If you’re not familiar with the story of It, in a tiny town in Maine (where King grew up), a little boy goes missing, as well as others, and after the school year, the big brother of the missing kid and his friends try to find some clue as to the brother’s whereabouts. The book had a long drawn out depiction of the bullies in the town making everyone’s lives intolerably harder, but the movie shows the kids all banding together against the bullies, and even one of them going missing, though no one seems all that concerned. The kids are all haunted by any number of things, none looking exactly the same, all of them terrifying and unseen by others. There is always a clown somewhere in the mix. That is Pennywise, whose origin is unknown. The chubby kid (whose name I’ve forgotten) does research in the library and discovers that every 27 years, kids start disappearing. Somehow the kids conclude that whatever is doing this disappearing appears once every 27 years and eats kids and they have to kill it.
Amongst all the gore and mayhem is a nice coming of age story, one that surprisingly doesn’t end in more death. There may be some SPOILERS ahead. The book spent a lot of time talking about a lot of issues. The book is also a thousand pages long. I can’t imagine being an editor for Stephen King, or if he even uses one. I really tried to remember the book as I watched the movie, and only a couple scenes stood out, the scary ones. I don’t even remember some of the tenser sequences. I stumbled upon an article today that talked about a sex scene that I don’t even remember from the book (with all the kids, glad that didn’t make the cut!). While I’m sure King had a reason for putting such things in there, it was grotesque. I also wondered, at the very end of the movie, when the kids swear a blood pact, how they don’t all contract Hep C or something. I mean, they also ran around a sewer and crack house and didn’t get seriously ill, seems surprising.
I wouldn’t say this was a good movie. I wouldn’t say it was a bad movie. It felt like it just was. This rush for 1980s content is both fascinating and frustrating. I grew up in the 1980s. It is just plain weird to see these kinds of movies being considered as period pieces, but they are. Overall, this movie captured the King mythos of It well. It took me back to that time, the time when talking to strangers was something explicitly warned about. Not now, where it is assumed that people you don’t know can’t be trusted. It did bother me that there was exactly one minority character and one girl (this fails the Hina test), and that is accurate for the 1980s. It was the same complaint I had while watching Stranger Things. Why is diversity such an issue? Just because the times have changed doesn’t mean those people didn’t exist.
Much like It, this review rambled about as much as Stephen King did. I still can’t believe my parents let me read that book.