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You’ll Float Too-An Analysis on “IT” Throughout The Years

A week ago was my anniversary with my loving boyfriend and we decided we were going to have a truly romantic night. We both dressed up and decided to catch dinner and a show. We ate at a spectacular restaurant with amazing food then headed over to the theater to see the super romantic new release, It. While this is not the most romantic movie, we both had been dying to see it and what better day than our anniversary?

*WARNING* (Spoilers)

            I feel like I don’t need a spoiler alert since the 2017 version is based off a 1986 book and a 1990 mini-series. Before seeing the new release I had read parts of the book and seen the two-part mini-series so I was pretty prepared for what was to come, whereas my boyfriend was not. From the reactions of other viewers in the theater, not a lot of people had seen the mini-series. So I thought it would be interesting to compare the original story to the two adaptations.

Overview of the story:

            If you have ever read a Steven King novel you would know that they are bloody and handle dark/taboo topics in extreme detail, this book is no exception. Taking place in 1958 the story follows a group of 12-year-old kids as they deal with growing up in the small town of Derry, Maine that is cursed by a supernatural being. There are large sections of the book that give the backstory to It, which takes the main appearance of Pennywise the clown. It becomes active every 27 years to feast on fears, which are easy to get from human children since they have extremely active imaginations. Steven King’s books often deal with this type of sci-fi horror but this backstory is left out of both the mini-series and movie.

            The book opens with a hate crime against a gay couple.One of the men is tossed over a bridge and Pennywise mutilates the body (King spared no details). The rest of the book follows suit and deals with topics such as homophobia, racism, and sexism. In the book there is a lot of violence toward the main characters- including the bullies to show why they are so evil. I could write a whole article about each of the characters’ backstories- that’s how detailed King is with his characters.

            So there are two plots that seem to weave in and out: the main plot is the kids in 1958 finding out about It and the other takes place 27 years later, when they are grown-ups coming back to Derry to take down It again. When they are younger they learn that when they are together it is harder for It to impersonate their greatest fears and they can easily take him down. This same tactic works when they are older. The way the book is structured you get to see them defeat It in both timelines by the end of the book.

            While the book is extremely interesting it did have some scenes that were not featured in either of the adaptations. After reading these gruesome sections (like a bully poisoning a dog and watching it die and the only female in the group of 12-year-olds having sex with the six boys in a continuous line) I can see why these were omitted form the screen.

How does the mini-series differ?

            The two-part mini-series was made for ABC Sunday (for families to watch) so they filtered a lot of King’s gore out of the story. This version is in chronological order, with the first part focusing on the children beating Pennywise and the second part telling how the adults do the same. While there is still a lot of bullying, the acts are not as brutal. Pennywise also seems tamer. There were scenes where he would talk be funny, not scary. This theme continues in the second part: there is a scene with happy dinner between the friends and another where two of the characters goof around on an old bike, both of which were not in the book. There seems to be fewer instances of kids dealing with adult topics in this adaptation, which is something the 2017 version is better at displaying. Overall the mini-series is true-to-the-source material even though it did not have great visual effects or acting.

How does the 2017 movie compare?

            First, is no one addressing that this adaptation came out 27 years after the mini-series? Creepy, just like this Pennywise. This is a far better adaptation of the book, because it includes more gore and returns to having the children deal with adult topics. For example: Beverly kills her own father as he tries to sexually abuse her. The Pennywise in this version is more nightmare inducing from his overall look. He is also in a bunch of jump scares, which have nothing wrong with them but I prefer emotional thrills. They were thrilling enough to still give me nightmares for two nights after viewing. I still prefer this version over the mini-series but this only told half the story. As the end credits roll we find out that this is only volume one so we get to see them grow up and battle Pennywise yet again.

         

Overall the adaptations are true to the story, only taking out extreme scenes that I would not expect to see in these movies due to their controversial nature. After watching the most recent movie I am excited to see how they adapt part two and I am certain it will also be a Blockbuster hit.

Rachael Lowe was born in northern Indiana (the Region) and was raised knowing she would be attending Purdue. As a third generation Boilermaker she is majoring in Agricultural Economics and minoring in Communications. Her passions are traveling, wine, and puppies. In her free time she likes to craft, paint, have a nice glass of moscato, watch movies with friends, and bake. When Rachael graduates in May of 2018 she plans on having as much fun as she did in college. Follow her on Instagram @rachael03
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