By Brandon Barrett.
WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE BOOK IT AND BOTH MOVIES, CHAPTER ONE AND CHAPTER TWO.
The child is playing outside. It’s raining everywhere around him. The street is so wet it is almost like a river. The sound of the raindrops falling almost sounds like a faucet. Drip, drop, drip, drop. Suddenly, something falls out of his pocket. It’s a paper boat! He runs after it, ducking under signs, but he can’t run quite fast enough. The boat falls, down, down, down, down, into the stone mouth of the sewer grate. The child stands there, looking shocked. Suddenly, from the depths, a gloved hand emerges out – with his boat in its grasp. Then, the white face of a clown arises, complete with calming blue eyes and wild orange hair. Not thinking about the utter illogicality of the situation, he smiles and blurts out,”Thank you!” The goofy voice of the clown replies,”You’re welcome, kiddo!” The child reaches down into the sewer, excited about getting his boat back. But something goes terribly wrong. The clown…
I presume you know how this story ends. This scene is a slight alteration of one of the most famous scenes of the entire IT franchise, the scene that starts it all: the death of Georgie at the hands – or, more accurately, the teeth – of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, aka Bob Grey aka It. Although this scene is not in the movie I am talking about, I think it is worth mentioning because it plays a crucial role in the character development for this film.
The basic plot is this: After an incident in which a young man is killed by Pennywise, Mike, the last remaining member of the Losers’ Club in Derry, calls back together the old club. Once all of the club members are there, Mike sends them all – Bill, Ben, Beverly, Richie, and Eddie – on a personal quest to find several artifacts that represent a past trauma to them and to bring them all together for the Ritual of Chud, a ritual that he claims can kill IT for good. The group members then scatter around Derry, looking for objects that have emotional significance to them. Along the way, they bump into IT multiple different times – as dead Georgie, as a creepy giant statue, as a skeletal leper, and as a crazy old woman.
Most of them manage to evade and run away from these terrifying tricks, but Bill – after seeing Georgie – decides to go to a fair and protect the local children from Pennywise. Once the rest of the group makes it to the library, they soon realize that one of their own has not made it back. The group runs to an old house with an entryway to the sewers, where they last fought It. There they find Bill and manage to convince him to let them help him in his mission – his mission to kill It. The Losers’ Club heads down to the sewers and enters It’s lair. There, they attempt to perform the Ritual of Chud, only to find out that Mike had lied to them. The Ritual of Chud did not kill It. It – laughing maniacally – transforms into a terrifying spider clown monster, and sends them all back to their previous traumas. This time, however, instead of the Losers’ Club running away from their problems, they confront them and become stronger because of it. This all culminates in the climax of the film where everything is resolved.
The book has essentially the same plot, but with some small differences. In the book, Mike is knocked unconscious before the events of the Ritual of Chud even begin, so he is not present for the final battle, unlike in the movie, where he is. I like this fact because it gives Mike a much more important role to play in the story than in the book. Also, in the book, the Ritual of Chud is far more metaphysical and strange than it appears in the movie. I prefer the movie’s more approachable, less inter-dimensional spacey way of showing It.
Personally, I also loved the film’s ability to tackle some very heavy and controversial topics. For example, IT can be interpreted as a metaphor for bullying, as all of Pennywise’s victims – in both the book and movie – have some sort of baggage or weakness that he targets and exploits, just like a real life bully would. I also like that this film tackles homophobia, especially in the beginning scene and Richie’s arc, as it shows that homophobia is wrong and that it’s okay to not be straight. On a much more light-hearted note, the scene where Stephen King – the author of the original IT book – makes a cameo is amazing. It’s just so casual and light-hearted. I also love the Shining reference during the scene with Beverly being trapped by It. “Here’s Johnny!” will never get old.
However, I do have a few criticisms of this movie. For example, the one who bullied the Losers’ Club members – Henry Bowers – played a significantly lesser role in this movie than in the book. I was somewhat disappointed by this because I think it would have hammered in the bullying metaphor even more if Henry had actually done something instead of failing to kill Eddie once and then immediately getting killed by Mike. My other major criticism is the major convenience of the fact that Beverly forgot who wrote her the note. It just felt like it was used to play up the drama. I wish they had either cut the drama out or replaced it with something a bit more organic.
Overall, though, I loved this movie. I thought the plot was great, the pacing was nice, and the message was heartwarming, even if the movie’s ending was ultimately bittersweet. My favorite quote from the movie is one I think sums up the entire story rather adequately, “Be who you want to be. Be proud, and if you find someone worth holding onto, never ever let them go. Follow your own path, where that takes you.”
Brandon Barrett is a freshman at North Royalton High School, and he has many different hobbies, including reading, listening to music, and watching movies. He is also involved in many different clubs at North Royalton High School, including Spirit Club, Science Club, Fish Club, and Spanish Club. When he graduates high school, he hopes to go to college and become a scientist.