential shortcomings and becomes a surprisingly strong film in its own right. So, without further ado, let's dive into what makes It so great!
What makes It one of my favorite movies of the year? There are several reasons behind this, but the top one is without a doubt Pennywise the DANCING Clown. Played brilliantly by Bill Skarsgård, (this will probably be one of my top performances of the year, by the way) Pennywise is a menacing and terrifying villain, stealing every single scene he's in. (Or may be in) The delivery of the character from Skarsgård is fantastic....he is completely unpredictable, and from his small mannerisms with his body to his emphasis on certain words, (it's not Pennywise the Dancing Clown, it's Pennywise the DANCING Clown) this really is one of the best villains I've seen on screen in a long time. Skarsgård has said in interviews about playing the character that Heath Ledger's legendary performance of The Joker was one of his biggest inspirations for Pennywise, and looking back at it I can certainly see why. Pennywise is easily worth the cost of admission alone, but there are several other reasons for why I like this movie so much.
Besides Pennywise, the big thing this movie has going for it is character development. So many horror films nowadays do not take the time to slow done and flesh out its characters: they're mostly about going from one pop scare to the next. But It is 135 minutes long, and much of this time is spent developing each member of The Loser's Club. There are 7 members of this club, and yet it feels like each and every one of them is given their moment to shine. I kind of expected Finn Wolfhard, coming off his huge success with Stranger Things, to steal the show here, (he kind of does) but for the most part everyone is given equal screen time. Director Andy Muschietti and co. did a great job ensuring that every one of The Loser's Club has their individual encounter with Pennywise, and that really helps ensure they each have believable incentives for banding together. Seriously though.....this film does a better job fleshing out its characters than The Hobbit franchise did, and there Peter Jackson had 9 hours of film to do it! Ughhhhhh why did The Hobbit get broken into 3 films.....? Anyway, back on track. This movie also does a great job with its visual effects. While there were a few swings-and-misses in this department, I really think overall (and for a horror film) the effects were fantastic. Finally, I loved the score! Benjamin Wallfisch did a great job creating the perfect score for this movie. Too many horror films nowadays forget that having a good score makes your horror film that much scarier, but Wallfisch's score certainly adds to the ambiance as a whole.
That said, this film does have a few problems. First and foremost.....you remember how I complimented the film for taking the time to flesh out The Loser's Club? You know who loses a lot of screen time because of this? Pennywise. I know, you're stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one, but Pennywise is undoubtedly the best part of the film, so I wish he had received more screen time. Also, this film has a very rushed side story about a bully separate to Pennywise that doesn't really go anywhere. I'm guessing it's from the original novel and they wanted to keep it around, but it doesn't seem to do much other than give the film an unnecessary second villain that isn't even on the same planet as Pennywise. Finally, sequel-baiting! I guess this was inevitable, since this film's studio is Warner Brothers, but of course we have to bait the unavoidable sequel that will likely turn into three films after WB stumbles into an absurd amount of money with this film. The last few moments of this film just made me shake my head as we have to, yet again, put up with a studio trying to make as much money as possible. (Can you say a WB horror cinematic universe? Because knowing WB they're certainly going to try!) Fortunately, though, the sequel-baiting wasn't enough to deter the film as a whole for me. In conclusion, despite a few missteps, It delivers on the scares and is the best horror film I've seen since 2014's It Follows. Go see it if you even remotely like horror flicks!
The Critique: Anchored by an incredible performance from Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise, It is one of the best horror films in recent years, combining great character development and terrifying scares.
The Recommendation: A must-see for anyone with an inkling for horror films. And a great date movie! Right......?
The Verdict: 9/10 Awesome
Oscar Talk: Yes, it's time for one of the first Oscar Talks of 2017! I only include this because I how the Academy remembers this performance from Bill Skarsgård come January. Best Supporting Actor can sometimes be a weak category and if it is this year Skarsgård should have a great case for being included. We'll see!
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