IT (1990) Review

I am crazy excited for the remake of IT. Crazy. Excited. So, I figured that I would rewatch the original film/miniseries in preparation. And, let me tell you, there is an awful lot that I forgot about that original miniseries.

Mainly, I forgot how anticlimactic the whole film. I forgot how wonderful the first half is and how rough the second half is. I forgot that John Ritter (RIP) and little Seth Green were in this miniseries. And I forgot how amazing Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise the Clown was and how it carries nearly the whole film.

The film starts out great. The kids are weirdly captivating. Tim Curry as Pennywise is, well, different. He’s not an average villain. But, that doesn’t make him any less terrifying. The first half focuses, mainly, on the events that happened in 1960, among the 7 friends. This is all told in flashback. The second half focuses on the events currently happening in 1990, when the kids, now all grown up, are all recalled back to the town by Mike Hanlon because It is back. The adults just aren’t as interesting as the children. It’s weird and I can’t really pinpoint why, but they just aren’t. I don’t know if it’s a chemistry thing or what.

And let’s talk about that ending fight scene, shall we? It is crazy anticlimactic. This film (or miniseries, or whatever the hell you want to call it) does really well at subtlety building and building. You would hope that it’s building up to something epic, something exciting. But, and I hate to break it to you, it isn’t. The ending of this film amounts to several adults kicking and punching a rather large spider, and ripping out its heart. Cool.

I do like the theme of “you can never escape the past”, though. The “memory-erasing” thing bothers me, as does that weird “the bicycle saves things” thing. I chock all that up to Tommy Lee Wallace and Lawrence D. Cohen condensing a 1,000+ page book into a 3 hour miniseries. In fact, one of the reasons that I am excited for the remake is that, from the looks of the trailers, it focuses solely on the first half of the book, the part that takes place in 1960. That’s the best part, anyway.

I want to leave this off with a note about the performance of Mr. Tim Curry. If it were not for his performance as Pennywise the Clown, this film would not be worth the rewatch. He terrified an entire generation of children. Ask anybody in their twenties or thirties. He horrified the shit out of us. I look forward to Bill Skarsgard’s interpretation of the role in the remake, but, I tell you what, I think it’ll be awful hard to compete with Curry’s.


See the IT (2017) in theaters on September 8th.

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