Down with the Clown

It Chapter TwoSPOILERS! – Twenty-seven years after the events of the first film, and two years later in real life, the members of the Losers Club have moved all over the country, many in successful careers, and having forgotten much of what had happened with It. The only one to stay behind, Mike (who as an adult is played by Isaiah Mustafa, the Old Spice guy), realizes that Pennywise has returned, and calls the others.

They all show up in Derry except for Stanley, who turns out to have committed suicide. Mike claims to have learned a way to defeat It from a local Native American tribe. This involves each of them finding a token representing a significant memory of their past, which they each do in five minutes or so, often in abandoned buildings, which seems awfully convenient. They all have separate encounters with It, who appears in different forms, some of them too goofy to be frightening. Pennywise also breaks the bully Henry Bowers out of a mental institution and he shows up a few times to menace the Losers, although he’s also pretty ridiculous this time around. The thing is, Pennywise himself was kind of silly in the first part, but the stuff he caused others to do was often much more realistically disturbing. That was the case with the gay-bashing at the beginning of this one, but not so much for the rest of it. When the heroes take on It, they try the ritual, but it doesn’t work. Mike is forced to reveal that it didn’t the last time it was tried either, but I guess it was worth a shot.

They eventually defeat It by belittling him, which shrinks him down physically, and then they rip out his heart and crush it. My general issue with this movie, which I know also bothered my friend Tavie who saw this with Beth and me, was that the rules are never really clear. Sometimes Pennywise does something violent, and it all turns out to be imaginary; but at other times it actually causes lasting injuries. Is there some way to tell which is which that I didn’t pick up on? I think the main element in his defeat was supposed to be that he fed on fear, so they had to show they weren’t afraid of him. The thing is, I think cutting It down to size could have worked better if they’d pointed out more of It’s general inconsistencies, like how he considers himself the “eater of worlds,” but spends most of his time tormenting children in a small town. As it is, though, they mostly just call him names, and it works. I looked up the summary of the book on Wikipedia to see if it made more sense there, and there’s something about the Ritual of Chüd (named after the movie C.H.U.D. because it takes place in the sewer?), which they learned from a giant space turtle during a drug-induced hallucination, allowing some of the heroes to spiritually enter It’s body and kill him from within. They also have to destroy his eggs, which didn’t make it into the movie. While the Ritual of Chüd and the hallucination do appear, there’s no turtle and no spiritual travel, although It still arrived on a meteor from space millions of years ago.

So it apparently didn’t make much sense in the source material either, but it kind of wasn’t supposed to. It seems like, in the film, they wanted to make it somewhat more realistic, but weren’t successful. There was a running gag about how Stephen King’s endings (or, in universe, Bill’s endings) were unsatisfying, the bit even making it into King’s own cameo as a pawn shop owner, but I’m not sure the screenwriter was good at endings either.

This entry was posted in Monsters, Prejudice, Relationships, VoVat Goes to the Movies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Down with the Clown

  1. Pingback: The Joker’s Not the Only Fool | VoVatia

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