Stephen King's It

Those were words that sent a chill up my spine when I read Stephen King's It, a long time ago as a teen, in a single one-day sitting (the book is over a thousand pages long). Seeing the film, I can only recall how I felt reading the book to experience something vaguely similar, so I don't burst out into laughter.

"They float. We all float down here."

That is not to say that the screen version of It doesn't have its moments. Like with Stephen King novels, It contains a lot of Learian phrases that create an eerie supernatural atmosphere. These words have a chilling effect generally when used throughout the film. However, such moments are few and far in-between.

Seven children in the town of Derry, Maine (for the uninitiated, this is similar to Sunnydale in Buffy the Vampire Slayer in King's imagination) know something's wrong with their town. Being social outcasts of different sorts, they form a loser's club to fight the evil that permeates their home. The evil takes on the form of a clown named Pennywise (Tim Curry) who offers children balloons and entices them to float with him in his dead lights. Although young, they manage to defeat the creature but fail to destroy it completely.

Thirty years later, the creature returns, summoning them back for another confrontation. This time, It's more powerful than ever, and the children, who have mostly grown-up into successful members of society, are weaker. As you can expect with King's stories, the final battle does not result in a nice Hollywood style ending.

The cast do a decent job, with Tim Curry stealing the show as Pennywise. The effects are not that great but short of a large budget, there was little way they could do anyone's imagination justice.

"I saw It's dead lights."

The reason It was so interesting was because of the creature itself, one that had existed for eons. This cosmic spider was watched over by a giant turtle which one day simply passed away, thus allowing It to run free and exercise its evil ways.

"He thrusts his fists at the posts and still insists he sees the ghost."

The way to defeat such a mythological creature was to simply to believe in something, even if those belief's were inconsequential. This is what made It as a story so compelling, that by reciting idiosyncratic phrases and squirting camphor water, a creature with immense power could be destroyed.

It's a shame the movie version of It doesn't live up to the book, especially considering that the epic mythology here is at least as powerful as what's seen in Harry Potter or Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings. It, the made-for-TV movie is enjoyable, and while it is no substitute for the book, it makes for a nice complement.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||