It has been 27 years since the menacing Pennywise hit screens back in 1990 as a TV mini-series, and now he’s back in the 2017 It remake by Andres Muschietti. The storyline of the new adaptation remains relatively the same as the original with kids from Maine being tormented by “It” or Pennywise. Ultimately, as adults, these children will journey towards overcoming their childhood trauma.
As the film opens, the action centers around Bill and the loss of his brother, Georgie; then there is Beverly who is made out to be the town outcast with a bad life at home; Stanley who is pressured to live up to the expectations of his Rabbi father; and Mike who faces discrimination and has to move on past the loss of both his parents. Each child suffers in one way or another, and these hardships create fears that leave them vulnerable to Pennywise and his inevitable and continuous manipulation. Eventually, all the kids realize that the only way to stop the torment is to confront it and not surrendering to that initial fear leaves Pennywise powerless. The gradual development and distinction of the characters has great significance in the plot, and this leads the kids to come together to fight against “It” in protection of one another and also to overcome their own individual fears.
In the 1990 mini-series, I would consider the kids to be more uptight or confined by their fears than the 2017 adaptation. In the remake there is more humor and comedic relief especially from Richie, played by Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things. I believed this aspect to be very significant as it reminds the audience that they are in fact kids, yet they are forced to endure a traumatizing childhood all on their own, and this essentially shows the strength and the bond between the children. There were many moments in the film that successfully made the audience laugh; however, there were other moments that made the audience laugh, but I don’t believe that was the intention. For example, all the kids gather outside a house planning to meet Pennywise, but Stanley breaks down in protest, and his reaction was so over-the-top that the scene became funny rather than moving. Moments and scenes like those fell flat for me because they failed to translate the emotion accurately. Another scene had Pennywise doing a dance, and I believe the intent was to show his psychotic ways that would add into the fear factor. This may or may not have been the intent, but regardless, it became a meme and was one of the most memorable scenes of the whole film.
Pennywise from 1990 had a more excessive presence as he was persistent and constant in invoking fear, while 2017 Pennywise isn’t as tenacious to keep the children in fear. In fact, the few jump-scare encounters are more than enough to keep the kids frightened, and the mere thought and idea of “It” keeps the story going. This allows the moral to develop: your own fear and succumbing to that fear is your worst enemy; bravely overcoming that fear is your best choice. Overall, It did Stephen King’s novel and the 1990 mini-series justice. It varied from the concepts of the original, but regardless, it was successful, enjoyable, and memorable in its own way.