It reminded me of The Goonies and Stand By Me, of a group of kids spending their small town summer playing in the sun. The best parts of this latest adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel occur when the horror is absent, the characters Beverley and Ben in particular depicted sensitively and in three dimensions. Part of me almost regrets their detour into generic horror, and the need to introduce several other child-characters, of whom perhaps three were quite important, and two largely unnecessary – an issue that damaged The Hobbit with its fourteen largely undeveloped dwarfs.
Am I too old for horror, though? I wondered this as the Clown, Pennywise, attacked the children in scene after scene. The scarier he was meant to be, the more non-plussed I felt, at the Clown's frenetic gyrations and giant fangs. Perhaps it's a case of less is more: I don't remember the little brother Georgie having his arm bitten off in the original novel, and I was both surprised at the scene and my own reaction to it since this is the pivotal opening that creates the mood for the story. The horror in this film, indeed, is anti-climactic throughout.
I'm writing in truncated thoughts, a sign this film left me underwhelmed and struggling for any flow. The ending of It reminded me of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban, when each child must confront their darkest fears, and can only overcome their foe by abandoning their fear. I would say Prisoner of Askaban was scarier, though much of the child-acting reminds me of Daniel Radcliffe, with the discernible swallowing (wanting to express fear), followed by clenched teeth and fists (wanting to express the determination to overcome fear).At the end, we discover the film is Chapter 1. I didn't know It was in two parts, and that the portrayal of the main characters seventeen years on will come in the second part. This isn't necessarily a problem, and I understand there's only so much you can cover in two hours. I may even watch the second part whenever that comes out. But as to my review's half-hearted conclusion to a movie that's really only half a movie, I will say that It is neither genuinely scary nor touching nor substantial, and it leaves me feeling like I haven't much to say.