It: Can Clowns Be Original Anymore?
Clowns: with a purpose to bring joy and make people laugh, they usually accomplish the exact opposite. But the common fear of clowns has made them an important part of pop culture. From Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn, to regular people dressing up like clowns around Halloween to scare others, there has been a lot of attention on the makeup-wearing comedians in recent years. A remake of Stephen King’s It was the natural next step.
Next to the Joker, Pennywise is the most infamous clown to appear on the Silver Screen, and the writers did a superb job adapting part of King’s timeless tale. However, the story is not immune to clichés, which hold the film back from greatness.
The film has a jarring beginning, as we see little Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) lose his toy boat in a sewer and encounter Pennywise. The clown eerily seduces Georgie into reaching his arm through the grate, only to bite it off and drag Georgie down to his death. The boy is declared missing, and nobody knows what happened until Pennywise begins terrorizing other kids, including Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), Georgie’s older brother.
The monster takes many forms besides Pennywise over the course of the film. While It’s abilities are never clearly defined, the creature seems to become whatever the target fears most. Once the kids realize the monster’s power comes from their terror, they band together to abolish their fear and prevail. While it was satisfying to see fear itself get shot in the head, the conclusion was filled with clichés. I understand wanting a happy ending after such a gruesome tale, but there are no stakes if the characters are not at risk, which is how it seemed towards the end. Kids were being bitten and falling through floors, yet none of them were harmed. (And as a side note, outside of Sleeping Beauty, I do not believe kissing is a viable way to wake people from trances.)
The entire course of events is very reminiscent of Stranger Things: a kid in the 80s goes missing due to paranormal reasons and their friends must find out the truth. This goes to show that art is a cycle: Stranger Things borrowed the premise and setting of the original It, and the It remake borrowed Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things.
This rendition of It only covers the first part of King’s novel, meaning there is potential for a sequel where the kids are grown up. Despite the clichés and predictability, the film is well-made, and a sequel could provide the more satisfying ending we were looking for.
Final Score: 6/10