Simple Review: IT is 2 damn long! (“that’s what she said”-M. Scott)
At this moment in human history, it isn’t difficult to feel sorry for anyone choosing the profession of a grease painted jester. There is a current trend to vilify the once noble clown profession which only wants to provide laughter to the masses. Thanks to John Wayne Gacy, the Joker, and Ronald McDonald the world has become terrified of anyone wearing a clown outfit. Perhaps the one that his done the most to change the love of clowns to absolute fright is none other than Pennywise the clown. Since his debut in the novel “IT” and Tim Curry’s sinister portrayal of the character in the miniseries of the same name, Pennywise has made us all leery of clowns. In 2017 Bill Skarsgärd reintroduced the world to this fiendish clown and made us all run from clowns faster than I run from broccoli. Two years later he has returned to Derry, Maine, and our local cinema to bring more crazy clown carnage (that’s alliteration kiddos) to our lives. Let’s turn on the water and see what floats in this review of It Chapter Two unless your name is Georgie, then you might want to float your boat somewhere else!
As you, my reliable reader, know I strive to be as honest as possible in my silly reviews. With that in mind, I must let you know I am not sure how to review It Chapter Two! Why? It is difficult to tell if the deficiencies in the film are on the filmmaker’s side or on Stephen King’s side for writing a novel that loses steam by the ending. Unfortunately, It Chapter Two suffers from a combination of these two weaknesses that ultimately keeps this movie from equalling the thrills and chills of its predecessor. Did I mention this movie is entirely too long? Great rip-roaring, bald-headed Moses this movie is incredibly long!!
Director Andy Muschietti definitely tries his best to deliver a film worthy of the lengthy novel it is based on. One of the smartest moves Muschietti made in the first It movie was concentrating the film on the teenage parts of the novel. It helped to keep the fear of Pennywise real as these were kids trying to fight this sinister evil, as well as indulging in our nostalgia for the 1980s. It also kept the movie on track, giving us a solid story to follow. In Chapter Two, Muschietti intertwines the adults returning to Derry to fight Pennywise with flashbacks of them as their younger selves from the first film. And there are a ton of flashbacks! In fact, there are so many flashbacks in the movie I couldn’t remember if I dropped acid in the parking lot before going to see this flick. I did drop acid, but that had little to nothing to do with what I saw on the screen, I just needed to get through my day any way I could. Who are you to judge? Back to the review, these flashbacks to two things to hurt the film: they slow it down and make me miss the young stars of the first movie.
While the flashbacks are distracting the worst thing I can say about the movie is that it is not very scary, and that is an important ingredient in a HORROR movie. Muchietti sacrifices creepiness and tension with incredibly loud jump scares that only gave me a headache. It is odd that in the sequel Pennywise is little more than a screaming CGI creation, which is a shame as Skarsgärd is so damn good in the role. There are two scenes with Pennywise that come close to being scary with those being the scenes in the hall of mirrors, that are seen in the trailer, and Pennywise stalking a young girl which is almost an exact copy of the Georgie scene from the first film. Every other “scare” is simply Pennywise or some other supernatural creature popping into the frame screaming at the top of its lungs while the soundtrack tries to equal the head-splitting decibel levels. The CGI is cranked up to eleven which creates its own problems by being extremely cartoony in places. The funniest thing to me was the movie uses the same exact creature as the 1982 classic The Thing, only the creature is CGI in IT Chapter Two and it is far inferior to the practical effect used in a movie that is almost 40 years old!
I know this review has been leaning toward the negative side, but there are some positives in the movie with the most notable being the cast, both young and old. Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy are both incredibly talented actors and the continue to shine in this movie. I am going to say it, I have become a huge fan of McAvoy as he has consistently delivered time and again in his work. The standouts in the film are Bill Hader, as Richie Tozier, and James Ransone, as Eddie Kasbrak. They both get to be the comic relief and add some emotional depth to the film as well. I especially enjoyed Hader’s work as he gives more to Richie than just jokes and has the second most emotional moments next to McAvoy dealing with his brother Georgie’s death. I already mentioned the young cast from the first film and once again they all shine in their scenes in this one. They have such amazing chemistry that at times their performances outshined their adult versions.
As good as the performances are they are hindered by the wonky dialogue. This movie is trying so hard to be epic when all we wanted, and all it needed to be was a good scary movie. Lines are so monumental and important that they seem silly in a movie about a killer klown from Outerspace. This is one of the areas that I am not sure if I should blame the screenwriter or Stephen King, or both. By the way, making little jokes about the ending of novels being bad doesn’t mean it is ok to keep a bad ending. You’ll get that if you see the movie.
We have reached the end of this silly review and unlike the cocaine influenced insane endings of a certain horror novelist, we shall make this as coherent as I can while tripping on acid. Unfortunately, I won’t recommend seeing It Chapter Two in the theaters as it is a bit of a bloated mess and I do not want you to spend your hard-earned money on something unworthy. The performance are very good from both the adult and young actors but the long runtime, lack of genuine scares and head-splitting loud jump scares keep this from being the movie we all wanted it to be! Wait to stream it, or watch on TV or download it to your mobile device, what do I care?!?!
I hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I can count on you to read my next review and maybe tell others on the internet!
As always, thanks for your time!
The Movie Psycho