IT AT AMAZON: CLICK
STUDIO: Warner Bros.
MSRP:$19.98 RATED: NR
TIME: 187 minutes
• You expect more?
If you tune in to ESPN2 at 3:37am,
you too can watch Clive Barker’s Outdoors.
King’s IT may be the story that most
affected me emotionally as I read it as a boy
of fourteen or fifteen (now that I’m 30 I’ve
become calloused and evil). There’s something
about the way the man tells stories involving
children (The Body, which became Stand
By Me, for one) that really is magical
and special, and picking up the book now and
just leafing through it is like having a series
of incredibly strong and intense bit of nostalgia
washing over me.
was extremely disappointed with the miniseries
when it aired and pretty much summed it up as
"yet another Stephen King tale that’ll
never get told right in film format".
on DVD again in a nicer edition with a bell
here and a whistle there, but is it worth your
"I’ve always wanted to say
this. Annette, meet… O’TOOL!"
"You know, you’re about
the 15th person today to tell me that I look
like Quasimodo pissed liquefied caribou in my
was killing the children of Derry, Maine. While
the city lived under a numbed cloud of fear
and seeming indifference, a group of kids who
shared a common bond tried to find and fight
the menace before they become its next casualties.
Their bond was that they were different. Whether
it was because they were poor, black, scrawny,
asthmatic, or portly, they were all considered
losers by their peers and even their own families.
"Loser’s Club" faced the evil once,
and now that they’ve all scattered and become
successful adults it’s their time to go back
to their hometown to face it one more time.
"I am the collection of
all you fear. I am the culmination of all that
is evil and dark, and I can lock you in an endless
shell of despair, darkness, and confusion. Would
you mind terribly if I eased up close so you
can bask in my mediocrity and laugh at my jerkily
between the present day and during the kids’
first encounter with the evil, scheming Pennywise
the Clown (Tim Curry), IT
remains pretty damned faithful to the original
novel thanks to its miniseries length and an
able cast and crew. The problem is that of all
King TV adaptations, it’s forced to shy away
from the R-rated aspects of the story (especially
the Ritual of Chüd from the novel,
which would probably never get filmed anyway
unless Larry Clark was directing) and the lack
of profanity emasculates some of the material
that made the books so effective.
film is equally successful in one thing, and
it’s an important one:
the sense of togetherness that made the story
The child actors are all strong enough so that
you believe their bond, and the adult actors
all portray solid representations of the kids
with all the expected mileage and weariness
as their memories of that fateful summer seep
His success ahead of him still,
Seth Green knew that every actor needs to supplement
his screen work with the Boy Scouts of America
with their annual SAVE
THE CAST MEMBERS OF FROM THE HIP
villain of the piece is a being that takes the
form of a vicious clown (aren’t they all?),
but is one whose powers stem from its ability
to feed on the fear of its prey. While to book
went into great detail about this, a lot of
the psychological damage is underplayed here,
which sometimes makes it a little cloudy to
the viewer. For example, when the Wolf Man appears
to Richie (a young Seth Green) it’s not as effective
unless you’re fully aware of just how terrified
the boy was of the creature. As a result, Pennywise’s
far reaching vision comes across a little less
the evil clown Tim Curry has a blast and since
he’s no stranger to appearing under makeup there’s
none of that situation where an actor lets the
latex do the acting for them. When it boils
down, there’s still a bit of a letdown when
comparing the Pennywise of the novel to the
the best actors and FX people are no match for
A rare glimpse from Dan Hedaya:
The College Years.
of imagination, for a King adaptation, the imagination
is in pretty short supply. Director Tommy Lee
Wallace has worked with John Carpenter on some
classics, but his films as a director (Halloween
III: Season of the Witch, Fright
Night 2) often show little to no visual
flair. A story like this, one that’s as epic
as they come and one that’s been stripped of
so much by being a made-for TV event NEEDS to
make up for those shortcomings by being special
in other ways.
the cast is good, there’s none of Hollywood’s
finest on display. This was done four years
before The Stand proved that a
miniseries based on King could be mega successful,
so Wallace’s laid back style keeps the film
a little more close to TV fare than the author’s
are moments where you can sense the dread, but
a little more creative use of the frame would
have made a huge difference. A slight change
in blocking, a little less lingering in a scene,
something small that could tell the story more
However, it’s not meant to be. As a result,
Stephen King’s IT serves as a
compromised film. On one hand, it’s a pretty
solidly acted little tale and one that does
a good job of capturing some of the pivotal
emotional issues from the book (though the scene
of abuse towards the Annette O’Toole character
is nowhere near as brutal as the book), and
on the other it’s a horror film that’s not all
that scary. In its defense… it does have its
that burst blood in people’s faces isn’t something
you see every day, nor is "deadlights"
that drag kids off into the night, and I can
count on one hand the amount of times a loved
one has suddenly transformed into a beast of
despair and hatred.
