Controversy Surrounding Stephen King’s “It” 2017 Remake

In a world where Hollywood has no new ideas … let’s talk about 2017’s IT remake. The film is set to debut later this year (September 8th), but is based on a 1990 TV mini series, which is based on a 1000+ page Stephen King novel. Although the original was watched by millions, when the big screen adaptation was announced, it was met with criticism to say the least.

The first pictures of Pennywise (the film’s classic villain) hit the internet a couple months ago, and although the images were well received, it happened to be right around the same time that the clown frenzy was happening in America. Videos were going viral of people finding crazies dressed in full clown costumes throughout the country. Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema (the film’s distributors) both decline that the clown sightings were advertisements for their upcoming movie, but there is a strong possibility it was a weird marketing ploy that got out of hand.

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When the trailer finally dropped, it was met with equally mixed reviews. After only being out for just over a week, it has been memed out the wazoo.

The biggest criticism, however, came in the fairly obvious tonal switch from its source material. Tim Curry’s original Pennywise was colorful, out in the open, and almost funny. Although we do not know much about Bill Skarsgård’s take on the character, the way it was portrayed in the trailer makes it feel like a cliché, modern horror movie. Just look at the differences between the iconic reveal of the clowns in their respective movies.

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Another major difference, is that the remake stars children, set in the 80s. The 90s TV series was about adults discussing their memories of the clown, set in the 60s. This decision could have been made because there is already a scheduled sequel slated, so the filmmakers could be holding off on that story arc for the second movie.

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Placing this film in the 80s seems to be playing on America’s recent fascination with the decade. A lot of our popular culture has either been remakes of movies that came out in the 80s, or original ideas that are homages to the time period. One of the biggest examples of this is the Netflix’s smash-hit Stranger Things. One of the main child actors in the Netflix show, Finn Wolfhard, is also staring in It (2017).

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Throughout the trailer, Pennywise seems to be acting unlike his source material. This can be viewed as studios trying to scare people into the theater before they can scare them out of it. If one looks at the trailer with that attitude, the shift in tone makes a little more sense. Making the 2017 movie feel more like a modern horror movie, as opposed to catering to the cult classic fans of the TV series, the filmmakers are playing this movie safely, taking as little risks as possible.

With all that being said, the trailer was genuinely interesting and creepy. Coupling that, with all the drama leading up to its release, I suspect the movie will perform well in the box office this September.

Jake Moody // @jakemoody98 // 4-10-17

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