It (2017), Dir. Andy Muschietti

It (2017), Dir. Andy Muschietti
Derry is not like any town I’ve been in before. People die or disappear, six times the national average. And that’s just grown ups. Kids are worse. Way, way worse.
— Ben, It (2017)

Stars: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff, Nicholas Hamilton, Owen Teague, Jackson Robert Scott, Jake Sim, Logan Thompson, Stephen Bogaert.
Director: Andy Muschietti
Screenplay: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, & Gary Dauberman.

Is this the new Stand By Me, only the next generation can tell you that. Is this the best Stephen King adaptation, not by a long shot, am I being too hard on It, did I expect too much—even without ever reading the original text—I don't think I did as all I want is a well put together film that has some sort of substance that I can grab ahold of. This film doesn't have the substance to allow it to be the film it should be, the scenes are entertaining but it doesn't amount to anything memorable.

But there are burning questions that could have been asked. Is this film about generational abuse that gets forgotten by the next generation. Is this an external coping mechanism for the kids going through something they can't get their grasp upon. Is the home life more terrifying than the clown and his red balloon? Because it very well could be and should be. A mother suffocating her child with placebo drugs to keep him in the house, the father who sexually abuses his daughter, the father who shoots his gun at his son's feet to teach him a lesson. If this film was brave enough we could have had a commentary and reflection that the parents had a similar childhood with the red balloon and which can simply create a never ending cycle that has plagued this small township for too long.

It is a hard thing to place an entire plot on the back of these kid actors. They need not only to deliver their performances but also have subtleties within that performance that can be read into. These kids did their best and they are rather endearing on the screen. Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and Billy (Jaeden Lieberher) are so damn adorable and Beverely (Sophia Lillis) adds that more mature role to break up the whole boy gang. However, there is nothing that solidifies what they are doing on the screen and that comes down to the director. Spielberg and Reiner are kid directors, they know how to work on their level and get those amazing performances. Andy Muschietti doesn't quite have that ability.

Altogether not bad, yet I'm still disappointed.

★ ★ ★