Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
That film is a shame. The filmmakers tried to adapt the best book ever written, and man, did they failed miserably! There’s absolutely no way you can love this movie. If you read the book, you’ll be frustrated that it was turned into such an inane piece of garbage. If you haven’t read King’s masterpiece, you won’t understand what all the fuss is about. The film dumbs the plot and the characters to the point where it becomes an extremely lame grade Z thriller. Here’s some of the reasons why:
1- It’s a TV movie, hence it’s paced publicity-wise, with the obligatory fade to black punctuating the film every 15 minutes.
2- The book is filled with more gore than you could imagine, yet there isn’t one single horror scene on-screen in this dud. The sex scenes are also cut out.
3- King’s brilliant storytelling is unseen. Instead of jumping back and forth between past and present, the film just goes straightforward with a few cheesy flashbacks.
4- The novel is about childhood’s joys and fears and how you grow out of them to become adult. The film is only vague about that.
5- The whole spiritual/religious elements are withdrawn: no Turtle, no Other.
6- Instead of killing It with faith and mental edge, the guys beat it physically.
7- The whole Ritual of Chüd is unheard of.
8- The sewers aren’t constricted, dark and scary: they’re wide, well-lit halls that look like a ride at Disney World. Plus, it barely takes a few minutes to the Losers Club to get to It. None of the scary encounters from the novel.
9- The Apocalyptic Rock Fight is underplayed: not a single drop of blood.
10- In the same sense, Henry Bowers ain’t such a bully in the film. He doesn’t hurt anyone on-screen, while in the novel, he’s a full-blown psycho who terrifies everyone.
11- Bev’s father and husband aren’t a threat; in the book, they’re molesters, but in the film, they just throw a few bitch slaps.
12- Not a single scene is scary. All the book’s horrors were changed into cheap threats.
13- No involvement, no emotional attachment. In the film, it’s just a bunch of old cooks on a bad day, with some odd childhood memories.
14- The Losers don’t even seem to be such good friends.
15- Though some FX are decent, and I did like some shots, most of the film is lamely directed, scored and written. Well, it’s made-for-TV, so you can’t expect much.
16- The dope who plays grown-up Bill. He’s the worst actor I’ve ever seen: he’s ugly, he’s irritating, he doesn’t have any screen presence nor acting talent, and worst, he looks absolutely nothing like King’s hero as described in the novel.
17- Grown-up Henry ain’t scary at all : he’s laughable!
18- Most characters are reduced to stereotypes.
19- The film doesn’t even cover 10% of its astonishing source material.
20- Basically, it’s just that IT is my favorite book, a Bible to me, and it could be turned into a kick ass flick, if you only dared to show all the emotion, the friendship, the gore, the sex, the spirituality, the faith and the horror. Plus, you’d have to stick to King’s vision and storytelling, and CAST PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY HAVE TALENT!
Still, I have to say that some performances are worthy. Here’s a run-down of the performances that I enjoyed. If old Bill is an asswipe, the younger one is convincing. Kid Bev is good and cute; the adult ain’t all that gorgeous, but she’s okay. Kid Ben ain’t half as fat as he’s supposed to be, and he ain’t well played, but the grown-up Ben is very well pulled off by the always enjoyable John Ritter. Young Stan’s pretty right on, as is the older one. Young Mike is nothing memorable, but the grown-up is perfect. The kid Eddie is convincingly wimpy, as is the adult. Then there’s Richie, which both the kid and the adult actors nail to the barn door. I loved the energy and humor of these two. So far, we’ve got a bunch of decent acting jobs, but nothing that justifies sitting through 193 minutes of disappointing filmmaking. Then, there’s Tim Curry, who’s simply amazing as Pennywise the Clown. His performance is flawless: he’s funny, he’s cruel, he’s sick! He sure does a mean clown! I just love the way he screws with the heroes. Too bad he’s the only thing that’s actually meaty in the whole thing.