It: Chapter One premiered in theaters two years ago and broke a multitude of records. The film was highly praised for its heart, its scares, and its drama executed through the use of a magnificent cast of young actors, and it has gone off to earn more than The Exorcist had in the box office. With a second part of the duology to hit theaters worldwide tomorrow, we thought it would be best to return to the first film and discuss what made it so well-received. In this article, we will also look forward to what to expect with this year’s movie.
If you have not seen It: Chapter One, what are you doing? Minor spoilers ahead for this film and the upcoming movie.
Chapter One was originally a film written and spearheaded by Cary Joji Fukunaga, director of last year’s Maniac miniseries on Netflix. Fukunaga wanted to create a poignant story about children but at the same time make an “unconventional horror” film, but the studio was worried this couldn’t fit their budget. Instead, the studio hired Andy Muschietti to helm the production. They didn’t want character development but instead wanted scares.
The direction of the film took a different course, which is what is the final cut of Chapter One. Fortunately enough, writer of the It novel Stephen King was satisfied with the movie, but fans couldn’t get enough of what made the book so essential to literary and popular culture. I will talk about this later.
The cinematography of the film is lovely. From the Losers jumping off the cliff to bully Henry Bowers and the nicely set up not-so-nice home setting to the iconic blood oath. The landscape of Derry is a lovely sight. However, there are just some moments where you can tell that a green screen is used. For the most part, it’s just splendid to look at.
Derry is supposed to represent the world that we live in: small, filled with greenery, adults are chaotic influences, children are monstrous offspring, and we’re just the victims of it all. Pennywise uses this madness to fuel her power as a malevolent entity.
The cast is just fantastic. Bill Skarsgard as the terrifying extraterrestrial demon Pennywise delivers the best scares. You can empathize with Jeremy Ray Taylor’s Ben Hanscom and Wyatt Oleff’s Stanley Uris. The heart of the film is Jaeden Lieberher’s Bill Denbrough and Sophia Lillis’s Beverly “Bev” Marsh. Who stands out even two years after the release of the film are Jack Dylan Grazer’s Eddie Kaspbrak and Finn Wolfhard’s Richie Tozier.
The development of characters is difficult to accomplish when you have seven Losers and four bullies. We don’t learn much about Henry Bowers to feel for him other than the fact that he’s tormented by his dad. Victor Criss and Belch Huggins are merely stand-ins for a few minutes, and Patrick Hockstetter (who has a somewhat important role in the novel) is killed off in the film by the 36-minute mark.
Most of the film’s plot sticks true to the source material, but it does leave out some elements that were crucial to the original story. The Losers don’t hang out in the Barrens as much as the 1990 miniseries cast did. Bill Denbrough rides his bike Silver but is used more of a mode of transportation than his great vessel of faith. In the novel, Silver is used as a means of escape from the horrors of reality and an outlet for adventure, much like Han Solo’s Millenium Falcon.
We have a lot to look forward to in this year’s It: Chapter Two. I wrote an article about this around two Septembers ago shortly after the release of the first film. Here is what we know so far:
- The Black Spot massacre, in which a nightclub run by African-American soldiers is burned to the ground by a gang of white supremacists called the Maine Legion of White Decency, was supposed to be used in Chapter One. This event couldn’t fit the final cut of the first film, and unfortunately, Muschietti didn’t pull through with a director’s cut like he had teased. It will instead be used in Chapter Two.
- The death of homosexual Adrian Mellon will be used in the film and should be what sparks adult Mike Hanlon to ask the remaining Losers to return. In the novel, Mellon was harassed by homophobes but is ultimately killed Pennywise at the bottom of a bridge.
- Henry Bowers will return as a pawn of Pennywise.
- Two members of the Losers Club will perish. One at the start of the film, and another by the end. If you’ve seen the miniseries and/or read the novel, you know who these are.
- The transitions between the children’s and adults’ side of the story will match those of the novel.
- The Deadlights will be explored further.
- The Losers will discover It’s weakness. Unlike the novel where they undergo a Native-American ritual called the Smoke-Hole ritual, they will use drug addiction as a way of finding a solution.
It: Chapter Two premieres soon!