Category archive

Movies

Does ‘IT’ stay afloat? A comparison between ‘It’ from 1990 and the recent 2017 remake

in Movies/Review by
  • IT-slider.jpg?fit=1000%2C1000
    Advertising for “It” in 2017 Copyright of Warner Brother Studios
  • IT-1990-slider.jpg?fit=1000%2C1000
    Advertising for “It” in 1990 Copyright of Warner Brother Studios

The infamous dancing clown Pennywise in the remake of “IT” is back yet again to feast upon the young in Stephen King’s novel, written by Chase Palmer, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman and directed by Argentine screenwriter Andrés Muschietti.

Muschietti’s directing is similar to his 2013 horror production, “Mama.” “IT” and “Mama” are his only two feature length horror films and, in both, he uses low lighting whenever the villain is in the shot to give off a shadow around the menacing character with only a faint light in the center of the face, projecting a frightening appearance. Muschietti also uses a great deal of jump scares. This is a great approach for horror movies. It makes the moment so much scarier and will also keep the audience on the edge of their seats because they won’t know when the next one is coming.

Muschietti’s “IT” kisses the former Pennywise played by Tim Curry goodbye. The new Pennywise played by Bill Skarsgard is more terrifying with his obscure clown makeup and red lipstick that begins at his mouth and goes to the top of his eyebrows giving him a very grim and frightening smile that almost resembles the late Heath Ledger’s version of Joker in “The Dark Knight.” Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise’s demented personality and derailed mannerisms, not to mention the very exhausted clothing, tells us that this clown has been around for a very long time and isn’t going away.

The new Skarsgard Pennywise comes out of the old sewers of the fictional town of Derry, dragging down any poor child that dares to look down a rain gutter. He devours them as they scream for help.

Pennywise believes that children are the best source of food since they are easy to lure and are afraid of things that Pennywise can easily manifest into reality. Pennywise shape shifts into his victims’ darkest fears in an action he calls “salting the meat.” Once he has them in his grasp, dinner is served.

In order to fight back against Pennywise, some of Derry’s most vulnerable citizens, a group of seven bullied children, unite together to as “The Loser’s Club”: Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, and Jackson Robert Scott. The Losers’ Club’s goal is to defeat the hungry Pennywise who is the reason for the dark history in Derry’s accidents involving children and the reason for Derry’s grieving parents. The Losers’ Club will do everything to keep their friendship afloat while tracking down Pennywise. They visit the haunting locations in Stephen King’s novel such as The 29 Neibolt house, The Black Spot, as well as The Barrens where Pennywise stores his leftovers. The group must defend their town and bring justice to all the victims of Pennywise whilst conquering their darkest fears.

The 2017 version is more frightening than the 1990; however, the 2017 movie follows the same theme as the 1990 “IT” directed by Tommy Lee Wallace. One obvious difference is in how the new “IT” is portrayed. The movie is converted in a way to appeal young adults. The New York Post suggests that millennials just don’t like old movies, saying “A new study finds that less than a quarter of millennials have watched a film from start to finish that was made back in the 1940s or 50s and only a third have seen one from the 1960s.” This study suggests that a quarter of millennials haven’t seen the 1990 version of “IT” and would most likely not watch the original “IT” due to its horrible special effects and the lack of CGI.

Another difference is that the CGI work in the new version of “IT” makes Pennywise look demonic in a way that makeup could never do. In one specific scene Pennywise becomes abnormally tall. Also, when Pennywise has his prey in his grasp, he opens his mouth from ear to ear, showing layers and layers of teeth. One other form of great CGI is in a scene where Pennywise opens his mouth — there is a clear shot of his throat where the Spook Lights can be seen. The Spook Lights are a very important thing to Pennywise because it is essentially the thing keeping him alive.

The Spook Lights is Pennywise’s true form. The reason it is not always shown in the movie is because the Spook Lights is force that humans cannot understand and if seen can leave them in a sort of trance.

The 2017 remake has perfect production timing. From 1990 to 2017 would make 27 years, and Pennywise comes out of the sewers every 27 years. This added a great terrifying touch.

Rotten Tomatoes gave the 2017 “IT” an overall 85 percent on the Tomatometer. Rotten Tomatoes also added that the movie is “well-acted and fiendishly frightening with an emotionally affecting story at its core.” Rotten Tomatoes also explains that “’IT’ amplifies the horror in Stephen King’s classic story without losing touch with it’s heart.” The audience scored the movie with an overall 86 percent.

IMBD gave the 2017 “IT” a 7.8 out of 10 and made an “IT” movie review page dedicated directly for “IT” consisting of balloons and a theme of red and black with an ominous look.

Roger Ebert awarded 3 stars. RobertEbert.com says “’IT’ could have used a bit of tightening as it builds toward its climax, though. While the imagery is undeniably harrowing and even poignant in the action-packed third act, some of ‘IT’ feels dragged out and redundant. And because the final confrontation takes place within a dark, underground lair, it’s sometimes difficult to tell exactly what’s going on, despite the impressive visual effects on display as Pennywise unleashes his full powers on his young attackers.”

