IT CHAPTER TWO | Film Review (/Why I hate 15-Rated Movies)

We didn’t stop It”

RELEASED: September 6th 2019
DIRECTED BY: Andy Muschietti
WRITTEN BY: Gary Dauberman
PRODUCED BY: Barbara Muschietti, Dan Lin & Roy Lee
MUSIC BY: Benjamin Wallfisch
STARRING: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Teach Grant & Bill Sharsgård

For me, there was a lot working against this film. First up, I didn’t really care for the first movie, finding it hard to connect or even appreciate many of the characters. I took particular issue with Jaeden Martell’s Bill who I found particularly irksome as a lead character (nothing against the actor, I just didn’t like the characterisation or the focus on him).

Then, there’s the fact that working in a cinema, 15 Rated Films are the bane of my existence. Every time one comes out we get an onslaught of teenagers who try to lie about their age, and frankly, aren’t any good at it. Furthermore, they get aggressive when you point out that their date of birth makes them 14, not 15. Most of them obviously don’t carry I.D. because why would they? (Did you carry I.D. when you were 15? I didn’t), and a lot of the time their parents try to aid them in illegally getting into screens, and seem to think that when we ask the teen their date of birth, the parent interjecting and answering for them is helpful.

Yo, parents: please be quiet, I’m not talking to you. You answering just makes this whole thing seem more suspicious.

Working at a cinema is an easy enough job. But it’s when the 15’s come out that I find myself being called a ‘wanker’, ‘arsehole’ or a ‘cunt’ because I won’t let a 12-year-old see a film they’re not old enough for. Y’know, obeying the law and all that.

They seem to revel in wasting our time and causing trouble (this isn’t all teenagers, of course, but unfortunately more than it should be) and the ones who actually are old enough aren’t always that much better.

(Don’t worry, I will actually get to the review eventually)

I, unfortunately, didn’t get the chance to attend our staff show, and thus ended up in a showing that was full of these teenagers. Teenagers who would frequently check their phones during the movie and talk throughout. The most vocal of these teens were a trio of boys who were sat right in front of us. At first, they weren’t so bad. Just the occasional comment. But towards the end of the film, not only did their exchanges become more frequent, but they actually got louder. I don’t want to have to be telling people to be quiet when I’m not on shift, but alas, they left me no choice. To their credit, the little morons were deadly silent after that.

It’s this general disregard for other people that many audience members seem to have when watching a film that I can’t stand. People don’t come to listen to your conversations, they come to experience the movie.

None of this was what I wanted on my second day of trying to quit smoking.

But anyway, despite all that, the film was fairly enjoyable.

I never used to be that big on horror, but the past few years, every October, I’ve tried to watch a horror film every day of the month (the ’31 Days of Horror Challenge’). This, in a way, has heightened my tolerance for jump scares, and while this film is quite reliant on them, it is also quite an unnerving and gross experience. Pennywise, as in the last film, is a delightful antagonist, played perfectly by Bill Sharsgård. His physical transformations manage to be creepy, and his various tricks elicited quite the response from my audience (when they weren’t being gobby little shites). However, at times, his transformations stepped away from being unappealing and became downright goofy. Some even encouraged laughs from the audience, and rightly so – it looked ridiculous.

Still, there was a lot of other things to like in the film. The camerawork, for one, was pretty strong throughout. There were a few moments towards the end where things became a bit messy, but for the most part, the angle work and the way it occasionally played with saturation made the film seem like a mind-bending adventure.

The cast and crew also do a great job. The make-up and costume design outdo themselves with the various forms Pennywise takes, and they also do an excellent job of making the various adult stars look like their child counterparts.

Said actors also do well portraying older versions of It‘s central characters, with Bill Hader and James Ransone being particular highlights. Their chemistry and humorous back-and-forth contribute to this film being a lot funnier than expected, and together with the other actors, they bring some serious gravitas to the movie.

It’s through these actors, the excellent design and interesting visuals that It Chapter Two manages to flow quite well in spite of its unruly run-time. Unfortunately, this is also where the problems come in. While, for me, the movie never felt too long, it did feel unfocused. It obviously gave the entire movie to the child cast, allowing their adult selves to step up in the sequel; and yet, a lot of the central portion of the new movie still revolves around the child-stars and thus takes away from the chance to actually delve into these new adult variants.

Side-plots are introduced, never to see any proper payoff, and some scenes, such as a particularly brutal opener, seem like they’re thrown in just for the sake of being thrown in. They don’t lead to anything later down the line. It’s just gratuitous violence for the sake of it.

I feel like this is where It Chapter Two starts to stumble slightly. While one could point to some of the CGI and lament the fact it’s humorous rather than consistently scary, I think the problem comes from the layout of the script. The script itself; the words, the overall story; are fine. It’s just this insistence of cramming the movie full of unneeded stuff, such as the continuous flashbacks to the past, mean that the movie doesn’t have time to deal with everything that it sets up. Thus, some of the actors, good as they are, are wasted. Isaiah Mustafa, for one, gets a lot of screen time, but not as much development as his co-stars, while James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain come with interesting character arcs built-in, but then the story flounders them slightly and leaves a lot to the audience’s imagination.

Still, It Chapter Two is an enjoyable film, it’s just a bit bloated. Gerald’s Game is still the best Stephen King adaptation (that I’ve seen) in my opinion.

All-in-all, I give It:

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