This is my 17th of 31 reviews of Stephen King adaptations as part of the joint Blogathon that Darren (of Movie Reviews 101) and I are running this month in honor of the great horror writer.
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Number of Times Seen – 3 (Cable in 1990, video in ’93 and 14 Oct 2015)
Brief Synopsis – A group of seven friends band together to help vanquish an entity that is killing kids in their town.
My Take on it – How does one take an 1100 page book and properly adapt it for television?
King himself has stated that if he were to film it, it would have gone for 32 hours. That may be slightly long, but the point he was trying to make is clear; that it isn’t easy to adapt such a long and dense book into just three hours.
They did an excellent job here despite many important and essential parts being left out from the novel. It isn’t essential to have read the book before seeing this, but it is helpful because it helps explain parts that are glossed over by the movie.
This movie has an all-star cast; Richard Thomas, Tim Reid, Annette O’Toole, John Ritter, Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher and Richard Masur are all superb, but the actor who steals the show is Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown.
Who would have thought that a clown could be so huggable and menacing at the same time?
I have only seen this movie three times and even with the gap of twenty years, there was so much that I remembered because it is such a memorable story.
I liked how they combined the two different time lines depicted and it flowed very well despite the aforementioned gaps in the full explanations of things.
Even with the all-star cast playing the adult versions of the characters, the scenes with the kids were slightly more poignant and stronger (which makes sense because King has a knack for writing kids excellently, just like adults).
As a side note, I recently just finished reading King’s novel 11-22-63 and it also features the town of Derry and takes place around the same time as this does, so there are even a few crossover characters between the stories.
Bottom Line – They did an excellent job of making this, but it would have served it much better if it had been longer. 3 hrs is just too short for a story like this one. All-star cast that is overshadowed by the superb performance of Curry. It helps to have read the book because there is so much unexplained here, but it still manages to get everything right. Ironically, the scenes with the kids are stronger than the adults. Highly Recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – On the DVD commentary track, the actors note that Tim Curry’s characterization of Pennywise was so creepy and realistic that everyone avoided him during the filming. (From IMDB)
Rating – Oscar Worthy
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