In spite of Ebert’s 3 stars, the R rated movie “IT” premiered in theaters September 8 with a run time of 135 minutes, bringing home a whopping $123.1 million in just the opening weekend. The box office total was published as $305,250,480, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

This film is great for young adults. It is recommended for ages 18 and up due to gory images, violence and the very colorful language. It’s a great Friday night fright with amazing special effects. The film was professionally shot and had amazing characters who all nailed their roles. As a returning fan, I was especially satisfied with the film. Pennywise was amazing. He was frightening and nailed every one of The Losers’ Club fears as well as some of my own. Pennywise also had a satisfying amount of screen time as well as scream time.

“Logan” slashes through stereotypes

in Columns/Movies by
  • logan-slider.jpg?fit=500%2C500
    Photo provided by 20th Century Fox

“Logan” opens in the darkest reaches of the “X-Men” universe. A broken and defeated Wolverine, drunk on liquor and the paralysis of his past, is the hero we’re introduced to. Not the typical superhero greeting, no, but “Logan” is the opposite of what superhero films have become today. Big on spectacle and faded on emotion, most of the common superhero lot offer only blind escapism from the problems of the world. Meanwhile, “Logan” dares to be many of the issues humanity faces, as it crafts itself as a somber telling of life, family, love and, above all, the ever-growing closeness that is death.

Don’t let such heavy themes dissuade you from purchasing a ticket. The film is still descended from classic superhero stories we’ve enjoyed from the “X-Men” series for almost two decades. While those films have crept along, suturing themselves with complacency and genre safety, “Logan” steps beyond the bounds of convention. “Logan” is not the antithesis of those films. In many ways this movie is as familiar as the title character, except here his claws are used to rupture the sutures that have made the “X-Men” series (besides 2015’s Deadpool) what it is.

Many lesser movies can be crafted around a single word. Once the credits roll, that resounding adjective marks that movie’s merits in a simplified and often dull expression. “Mind-Bending” is Marvel’s Doctor Strange, while “terrifying” is the Nightmare on Elm Street series. To describe “Logan” in any specific fashion would be a disservice to what director James Mangold and star Hugh Jackman have accomplished. “Logan” is a puzzle without an end picture, with parts of brutality, of morality, of philosophy and humanity being its chosen pieces.

Set in the future world of 2029, most mutants have been killed off. Wolverine (Jackman) runs a limousine service to scrounge money together to purchase medication for a withered Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). When outside forces place a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) in their midst, the film sets off. Part road-trip, part slasher and part drama, “Logan” sees itself as a melting pot of genres, taking influences from such diverse films as Mad Max: Fury Road to The Dark Knight.

After the success of the R-rated Deadpool, “Logan” was given the same ratings treatment, though for different reasons. Whereas Deadpool used its rating for vulgar jokes and innuendo, “Logan” molds its R-rating behind striking violence and brutality. From the opening-scene, this film earns its rating as Wolverine hacks off limbs and stabs his claws through human faces. The violence that’s racked up can be a bit much for the squeamish, but for those who’ve craved an ideal depiction of Wolverine and his beast-like tendencies, there is no better portrayal.

The Wolverine character has become synonymous with Hugh Jackman, who has played the character since the 2000’s X-Men. Seventeen years later and Jackman is still portraying the character, still peeling back new layers to a man who has been shown on film nine times. Most of that is from the different person that Wolverine has become in this film. When once Wolverine’s body was corded by muscle, it is now a raw map of scars. The character’s healing factor has slowed and Wolverine, after living since the Civil War era, has finally turned old. That the character’s invulnerability is gone makes him more human, one who must face the mistakes of his past and the inevitability of his future.

Jackman, as ever, deserves praise of the highest for modeling this character and still adding new facets of intrigue to him. Jackman plays vulnerable, savage and sincere, sometimes in one scene.

The biggest surprise comes in Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier. Coming into the film series in the same film as Jackman, Stewart’s portrayal of the wheelchair-bound mentor has always been marked by intelligence and calm that made the character, for better or worse, seem a bit robotic. In “Logan,” Xavier degenerates quickly, with his all-powerful mind plagued by a neuro-degenerative disease. The world’s greatest mind is faltering, but that opens Xavier up to more human means, as he is inhabited by guilt for a disaster he created in the past. Stewart has never been better as the character; moments of frailty are evened out by comedic choices and deeply-emotional scenes.

With their powers weakened, those things that granted them a specific privilege of immortality or some semblance of it, these characters are more open to the viewer. It is a nerve-racking and often pain-staking reality to come to terms with mortality. While that realization has faced every mortal being with its inevitability, for these characters it must seem more an epiphany than anything else. And with these revelations come meditations on the past, where Logan realizes he’s never felt something akin to love or family, only partial ruins of both in the form of his former X-Men teammates . A life without achievement in love is one seemingly without cause, and that is one of the moral dilemmas that Wolverine must overcome in the film.

The superhero genre has its merits of fun escapism, but never is it so bold as to defy, or even obliterate, convention. Characters in this genre are typically covered in the flash of computer effects and one-liners, but not in “Logan.” Here they are the center of the film, its organs and flesh and bone that compile it into a truly human experience. Films rarely feel so fresh and, after 17 years of Wolverine on film, are never so deserved. If this truly is Jackman’s final time portraying the character, then he has given the final ingredient to make the mutant whole: humanity.

Go to Top