It 2 Review


Veronika Lee, Entertainment Editor

For fans of the mostly perfect 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s 1,138 page novel “It” 2019 felt far away. You knew in the theater, watching Pennywise the clown terrorize a group of kids so much cooler than the “Stranger Things” gang, that he was going to return. And sure, we knew that the sequel wouldn’t have blatant 80s references the way the first one did, as it would take place at least 27 years in the future. Some of us horror fans were scratching our heads as to why our friends who were so eager to binge “Stranger Things” wouldn’t dare devour “It”. Maybe that’s a testament to the frightening power of Stephen King.


Director Andy Muschietti returns in 2019 to helm the almost 3 hour long project. And there is the rub – because the two hours and 50 minutes used in this film are usually allocated for huge ensemble casts – like that of the “Lord of the Rings” mythology, which hosts tons of character arcs. “It” is responsible for only seven pretty similar storylines about kids with fears, kids who grow up and change, kids who must face original said fears, kids-now-adults facing a clown indicative of fear. The running time allows every single story to get its own rising action, climax, denouement. If you loved the fast-paced terror ride of the first film, this is just not it. According to IMDb, the first film actually runs longer than it’s sequel, but you wouldn’t know it because it’s so deeply engaging it all goes by so quickly. 


Immediately you will see casting director Rich Delia had his work cut out for him in casting adults to look and encompass the personae of the “Losers Club,” AKA the kids from the original 2017 film. Jessica Chastain nails the look and tone of adult Beverly. But no doubt, James Ransone who plays the older version of hypochondriac Eddie Kaspbrak, is the most uncanny representation of all. The young Kaspbrak, played by doppelgänger Jack Dylan Grazer, is one of the fastest quicksilver kid actors you’ll ever see on screen and Ransone nails this nervousness perfectly. “Stranger Things” fans (if they would give this film a try) will recognize Finn Wolfhard as young Richie Tozer, dropping a lot of F-bombs that make him a lot more relatable than his Netflix series character. The adult Tozer is portrayed spot on by Bill Hader. 


Bill Skarsgärd returns as Pennywise, but this time he isn’t afforded the menacing monologues he had in the first film. There is one slightly in depth convo with a curious and confused kid, but for the most part, he spends his time on screen floating, slobbering, salivating, and exposing those sharp teeth as much as possible. This doesn’t mean his performance isn’t great, which it is, but it bears repeating – this feature just isn’t the first one. 


Noticeably missing from the sequel are the stand out music soundtrack scenes. There is a gorgeous montage to XTC’s “Dear God” in the first film and even a riff about New Kids on the Block using their hook. 


If there were a canon of “It” films/projects to view, I would maintain pairing the 2017 “It” film with the 1990 mini-series.  The ultimate verdict on the sequel is that it is decent, even fun at times, but just doesn’t hold up to its predecessor features and television series. 


Photo by chiendol courtesy of Flickr