"Yes, I have a question.
Did any of you guys order Brightscalp the Clown?"
actors are mostly all on their game, with John
Ritter and Brandon Crane being my favorite of
the older/younger combos. Playing the hopefully
romantic fat kid Ben, they both serve as the
film’s heart and soul even though they’re not
the main character. Normally, I can do without
Ritter but he’s extremely solid here. Tim Reid
also does a solid job as Mike Hanlon, the only
black member of the "Loser’s Club"
and the man who brings the friends back together.
He carries the group’s weariness as the only
adult who stayed behind in Derry, and not coincidentally
the only one who didn’t become a success in
life. Solid support is also provided by future
Ginger Snaps star Emily Perkins
and Annette O’Tool as the young and old Beverly
Marsh, as well as Seth Green who was already
six years into his acting career way back in
think the film loses a little steam by having
Harry Anderson playing the adult Richie (the
Seth Green role) because he just doesn’t have
that bite and uncanny feeling of the master
entertainer that the role demanded. It’s a Robin
Williams role, a Robert Downey Jr. role… a
part that has to offset the incredible sadness
of the story with incredible energy and buoyancy,
and Anderson’s just too much of an acting featherweight
to pull it off.
A look at the only remaining
prop from the canceled David Cronenberg’s
Christopher and Richard Thomas are both fine,
but a little bland in their roles as two of
the most important members of the gang and Argentinean
actress Olivia Hussey does absolutely NOTHING
to make her character come to life. That’s a
sad truth, since her character is vital to keeping
the film’s lead character from losing it.
felt myself wondering why he even cared for
her, and why he’d risk his life to save her
when the ideal emotion should be empathy.
I am a cold bastard, some of the fault has to
go with the casting decisions.
Jonathan Brandis reacts to the
cold truth that he ranks fifteen spots behind
Al Leong on the Hollywood power rankings.
a perfect world, this film will get remade with
a 70 million dollar budget and a studio would
allow a three plus hour running time, but not
only is the world imperfect… we’re talking
about an industry that allows films like Sometimes
They Come Back For Fried Shrimp while
Bag of Bones goes unfilmed.
out of 10
"Baby, you ain’t banged
a super spy until you’ve had a piece of ScarLip."
is not one of the better looking films even
under the most optimum conditions. It’s just…
that in mind, I still was awfully excited about
seeing the film in widescreen. Often, when TV
is the only medium you’ve ever seen a film in,
the whole widescreen issue is irrelevant.
here. It does seem a bit fresher and genuine
like this, and I can’t hate it for that. Bland,
but crisp and not unholy.
7.5 out of 10
Claude was so jazzed about
adding a new member to The Nation’s Punched™
that he Jacob’s Laddered halfway
across the dining room.
poor too strong a word?
music for the film is rather dated, and after
having the main menu on for a few minutes I
wanted to jump into the street and beg for a
semi to plow into me like Gage in Pet
Sematary. It’s that annoying.
while there’s nothing really wrong with a Dolby
2.0 audio presentation, I’m too spoiled by better
discs to accept it.
a great presentation, not even a really GOOD
From the ad: The Frigidaire
6500E is the perfect place for your milk and
eggs as well as the eternally grateful headspace
of Dick Masur.
out of 10
While Chan Hyung-Chin never got
Chinese restaurants to buy into his Fortune
Eye© idea, his Whopper® and a side
of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures patent was right
around the corner.
is only one "goodie", but it’s a good
of the film’s stars found time in their schedules
(which are probably not all that stacked, aside
from Ritter’s) to spend the three hours of the
film’s running time talking about the shoot,
their connection to the book and story, and
life in general. Additionally, the director/co-writer
and the producer (who’s not mentioned on the
special features summary, a snub and a half!)
are there offering pearls from their own track
(recorded separately from the actors).
not only engaging, but awfully entertaining.
of how effective or ineffective the finished
product is, they really seemed to pour themselves
into the work and found the experience to be
an enriching one.
also have a good rapport even twelve years later
and it’s the commentary track that helps ease
the pain about some other aspects of the disc.
I honestly think anyone who calls themselves
a King fan or a fan of the novel to at least
rent this sucker for a listen.
from the track, the special features are as
nonexistent as the Nick Nunziata fan club.
"I’d love to help you with
the dishes but I believe I’ve traded eyes with
out of 10
"I’m aghast that you don’t
know how to calculate the speed of a taco through
bowels at 12,000 feet above sea level."
and effective, though the image of the little
paper boat heading down the gutter towards a
scaled claw is tough to beat.
think the goal with the marketing was to make
Pennywise an indentifiable villain like a Freddy
or Jason, so the clown motif makes sense. It
didn’t happen, but this DVD could have been
a lot uglier.
out of 10
THE LOOK: 7.5
THE NOISE: 5.0
THE GOODIES: 8.0
THE ARTWORK: 7.0