I really enjoyed IT, criticisms and all. Nice to see a Stephen King adapted property in a theater for the first time. Also, fuck Pennywise and fuck fictional towns in Maine.
You know, I think it was a fine movie overall, and there were enough cool scenes in it that I want to watch it again at some point, but there’s one problem with it that makes me unable to fully praise it.
Mike Hanlon is my favorite character from the novel. He was the most targeted boy in town by the bullies, because he was poor, because he was a nerd and because of the color of his skin. The bully kills his dog and attempts to actually severely injure him with M-80 firecrackers when the rest of the Losers (the main group of kids that face IT) show up to defend him. This is obviously a huge deal for Mike and he jumps right into the monster investigation, figuring out the 27-year pattern from past incidents and figuring out IT’s weaknesses. He is the only member of the group of seven to stay in Derry through adulthood, and he is the one that calls them back to face IT again as adults, which will be the part 2 of this movie series. It’s a great fucking arc.
Stephen King obviously invested a lot into Mike as a character.
Now, this movie makes it look like they’re planning to transition all of the smarts to Ben, a white character who has his own troubles with his family that could have been used as his plot. The movie also reduces Mike to a character that barely shows up and barely has any motivation, and has a really weird relationship with a foster parent who forces him to work at a slaughterhouse and only shows up once to speak in unclear metaphors.
I’ll be damned if I don’t see it as pretty suspicious that they felt the need to minimize Mike Hanlon so heavily, give all his character traits to a white character, and are the only adaptation of the property to do so (Mike was much more himself in the miniseries).
I can’t even get angry at the Mike thing because I’m just so confused by it. It’s one thing to diminish a character’s role in the plot. It’s another to just… give his core trait to another character. Like Mike should be easy to write from a plot perspective, because he’s the exposition/lore guy. It just makes no sense.
One possible explanation is that a previous draft, the one Cary Fukunaga wrote, compressed some of the characters (reigning in the Losers Club from 7 members to 5). Maybe by decompressing the characters in the final draft they got some stuff confused? Which still seems inexplicable because the movie otherwise nails the tone and themes of the novel perfectly, and does feel like the creative minds behind it really loved the source material. It’s just weird, and one of the only issues I have with an otherwise great movie.
(The other being the damselling of Bev toward the end, which strikes me more as lazy screenwriting.)
I really did enjoy it, though. It is one of my all-time favourite novels and this adaptation is heads and tails above the old TV movie. I’m normally not a fan of CG in horror but, for me at least, it worked with the hints of Its true form (i.e. basically a Bloodborne boss).
Oh, I didn’t know about that background of the production. It very well could be due to the minimizing of roles, but yeah, there’s so many other small nods to the book that suggest they know what they’re adapting pretty well. I can’t imagine reading that book and coming away thinking that any other boy is the core of the group. It’s just, I wouldn’t be surprised if what I think about Mike’s rewrite is true because it’s such a Hollywood move, it stinks.
From what I recall, Fukunaga’s script combined Stan and Eddie and I think Mike and Ben. He also changed the names and wanted to include the infamous kid orgy scene, so it’s probably for the best he did step down in the end. It’s still weird and looks really bad regardless.
Interestingly, while I really liked Mike’s fight with Henry Bowers at the end, it seems more fitting for Ben given the physical violence enacted on him toward the beginning. God, I wonder if they actually did get confused between drafts.
My hope is that people raise enough of a stink so that Mike has his proper, front and centre role in the sequel. Considering that he and Bev are my favourite characters from the book they dang well better.
I would indeed forgive everything if Mike slipped into the proper role in the sequel. Even though Mike is also supposed to get taken out by Henry Bowers pretty early in the adult part, which…Bowers is presumably dead now?
I mean, now’s the time to get vocal about it, considering production for the sequel won’t start until next year (and there WILL be a sequel; its opening day returns are Marvel-level). I have no clue how that change happened in the first place but they can definitely get his character back on track.
I absolutely agree with all of this. I wanted more from him, script wise, because I felt he was genuinely compelling throughout the film.
Damn, I never read the book and didn’t know about the kid orgy scene. Jaysus
Watched it yesterday and really enjoyed it. It’s been a while since I saw the 90s television series but the movie definitely has better pacing and does a great job at visualising the different alterations of It. The headless boy in the library and the painting in the synagogue gave the cold chills.