“IT” Review: We walked out

September 11, 2017

BY KAREN CONRAD.

Yesterday I went to see “IT” with my son. We were mega excited, after viewing the tantalisingly spooky trailer and anticipating the film for months. We settled into our seats with the jumbo popcorn and prepared to be scared to within an inch of our lives by every kid’s nightmare from the sewer, Pennywise!

But it just didn’t happen.

Unfortunately, “IT” is a very slick-looking film that suffers from a crippling addiction to HUGE messy CGI scenes that it substitutes in place of storytelling.

The young actors are fantastic and it’s obvious that director Andy Muschietti tried to get a “Stand By Me” feel going in the relationships between the kids and although I liked all of the actors, I never engaged with any of them deeply. This film is simply too busy jumping around between ridiculous, overblown, often unintentionally funny scenes to bother with laying down the story and developing the characters.

To be fair, “IT” is an extremely difficult book to translate into film and much to its detriment, this version focuses on telling only the childhood half of Stephen King’s monsterpiece  – and it doesn’t even tell that bit particularly well.

The best scene of the film is it’s opening scene where innocent kid brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) sails his boat along in a storm when it is sucked down a drain into the clutches of the ever-lurking Pennywise, followed very shortly by Georgie himself.

After Georgie’s disappearance, his gentle, stuttering, grieving older brother Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) recruits six other kids – each endearingly dorky in their own way – to find Georgie. They name themselves “The Losers Club” and along the way their bond strengthens as they band together to defend each other from the various tortures of a psychotic bully boy  (Nicholas Hamilton) and his mates.  There are some very fine moments of friendship and a particularly tender look at the exquisite agony and confusion of first love, which is in this instance a triangular configuration, beautifully played by Beverley (Sophia Lillis) and Bill and the sweetly shy and bookish fat kid Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor).

Sadly, leper zombies, blood spewing basins, all manner of mutilated undead bodies and a clown that gets less scary every time he’s on screen only detract from this story, which never manages to be better than it’s first scene at the time of our departure.

We walked out shortly after Beverley placates her creepy incestuous father AGAIN (because we were too dumb to figure out he may be molesting her the first time the film raised this, right?). It was one of several unnecessary moments in this strangely hollow feeling film.

Lastly, the CGI-burdened Bill Skarsgard was fine, but give me Tim Curry any time as Pennywise for the win –  The Most Terrifying Clown Ever.

Rating 2.5 stars out of 5, mostly due to the cast of very fine young actors.

“IT” stars: Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skarsgard, Nicholas Hamilton and Jackson Robert Scott and is now showing at theatres everywhere in the known universe.

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