Monday, December 18, 2017

In-flight Entertainment

It's often the case that the only films I watch from start to finish are those I encounter when flying to foreign climes. I can't remember having watched a full movie this year so far, so it could be that my viewing of It yesterday comprises my complete experience of fully viewed films for 2017. If so, it was an entirely happy one.

It's been quite a few years now since I read Stephen King's novel. I thought of it as very,very good King, though a bit too formulaic to be put into the absolute top draw with The Shining. I also thought of it as essentially unfilmable due to its length and sheer complexity. I suppose this is why I never bothered to watch the original film some years back. Since I've managed to forget most of the details of the book I'm now quite open to a take on it which plays fast and loose with even key details. I suspect that's what I saw yesterday. For example, the 'lair' of the monstrous clown in the film is a very obviously run-down Kingian house, the archetypal bad place. I don't recall such a location in the novel. I seem to recall the climactic scenes taking place in some kind of big drain. And, thankfully, there's no attempt in the movie to show what actually happens between Beverly and the boys in the novel that cements the bonding of the group. Also the movie as it stands focuses solely on the story of Bill and his gang as children with no attempt to suggest their adult selves, except the brief reference to the film being just Chapter 1 at the very end.

This way of telling the story worked extremely well. The film certainly captures the atmosphere of the novel and is skilfully paced - possibly the reason why I was able to watch it without feeling inclined to switch off and catch up with the full story later. Also I must say how good the performances of the kids were, and what a relief it was to watch something where there wasn't the distraction of star performers (well, not anyone I could recognise, that is.) Not sure if Chapter 2 comes out that it will recapture the charm of this version of the tale.

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