Is “It” Worthy of the Hype?
Yesterday I went to the theater and saw Stephen King's It. I have a lot of thoughts about the film and wanted to lay them out for you before I share my final verdict.
As someone who was born in 1983, I was a bit young and don't even really remember when "It" ran on ABC Television in 1990. Growing up, though, that made-for-TV miniseries would ALWAYS come up in conversations about the scariest movies ever. As someone who fancied more traditional horror motion pictures as the scariest, take The Shining, The Exorcist, or Carrie for example (and yes, I know Stephen King actually wrote THREE of the four films currently being discussed), I was surprised that a ten-year old show that ran on ABC could possibly be in contention.
I was always trying to get my hands on a copy of the film, but that was not so easy in the 1990s. DVDs didn't become popular until the turn of the millennium, and I don't recall ever seeing the TV version on videocassette. Even when DVDs became THE way of consuming media, it wasn't a slam-dunk that something as obscure as a TV miniseries from 1990 would get released. But for my birthday in 2005, my friend John was able to locate "It" on DVD and got it for me.
I didn't like "It" (the quotation marks denote the TV series, italics refer to the feature film) upon first viewing, but it's not the fault of the movie. The only reason I didn't like it was because I didn't find it scary at all. My expectations were off. Because it had always had the lure of being the "scariest movie ever," I wanted it to scare me into puddle of tears and urine, and it was so far from doing that. Because my expectations were so set in its ways, I was unable to appreciate the movie for what it was.
Flash forward to two weeks ago and the summer of 2017. "It" fever is sweeping the nation as the remake of the movie (which I know is a retelling of the novel) is slated to debut tomorrow. My girlfriend mentioned that she wanted to see the first movie before seeing the second, so I was happy to pop it back in watch it again.
This time however, twelve years after I first saw "It" and 27 years after it first aired, I knew that I was not going to be scared and I was able to really sink my teeth into the true STORY that propels "It..." And this time around, I LOVED IT!
And that is the best way I can prepare an audience to see the movie It. It is NOT the scariest movie you'll ever see, in fact it is far from it, but the story about "The Losers," the kinship and the bond the seven children form over the course of the film, it reminds me incredibly of Stand By Me... Which yes, I know was ALSO a Stephen King work. I feel like if someone goes in expecting a film more like Stand By Me with some scary elements, as opposed to a scary horror movie with a killer clown, they'll enjoy the film much more.
I'm comfortable giving It a solid B+. I preferred this remake to the original, and honestly even more so considering this film was only HALF of the story the ABC mini-series tells, with the other half scheduled to be released in the future. While I'm surprised it has broken ALL of the records that it has and received the nearly PREFECT critical praise, I personally do believe that It IS worthy of all of the hype that it has been lavished with. I would especially recommend this film to people who don't traditionally like scary movies.