This new iteration of a cult classic horror film is certainly representative of the overall dilemma of Hollywood films these days: a decent concept, great talent, and a terrible plot.
However solid your cast is, there’s still a lot of moving parts that don’t seem to be prioritized the way they really need to be. A story is what carries a film along and keeps audiences involved and interested. But it seems as though a plague has swept over Hollywood that is causing films to be nothing more than mediocre at best.
To illustrate this claim, I want to turn to the recently released reboot of It.
First of all, this film is in the same vein of many films these days, a reboot or sequel to a predecessor removed by a decades. I do think reboots and long forgotten sequels are decent concepts to follow, there is a disconnect in rebooting films to appeal to a modern audience. In It, the film is set in the 1980’s, something which I believe holds back the entire story. Each of the kid actors lives up to stereotypical representation prevalent in 1980’s films, even calling out this fact with a “Molly Ringwald” reference to the only girl in the group who is in fact an homage to the Pretty in Pink star. Setting the reboot in the same decade the original Stephen King novel was released limits the potential of diversity of representation or anything really “new” that could be adapted into the reboot. Why are we seemingly stuck in a 1980’s plot line?
Second, if Pennywise the Dancing Clown is supposed to represent and feed off of fear, then why limit the story to only focus on this group of pre-defined, stereotypical nerds and outcasts (or “Losers” as they lovingly refer to themselves as)? The fears of these kids are so limited to this very specific group of kids, who are great representations of 80’s kids (according to audience reaction and some jokes being lost on the younger audience). Why not branch out to explore characters who have not been given a voice yet? The original novel has already been adapted into a film once before in the 90’s, so let’s modernize the story and setting to allow for more potential and maybe even a better story for new audiences.
With all this said, It still has some strengths. The talent, for instance, is very solid. All of the kid actors did a great job, in my opinion, with pulling off each of the personalities of their characters. I’m not sure if it was just great casting choices or if this young talent is actually just that impressive, but their performances were quite believable, something I don’t usually find myself saying about kid actors. And we can’t forget Bill Skarsgard’s terrifying performance as Pennywise. Honestly, my favorite parts of the film were any scenes where Pennywise makes an appearance in because of the way the kid characters are written and how their side plot lines are quite boring in comparison. I would rather explore what each of their fears are and how Pennywise pulls from their more personal experiences, making the manifestation of their fear all the more real.
Since these are just a few initial thoughts I had, I would be interested to hear what others have to say about this new reboot. How do you feel about the very idea of reboots these days? Does It pull off the reboot concept well? Were you just as annoyed with the incessant penis jokes pervading the entire film as I was?