Saturday, September 14, 2019

Movie Reviews: It Chapter Two

It Chapter Two
directed by Andy Muschietti
This is the sequel to the previous It movie, reviewed here

Both films are based on Stephen's King's 1986 novel. This movie is set in the current day, about twenty seven years after the supernatural events in the first movie. The children are all grown up with relationships, careers and families of their own, Some are are doing well, others less so. Most of them have generally forgotten what happened in Derry, Maine or have hazy memories at best. I had read Stephen King's book decades ago.

I did not read the book again before watching the film. Much like the characters in the film I didn't have an exact memory of every last plot detail so unlike with some other book to film adaptations I wasn't sitting there in the theater thinking that this plot point was wrong, that interpretation wasn't in the book, or that this person didn't look, act or sound as I expected them to look, act or sound. I lacked demanding expectations. So on the one hand that made the movie more enjoyable.

On the other hand the film was just under three hours long. I didn't think all that was necessary. Most of the actors get a chance to shine at something but I thought the film could have cut down some fluff from its runtime. Compared to the first film I thought that the sequel wasn't quite as emotionally engaging. It did rely tremendously on its special effects and made overt homages to a few classic sci-fi/horror films, most notably The Thing(1982).

It also had a nice cameo from Stephen King, playing a slow moving, grumpy and distrustful antique dealer with a very broad Maine accent. So that was fun. For some reason I always forget that King is quite tall at 6'4". 
Anyhow as mentioned, the Losers have all grown up, and with the exception of Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), who has become the town librarian, they all left Derry. Beverly (Jessica Chastain) is a fashion designer who has unfortunately exchanged an abusive and creepy father for an abusive and creepy husband. Bill (James McAvoy) is a successful writer who gets incredibly irritated at fans and loved ones who pan his endings. 

Former fat boy Ben (Jay Ryan) has lost the weight and turned into what most women might consider a hunk. He's an architect. And he's still carrying a torch for Beverly. Problem is, so is Bill, even though Bill's married. 

Richie (Bill Hader), the group's resident cynic, jokester and motor mouth has parlayed all of those traits into a successful career as a stand up comic. Eddie (James Ransone), the number two hypochondriac, germophobe and OCD sufferer in all America, has become a insurance risk assessor who is married to a woman very similar to his mother. And Stan (Andy Bean), America's number one hypochondriac, germophobe, and OCD sufferer has become an accountant.

Unlike his friends, Mike has kept all of his memories of the horrible events of their childhood. Not trusting that IT/Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) is really gone for good, Mike has spent the past twenty-seven years keeping a watch out for Pennywise.

Mike has done a lot of research into ways to kill Pennywise. When a horrific hate crime murder occurs, Mike knows that he and the other Losers were unsuccessful in killing Pennywise. Pennywise has reawakened. Mike feels he has no choice but to summon his friends back to Derry to kill IT, even though that may be exactly what Pennywise wants. They all made a sacred oath to come back if needed.

As I wrote there is massive special effects usage in this film. Some of it was quite good but I just think the film went to the well one time, well more than one time too many on that.  Some people were peeved by what they saw as intrusive social messages in the film but I do remember that at least some of those were in the book. It's true that King writes with a point of view. However, I don't think that a message of be nice to each other is all that political. Much like similar scenes in Sleepers. this film reminded me of some of the friends I had as a child back in the good old days. 

This is a good Saturday afternoon film. No more. No less. There is a fair amount of gore. There are some sexual themes and Chastain in a tight top here or there but nothing outrageous. The children actors from the first film appear in flashbacks. The film's camera work and colors were quite good.
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