Originally published in September 2017

Why take the risk with remakes? Despite the potential pitfalls, the TV industry is currently obsessed with revivals, remakes, and reboots. Surprisingly, Prison Break managed to succeed despite its poor third and fourth seasons. I personally enjoyed the revival of Dallas a few years back, and even the new version of Heroes had some good moments. Wentworth, a reimagining of Prisoner Cell Block H, has been a remarkable success, and next month we’ll see the same treatment given to the ultimate 80s soap opera, Dynasty.

Why, though? There must be ample talent available to generate fresh concepts. Nevertheless, the decision-makers deemed it was time for a remake of the Stephen King classic IT, prompting Kato to reserve tickets for us to attend the opening night. IT is, without a doubt, the most magnificent book ever penned. I have read it 8 or 9 times and watched the TV mini-series an innumerable amount of times (probably around 5). Thus, I felt somewhat uneasy as I settled into the plush, reclining seats at Ipswich’s spanking new Empire cinema complex.

It’s a shame that inevitable comparisons will always happen due to the film being a remake, which prevents it from being judged on its own merits. People will always question why certain parts were changed or different, and compare characters to their original counterparts. The biggest change in this remake is the timeline, with the original book/miniseries set in the 50’s and 80’s while the new version is set in the 80’s/current day. Another change is the focus on just the Losers Club as kids, without shifting between timelines. This decision simplifies the narrative, which I appreciate.

It takes a lot of courage to entrust a major blockbuster to a group of relatively unknown kids, which is precisely what the filmmakers have done. Although Richie is played by the same actor who portrayed Mike in Stranger Things (a fact that eluded me for a while), the young cast members are largely unfamiliar to audiences. While I believe that all of them have bright futures ahead, Sophia Lillis, who portrays Bev, was the standout performer in my opinion. With her commanding presence and undeniable star quality, she captured every scene she appeared in.

The visual aspect of IT is truly awe-inspiring. Watching it in the cinema was a wise choice, as even our 55″ television fails to fully capture the brilliance of its cinematography. As for its scariness, IT may have that effect on those who are unfamiliar with the story. However, having prior knowledge of the plot takes away from the horror aspect that forms the foundation of the film. While there may be a few startling scenes, the character of Pennywise has been replicated for years, making his appearance on screen less of an impact.

IT is basically STRANGER THINGS crossed with STAND BY ME

I give the film a 7 as I feel it works as a standalone (maybe would have got a 9 if the original didn’t exist). Being a cricket fan I’ll leave you with the words of Sir Geoffrey:- Never judge a teams score until both sides have had a bat!

I rate the film a 7 as it succeeds as a standalone movie (it could have received a 9 if it weren’t for the existence of the original). As a cricket enthusiast, I’ll leave you with the wise words of Sir Geoffrey: “Don’t evaluate a team’s score until both sides have batted!”

With that roll on Chapter Two


Last night marked our first visit to Ipswich’s new Empire Cinema, where we caught the remake of IT. As a die-hard fan of the original film (I practically have every line memorised!), I was excited to see how the story had been adapted and how Bill Skarsgard would embody the infamous Pennywise. Given my admiration for his brother, Alexander Skarsgard, I had high expectations for Bill’s performance.

I was thoroughly impressed with the new cinema. As we entered our designated screen, my initial reaction was one of astonishment – “Wow!” The screen was absolutely massive! Despite Jamie’s insistence on letting out a series of farts all the way up the stairs in the hushed cinema, our recliner chairs were fantastic. There was plenty of space, and I didn’t feel cramped or anxious in the slightest. As the lights dimmed and the film began, I settled in for a great viewing experience.

I’m not a film snob when it comes to remakes, as I quite enjoyed the new Ghostbusters and prefer the remake of Miracle on 34th Street over the original. Surprisingly, I also enjoyed the newer version of Annie. However, this particular remake fell short of my expectations. Although some of the original dialogue was retained, and the actor who played Richie (who also stars in Stranger Things) was exceptional, the overall production felt rushed and low-budget.

I adored how Tim Curry infused his portrayal of Pennywise with humour and an unexpected likability, despite being a murderer of children, in the original adaptation. Although I have only read the book a few times in the distant past, I find it difficult to provide a comprehensive critique as it is being presented in two parts.

Overall it was a bit Meh and slightly underwhelming.

6/10 from Kato.

By Verso

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