Review of 2017’s “It”

Saw the movie “It” yesterday. I knew it wasn’t going to be as good as the first miniseries, so I wouldn’t say that I was disappointed. It was a CGI shitfest. Hollywood keeps churning them out because people keep buying the tickets. I guess most people enjoy the ugly patchwork of CGI “action” (or, at the very least, are willing enough to put up with it to buy a ticket for a story that they want to see). But the way CGI is used today produces within me a mental fatigue.

CGI can be a good compliment, but it was heavily overdone. I’ve heard this a lot from people who are more avid movie watchers than I. I’ve heard, for several years, the complaint that “There’s too much CGI in movies nowadays.” I understand their complaints. If you can’t make it look right practically, then use CGI. But at least make an effort. Yeah, I know it’s cheaper to use CGI. And that’s the problem. It’s cheaper and easier, so we get shittier products (as far as I’m concerned). Once again, I don’t watch a lot of movies. But I’m disappointed that CGI has become a crutch that is broken itself. One reason that I don’t watch a lot of movies is I find the CGI in the movies that I do watch too mentally fatiguing. My suspension of disbelief disappears so often when I see obvious CGI mixed in with “real life”. It can be done right, such as with creating aliens. (Whatever CGI in “The Dark Knight” is perfect). But so much CGI in movies that I’ve seen is just ugly. I’d have to give some examples of what I’m talking about at another time.

The “action” sequences in “It” involving CGI were very bad. Maybe it was just bad CGI. Maybe it could’ve been replaced with CGI that was actually GOOD. But I hated it. I’ve become numb to CGI, and I don’t enjoy movies that heavily rely on it. For the most part.

I was also disappointed with Pennywise. His look was fine. It’s hard not to compare him to Tim Curry’s Pennywise. Nothing can top that masterful performance. But my main problem with the clown was how he was used. There were way too many shitty jumpscares, in my opinion. He just rushes at the camera, from side-to-side. Such shit. Jumpscares are like CGI: I’m not completely against them, but don’t make the whole movie jumpscares. The original “It” was so creepy. It was very slow. There was a fantastic build-up. And Tim Curry could scare the shit out of you when he snapped: talking normally, and then the last word of a sentence, he sharply YELLS. Amazing. This movie did not have that creepy mood to it to me. It was a little too over-the-top. Too obvious. Georgie’s “You’ll float too, you’ll float too, YOU’LL FLOAT TOO!” pained me to watch. Some people in the audience seemed to enjoy it, but I hated it. It wasn’t creepy. It was just annoying. Like a shitty horror video game. That’s what it felt like: that they tried too hard, and made it too obvious. Not enough suspense to warrant the excessive loud noises and jumps at the camera. They basically substituted Pennywise’s personality for jumpscares. That really hurts. The personality Pennywise did have wasn’t strong enough. I didn’t feel enough of why we should be scared of him. Obvious CGI isn’t a reason.

I did enjoy some of the non-Pennywise CGI, however. The zombie or mummy, whatever it was, without a nose was nice and creepy. The painting that came to life was very creepy (it should’ve had more screen time somehow).

I didn’t like the teeth of Pennywise, for some reason. Yeah, there were rows and rows of sharp teeth, like there should’ve been. But I didn’t like the look of it. That’s the time you should use a jumpscare: when he BITES. But they instead decided to keep everything well-lit, and then, his mouthful of teeth come out so you can see them all. It wasn’t scary enough. It was more like “Oh, look at those teeth.”

One of the very first scenes, Georgie running into that caution barricade, completely took me out of the mood (when I saw that in the trailer, I was hoping to God that it was only in the trailer). It was nice and eerie up to that point. And that one moment of slapstick took me out of the mood. “Is it going to be a slapstick comedy? Or creepy?” I was very disappointed with that decision. It occurred too early in the movie. They didn’t take enough time to develop the mood (the audience’s expectation, considering how popular the story is, isn’t enough of a “mood” setter). The mood of “It” shouldn’t be slapstick. It should be fucking CREEPY.

I thought most of the characters were well done. Bill as a kid is always a hard character to do. It’s hard for a kid to stutter right. I wasn’t a fan of Bill in the original, and I wasn’t a fan of him, here. Mike’s character was great. Bev’s was fantastic. Ben’s was very good. Stan was forgettable. And Eddie and Richie were both very good. Aside from that initial stupid barricade moment, Richie and Eddie were the “funny”. Richie, as a character, is supposed to be “comic relief”. And he was good at it. The other characters had a seriousness to them that didn’t try to overpower Richie’s humor with humor of their own, so his one-liners actually worked very well: especially for a kid his age. Eddie’s “unintentional” humor was also very good. The parents of the children were fantastic. You could really see why Eddie was as nervous as he was. Bev’s dad was very creepy, and the moment she cut off her hair after her father touched it was very powerful. I found Bill’s father to be forgettable. I didn’t really like his character. Mike’s grandfather was a good character: very no-nonsense, straightforward. Actually giving wisdom, and killing the animal in front of Mike because they needed to sell the meat. The bullies were great. Especially Henry Bowers. His performance was very good. Very believable. Much like with Bev and Eddie, you could really feel how Henry was raised. Not much time needed to be spent with Henry’s backstory at all, but you just knew how his home life was (I think that’s mainly due to King’s storytelling ability, but the movie portrayed that well). That one moment where Henry’s father, a cop, shoots three shots from his pistol into the ground right in front of his son to scare him told you all that you needed to know. Fantastic scene.

The scenes where the kids are around the clown are weird. I realize the actors are children, but they weren’t scared enough of the clown for my taste. Even when you’re fighting the clown, you need to be able to show some fear. How could you not? Fighting a clown in a sewer? Felt like just basic fight choreography.

The blood looked fake as hell when they were cleaning it from Bev’s bathroom.

The decision for them to be kids in the 80s was a good one. Keep it more relevant for the audience. A nice update. I personally wish they would’ve been a little more obvious with it. You could tell when the music played that it was supposed to take place in the 80s, but there wasn’t much else that I noticed that made it feel like the 80s. Granted, the mood shouldn’t be something like “Saved By the Bell” (it’s “It”, afterall), but just a little more would have satisfied me. Maybe one perm, or something. There was an ’80s car, and Henry had a mullet. But I wanted just a little more. Maybe some pink and teal somewhere.

The nicer horror scenes (the ones that weren’t shitty CGI) were funny, as good horror scenes should be.

The movie definitely felt like they were just trying to hurry up and release it “27 years” after the original. Like they didn’t even start planning the damn thing until 2 years ago: “Holy shit. We have to make a new ‘It’ movie for 2017! Fuck! What do we do?!” I found it very bland. Not the way a movie like “It” should be. A below-average-to-average horror film. Not worthy of being associated with Stephen King.

The most entertaining thing about the whole experience was my best friend’s navigational skills on the way to the movie theatre. His sense of direction doesn’t involve looking at road signs. VERY funny.

(Disclaimer: currently a little over halfway through with the book. Slow reader, so I can’t compare the movies to the book. I was heartbroken when I saw the tower of kids in the sewer, as I haven’t reached that part in the book yet.

Also, every time I start watching the original “It”, I get tired of it because the thing is so damned long. Pennywise is entertaining, and I remember seeing the spider CGI when I was a kid (because my dad called me in cause he knows I’m afraid of spiders. Honestly, I think I’d prefer that shit CGI over what was done here). But I’ll try to remember to review the book when I’m done with it in a few years, and I’ll eventually go back and try to watch the original “It” miniseries and write a review of it (haha) as well).

Review of the book.

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