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Original vs Remake: IT

I had a week off the Original vs Remake post last week while I contemplated which one to look at next.

I decided that this week would be about the 2017 remake of Steven King’s, IT (1990) and its sequel, IT Chapter Two (2019).

I’ll start by saying that I’ve never read the book, or any Stephen King book for that matter (the endings are all rubbish anyway right..?)

I have however seen a few movie adaptations of his books over the years and one of the best I can remember is the original IT.

In 1990 I was about 10 so you can imagine what affect a film like that had on me (it might actually explain a few things).

It has a great story, well developed characters and was, at the time, scary as hell!

For anyone that hasn’t seen it, IT is about a group of kids living in a small town in America who discover that a demonic force that can take on various forms, (in this case a clown) is killing and feeding on local children. After it’s period of feeding, it hibernates for 30 years before coming back to repeat it’s reign of terror.

The kids eventually battle and defeat it and make a pact to reunite to face it again should IT ever return. And it does....

Wow! How many times did I just use the word “it”?!

The original is a bit dated now but is still a great watch until (in my opinion) the end where it gets a bit ropey with bad “of the time” special effects.

The film was originally released on TV as a mini series, then later on VHS, DVD etc as a full movie.

It goes back and forth between present day and thirty years earlier in a series of flashbacks where we get to see the main character’s first encounters with IT as kids.

Tim Curry plays Pennywise the clown (IT) and is brilliant and terrifying. He’s also probably responsible for a lot of my generation’s fear of clowns come to think about it...

The remake took a different approach.

The story was told over two movies with the first focussing on the events that happen when the main characters were kids, and the second 27 years later when they’re forced to reunite as adults to once again face IT - hopefully for good this time.

The story itself stays pretty true to the original (from what I remember) but with a few differences and things added to bring it up to date with current times. I guess also, to freshen it up a bit.

It develops the characters really well (especially in the first film) and benefits greatly from modern day special effects which is where the original fell down slightly.

I did feel feel though that by Chapter 2, Pennywise had lost a lot of his fear factor. He conveniently manages to kill anyone that isn’t a main character with relative ease and is seemingly easy to defeat in various confrontations. I know we wouldn’t have a film if he picked them all off at the start but still, it got almost predictable.

In the remake Pennywise is played by Bill Skarsgard (a role that almost went to Hugo Weaving who was a final contender for it) and he does a superb job.

The kids are also very good as are the actors that play their older selves. Just the likenesses alone are brilliant.

Over all verdict: This is a tough one. I’m going to say in this case that the remake wins, but it’s kind of by default. It had the advantage of two movies to tell the story over and to go into more depth with the characters. The special effects of today are also much better than what was available in 1990 which makes a big difference to the finale.

The original is still worth a watch but if I was going to put one version on it would be the 2017 remake.

What do you think? Am I right?

Have any of you read the book? If so how does it compare to the films?

Let me know in the comments.

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