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It Chapter Two - Movie Review

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It Chapter Two

When Stephen King’s doorstop novel was adapted for TV in the 90’s, it accomplished what shouldn’t have been possible. King’s novel is a behemoth tome, with dozens of characters, and was one of his truly graphic forays into the horror genre for which is he known. He really didn’t hold back in this one. Nothing was off limits. It’s why It is one of his most favored. The TV adaptation successfully managed to tell this story within a two part mini-series, despite all the hobbled blunting the early 90s’ network censoring could muster. This reviewer always liked the mini-series, but lamented the limitations of TV to effectively tell this horrific tale, and lost all interest when the adults replaced the kids in the second episode.

"Absolutely, gob-smackingly, brilliant"


The remake announcement was met with a collective groan, but Andy Muschietti’s 2017 film proved resoundingly what I had always hoped: an aptly budgeted and unrestrained forum was a better fit. The first It is the current R-rated box office champ, grossing over 800 million. The changes made to that film were intelligent, commercially driven (changing the decades in which It takes place made the characters more relatable to contemporary film goers) but never strayed away from the core of who these characters were. It was a remarkably faithful first half of King’s book and deserved its success.

There was little doubt Muschietti would get to complete the tale. The question (and this reviewer’s fear) was would the heart of kids in the first one be lost with the adult versions taking over.

Set 27 years after the first film’s 1989, the losers have spread to the four winds and all but forgotten what occurred that summer. Mike Hanlon, the only loser to stay in Derry, has carried the torch of watcher all these years, and when the mysterious and frightening murders begin again in the sleepy town, Mike calls his old chums back to finish off Pennywise—once and for all.

There is a rule of thumb in filmmaking that the two genres one wants to be succinct in is comedy or horror. Muschietti throws that play book out the window, and I’m pleased to say successfully. It is a very long horror movie, clocking in at almost 3 hours, but you won’t notice it.

There are seven adult losers to meet and develop through the flick and the way it’s done, especially in the first act, is inspiring. Any fear I harbored that the adults wouldn’t endear themselves to the audience as well as the kids did is very quickly put to bed. The standout actors in the adult roles are not the headliners. Bill Hader and James Ransone as Richie and Eddie steal the movie with the love/hate relationship that will both make you laugh and tug at your heart strings.

Which leads me to summarize why both these movies are equally successful: you care about these people, when they are kids and then again when they’re grown. The mini-series failed to do that, and the acting from most of the adults (in my opinion) was awful compared to the kids. In this, you really believe these are the grown losers. The performances show real layers that run deep, and, when the horror begins—and it doesn’t take long—you are scared for them. That is the essence of real terror: fear of losing something you love. These characters are all lovable, and you don’t want them to go.

Let’s focus for a minute on the scares. There are some truly graphic and disturbing scenes in the film, and they don’t hold back at all, just as in the novel. You will see putrefied corpses, severed bodies, and children brutally murdered. The leering camera accomplishes a few scenes that made the audience I saw it with reel back in their chairs. But this film, as the last, still leans too heavily of jump scares, and cheapens the film for it.

What is masterful is Benjamin Wallfisch’s score. He beautifully balanced moments of unrelenting horror, oppressive anticipation and wistful, beautiful heart throughout. One of the most extraordinary scores I’ve heard in a scary movie since James Newton Howard’s The Sixth Sense.

The effects are brilliant and the budget of this one would have to have been considerably more, considering the scenes in the latter half of King’s book. A scene that is (again) a complete fail in the finale of the mini-series is far more effective in this version (but still not scary to me).It Chapter Two

Muschietti's deft homage to some of the horror’s revered classics is ever present, and this time some thematic nods to John Carpenter’s The Thing are added to the mix. Most of the key markers needed to faithfully adapt King’s book are in there, and I think will satisfy the book’s loyal.

This completes an amazing adaptation of a gigantic whack-a-doodle novel that is near impossible to tell in any other forum. But they have done it and well. I won’t go as far as to call It perfect, because I have no idea how the hell I’d make it any better. I will go as far to say I think It is now definitive though. Absolutely, gob-smackingly, brilliant.

4/5 beers

It Chapter Two

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor:
Available on Blu-ray
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It CHapter Two

MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violent content and bloody images throughout, pervasive language, and some crude sexual material..
Runtime:
189 mins
Director
: Andy Muschietti
Writer:
Gary Dauberman
Cast:
Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
You'll float again.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You lied, and I died. YOU LIED, AND I DIED!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site: https://www.warnerbros.com/movies/it-chapter-two
Release Date:
September 6, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis:Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

It CHapter Two

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