It: Remake vs Original

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It: Remake vs Original

Joshua Relyea, Editor in Chief

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It: Remake Vs. Original

On September 8th of this year, the highly anticipated remake of Stephen King’s book to screen adaptation; It, was released. It tells the chilling story of a group of kids living in Derry, Maine in the late 80’s. After many recent cases of disappearing local kids occur in their hometown, the kids unite with one another due to previously experiencing strange and horrifying encounters with an evil clown, and a determination to kill it. I saw the new film about a month ago when it was first released, and I thought it was just fantastic. It’s fun, creepy, and is surprisingly very emotionally engaging. You genuinely care about all of the main characters: the kids, and you completely buy into their motivations, as these are all incredibly well developed throughout the course of the film.  

             I recently had a chance to watch the original It, which actually is not a film, but a two part miniseries that premiered on ABC in 1990. I only watched the first part, because that is what the remake is based upon, so I didn’t want to spoil what happens in part two for myself as another It film is currently in the works. As for my thoughts on the original, I have to confess that I really did not care for it. It has nothing to do with its age, special effects or anything related to that. I love so many movies that have come out before the 21st century and I can completely disregard certain technical flaws a film or tv show might have that didn’t come out at this day and age. But my disliking for the original It simply has to do with the fact that everything the remake gets right, the original gets totally wrong. For instance, when I was talking before about how the remake provides fully well rounded and developed characters that you can resonate and sympathize with, the original doesn’t have this as the characters are developed and balanced incredibly poorly and unevenly. The original has a very clunky structure as well that the remake does not have. It chooses to go back and forth to when the kids are adults to when they are just kids, and while I could actually see a similar structure to this working, the filmmakers totally botch it here as neither of these time periods are equally balanced in any kind of way.  

 

The leader of the group of kids in the new It, Bill Denbrough, is the emotional driving force of the movie, as his brother was taken and killed by this demonic clown. Yet, the others kids are also developed in a functional and necessary manner, and you can easily be emotionally invested in their characters as well. You feel none of this in the original. In fact, the characters of the kids in the original feel shockingly very one-note and incredibly standard. Also, in the remake, there is a real sense of threat, dread and danger that you feel quite constantly. You may partly have Bill Skarsgård’s terrific performance in the role of the clown named Pennywise to thank for this, but in the original It I didn’t feel any sort of treachery or menace, and I didn’t find Tim Curry as Pennywise very scary at all. In fact, I thought he was kind of phoning it in at certain points. Overall, if you’re trying to decide between watching the original or remake of It, I would absolutely say you watch the remake, a fantastic horror film which is simply something we don’t get very often nowadays. If you watch or have watched that film already and would like to see the original just out of curiosity, go right ahead. It won’t ruin your love for the new film and it’s definitely not the worst horror film I’ve ever seen, I just simply don’t think that it’s any good and does not carry the same weight that this new film does.