It (2017)

The Year of Okay


Less a remake than a perfectly acceptable cover band
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Reported on 27th of September, 2017

What Great Wall seems to have presaged back in January was a year of perfectly acceptable films. Baby Driver was fine, and then hateful during the increasingly desperate to be praise it circle jerk afterwards. The remake of It, perfectly acceptable though only occasionally scary and/or good at least doesn’t have critics climbing over their compatriots corpses to say how much better their own appreciation is.

It (2017)

23 September 2017 @ The Gaumont Opéra


$3.00 or, if one must be prosaic, and one must... 
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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And yes, It is a remake. It was a fine idea to make one. The original 1990 version is, honestly, not that great. We remember it fondly because seeing that level of scary on network in 1990 was awesome.

Unfortunately, while not a classic, it is a reference point, and the filmmakers should know that, especially when dealing with its strengths. Casting anyone but Mr. Tim Curry as Pennywise is a a challenge, just as casting anyone but Mr. Tom Noonan as Francis Dollarhyde was. Both Hannibal and Red Dragon didn’t understand this, and neither does It.

What Mr. Curry himself seemed to intuit effortlessly was that to be utterly terrifying, it was enough to simply play a clown. Hr. Bill Skarsgård believes he has to play an evil one. He is mistaken. And to the heart – the film is just not that scary. It’s not so much that the casting is part of the problem, is that the not knowing how crucial that part is, and how much an actor can do with nothing but a red balloon.

Salle 4, much less impressive than Salle 1, but still possible to sit in the front row. Because this post is what you’re going to be looking at just as you choose your seats at the Gaumont machine.

But fine means fine, and for a time I enjoyed the new structure, better than the novel and the original, showing us only what happens in the first part. It solves a serious problem in regards to scares – we’re not sure if the kids all make it, and we can now anticipate the dread of what could happen.

There is further the environment of the King (no relation) universe, part of the reason I actually enjoyed The Dark Tower, even though it wasn’t that good. There is real – earned – danger here. Children are threatened with death, and ones threatening them are so often their loutish and occasionally straight up evil parents.

The fact that the film is a remake is not unlike the Harry Potter films. If it wasn’t a successful property, there’s no way you could make a film with these themes today. And yet it’s these exact themes that make the film so compelling, capturing the vulnerability of simply being small and at the whim of the large.

Which is a shame, really, as the film flips tonally back and forth, never building up the momentum it needs. The book, the original mini-series was a grand hallucination, and though tonally a mess, knew the quality of itself. Or maybe it just wasn’t smart enough to change itself. In 2017, with the iconography now in place, the film is less a remake than a perfectly acceptable cover band. But I saw them in the nineties! With like two other people in the 3.4 audience share, man!

The Take

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Profits!
We never find out what the key around her neck is for. That’s some confidence.
$1.00
There’s something very natural about a story with four best friends who accidentally acquire three more during the summer. Not unlike Mr. Elmore Leonard and romance, Mr. King speciality isn’t so much horror, as it is love and friendship.
$4.00
I can’t explain why, but the only scary part was the CGI sequence, where hr. Skarsgård is magically enlarged to fill up an entire garage. The surprise of that sudden change of scale was very effective.
$2.00
Total Profits
$7.00
Losses!
Other sequences, not as much.
$1.00
What I missed most was Mr. King’s language, the weird Maine (or possibly invented, and therefore from nowhere) swearwords and expressions. Without this dialog, the film feels drained.
$1.00
Two days ago I saw it, and I completely forgot, but this error captures the uneven tone of the film: music cues. ‘Dear God’ great song…if you have a scene about God, religion or institutions. Not sure how this has to do with clowns. Additionally, the scene where the kids bond over a bloody bathroom. Being the only ones who can see the blood (not the adults), is sacred, iconic, because of its deeply felt emotion of isolated connection. It’s where they realize, at 14, it’s on them. What you don’t do is play ‘Six Different Ways’ during this sequence. Music Editor Hr. Uwe Boll.
$2.00
Total Losses
$4.00

$3.00

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