January 11, 2018

Blu-ray Review: IT (2017)

"It's even better the 2nd time around on Blu-ray."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1396484/
(aka The Loser's Club.)
Release Date: September 8th.
Country: USA.
Rating: R.
Written by: Chase Palmer and Cary Fukunaga.
Directed by: Anthony Muschietti.
Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff, and Bill Skarsgard.

There have been some great movies this year, but as we approach the 4th quarter of 2017, none of them has made us feel like the remake of IT did.

In direct contrast to the 1990 mini-series, it's not even Pennywise that made this remake so great, but the story of the kids. IT definitely has a Stranger Things vibe about it, but watching The Loser's Club run around Derry, Maine brought to mind movies like The Goonies or The Monster Squad, probably because we're old, and those movies came way before the hit Netflix show did.

Point is, it reminded us of a time when our friends were all we had, and we stuck together through whatever came our way.

It might sound crazy, but this new take on the world of IT is so captivating that I really wish that they would have gone the TV route with it. Season 1 could have been 8 episodes of the kid's story, and Season 2 could have switched gears to the adults, and finished things off.

As it stands though, the IT remake is a great piece of work that made us wish we were kids again... just not in Derry, where a killer clown from the nth dimension would be trying to eat us.

On a rainy day in 1988, stuttering Bill Denbrough makes a paper boat for his little brother Georgie, so that he can go outside and sail it in the gutters. The boat washes into a storm drain that is occupied by a clown who introduces himself as Pennywise the Dancing Clown before biting the kid's arm off, and dragging him into the sewers.

JUST LET THE BOAT GO, GEORGIE.
9 months later, and the list of missing kids is growing. While Bill and his friends, The Loser's Club, spend their days being terrorized by the sadistic Henry Bowers and his gang of thugs, they all start having horrific run-ins with a clown, who tries to kill each of them in ways suited to their worst fears. Mainly because Pennywise feeds on fear.

AND HE ALSO INSPIRES FEAR QUITE WELL.
When they finally realize that Pennywise is a very real threat and has been eating children every 27 years for centuries, they band together to put an end to him once and for all.

INTO THE GLORY HOLE OF DOOM THEY GO.
IT is the kind of Horror movie that we desperately need. Not only is it scary as hell, but the coming-of-age story that anchors most of the movie is genuinely heartfelt, and it sucked us in and made us want to be a part of The Loser's Club. As scary as it is, and it is scary, it's filled with plenty of humor and humanity, and it captures the perils of being an outcast child fantastically.

The casting of the kids is just about perfect. Watching Sophia Lillis as Beverly, I said to myself "This girl is going to win an Oscar someday." Sounds crazy, but the girl displays the type of nuance that separates good actors from the great, and she played the part as if she'd been born to do so. It was an absolute star-making turn. The rest of the kids were great too, with Finn Wolfhard's Richie being our fave; the kid made us laugh, and he brought some much needed levity to the dark proceedings.

As for Bill Skarsgard's take on Pennywise... Look, say what you will about the 1990 mini-series, but Tim Curry was brilliant as Pennywise, and his performance will stand as one of the Horror greats forever. So what can we really expect from someone else trying to follow that kind of lead, you know? Skarsgard makes for a terrifying clown, and he gives the film plenty of menace, but it just wasn't as good as Curry's turn. And it didn't have to be.

  • The Lego turtle was a nice nod.
  • As was the doll of Tim Curry's Pennywise.
  • The bathroom scene was a huge improvement over the one from the mini-series, and it was one of the best bits in the movie.
  • The rock fight rocked.

THIS GIRL STOLE THE SHOW.
As with any remake, or adaptation of a novel, there are going to be changes. Here, they made Georgie go missing instead of his body being found early on; the way that Bev makes it into the sewers at the end is different, and not as good; what exactly was Henry Bower's fate? Who will take the rap for the child murders? It was a bummer that Patrick Hockstetter's creepy story wasn't delved into a bit more too. And what about The Wolfman? The giant bird? The Paul Bunyan statue that comes to life? And why did they change Mike's character so much? And a bolt gun instead of the slingshot?

They obviously made these changes to appeal to the modern audience, and make things scarier. These are minor gripes, as we get that not everything from the book could possibly make the movie, but we miss certain elements.

THE HOUSE ON NIEBOLT STREET.
IT ended, and we wanted more. Also, production on the 2nd part of IT (which is not a sequel, but the back-half of the story) hasn't even begun production yet!

GIVE US MORE!
The bathroom scene with Beverly is literally soaked in blood, and it is glorious.

THOSE TAMPONS SURE ARE GOING TO COME IN HANDY NOW.
Not that kind of movie at all.

INSTEAD, IT'S THIS KIND OF MOVIE.
IT looks and sounds great in 1080p (and we imagine it must look even better on 4K), and it made our return trip to Derry, Maine a technically impressive one. I personally loved the Pennywise Lives! and Loser's Club featurettes, and the look behind the scenes that they gave us.

The only bad thing about this disc is that in a few months there will be an Extended Director's Cut released, so it feels like buying this one is a bit of a pre-double dip. I needed to own it, and to watch it again now, but for people who aren't a big fan of double-dipping, you may want to wait until that DC is released.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
  • Pennywise Lives! – Discover how Bill Skarsgård prepared to portray the primordial creature known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown
  • The Losers' Club – Get up close and personal with the teenage stars of "IT" as they bond together during the production,
  • Author of Fear – Stephen King reveals the roots of his best-selling novel, the nature of childhood fear and how he created his most famous monster, Pennywise
  • Deleted Scenes – Eleven deleted or extended scenes from the film
  • Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese
  • Subtitles: English, Latin Spanish, Parisian French, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese

HE'S A SCARY DUDE.
The bottom line is this: IT is a great remake, a great film in its own right, and it should be seen by all. It has a special, nostalgic quality about it, it's terrifying (at least for those who fear clowns), and for us, it more than lived up to its massive pre-release hype.

Read the book, watch the original mini-series, and then grab the disc and enjoy.

A+

IT is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.

http://amzn.to/2qHCCOj

Some shots of Pennywise, because who doesn't need a few more nightmares in their life?

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