Stephen King's IT DVD Review

Written by Steve Pattee

DVD released by Warner Bros.

Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace
Written by Lawrence D. Cohen and Tommy Lee Wallace, based on the novel by Stephen King
1990, Region 1 (NTSC), 192 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on October 1st, 2002

Starring:
Harry Anderson as Richard 'Trashmouth' Tozier
Dennis Christopher as Eddie Kaspbrak
Richard Masur as Stanley Uris
Annette O'Toole as Beverly Marsh Rogan
Tim Reid as Michael Hanlon
John Ritter as Benjamin Hascom
Richard Thomas as William 'Stuttering Bill' Denbrough
Tim Curry as Robert 'Bob' Gray / Pennywise the Dancing Clown / It

Movie:

There is something evil in Derry and it's killing kids.

The Loser's Club. Seven kids, each with their own problem.

The Stutterer, the Fat boy, the Black kid, the Jewish kid, the abused girl, the hypochondriac and the loud mouth.

These outcasts will bond together to fight the most evil clown to hand out balloons, Pennywise. IT.

Aside from being in the Loser's Club, these seven have something else in common; Each has had a run-in with Pennywise, the Clown, and survived. No small feat.

In 1958, George Denbrough is brutually murdered. "Stuttering" Bill Denbrough begs the rest of the members of the special club to help him find and kill the monster that ripped his brother's arm from his socket.

The kids must face their worst nighmares as they descend into the sewers under Derry. They not only face their own demons, they face The Demon. The Demon that has been around for longer than anyone can remember, or choose to remember, and they defeat it. Or so they think...

30 years ago, seven kids stopped a monster from killing. They thought they killed it. They were wrong.

Now it's 30 years later and the kids are now adults. They are all called back to Derry to live up to a promise they made when they were children. IT's back and IT wants revenge.

Review:

Show of hands, who hates clowns?

I remember when this mini-series was first aired on television in 1990. I remember the excitement and anticipation of waiting for the night to finally come when I got to see "IT" for the first time. I was not disappointed.

Now, 12 years later, I still enjoy this mini-series. It has lost some of it's magic for me over the years, but there are still parts of it that give me the chills (for instance, the very beginning when we first see Pennywise between the sheets, so to speak).

Tommy Wallace does the best job I could expect from what he had to work with. The novel is almost 1200 pages. The mini-series is just over three hours. So Tommy had the job of shoving in 400 pages per hour. That's a tough thing to do. I admit, the book is better then the mini-series by miles and there are a ton of things that should have been added. But on the whole, it is an enjoyable movie because I never expected it to be as good as the book.

First, the best of the best, Tim Curry as Pennywise. Tim Curry's portrayal of the most evil of clowns not only lived up to but exceeded my expectations. Pennywise is flat-out scary. Curry's facial expressions in some scenes are brilliant and I don't believe they could have picked a better actor to play the killer clown.

Next, the kids. The kids who played the young members of the Loser's Club were as good as the actors who played them as adults. The young Loser's Club is made up by a pretty good group of young actors with a few stand-outs.

Jonathan Brandis (Side Kicks, Harts War), Emily Perkins (Ginger Snaps, Insomnia), Brandon Crane (TV's "The Wonder Years") and last, but by no means least, Seth Green ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer", Austin Powers) stood out like a neon light with their on-screen presence. It was fun seeing this movie for the first time in 12 years and recognizing these guys from their later work.

Also, the adults were well cast. Well, all except for Richard 'John Boy' Thomas and Harry Anderson. The former I could never see people following him anywhere, much less the sewers to potential death. The latter, Harry Anderson, is just annoying. I wish I could remember if I found him as annoying when I first saw IT, but I can't. My guess would be yes, though. At points, he's hard to watch.

The only problem I really have with the movie is how it's filmed. All of the parts involving the kids is shot like a flashback sequence. I know it's because part of the problem was the adults didn't remember everything at once, but I think it would have worked better if the first half of the movie was the kids' story and the second half was the adults' story. All in all though, it's not that big of a deal.

Video and Audio:

The picture is not nearly as crisp as I would like. It has some grain and a few spots. However, IT was made for television over a decade ago, so you take what you can get. IT appears in matted widescreen (enhanced for widescreen televisions). Since it is matted, I looked for things that may have been cropped, but I didn't notice anything. I actually prefer it matted.

Stephan King's IT is presented with English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. I did not hear any cracks or hisses while watching the movie.

English, French and Spanish subtitles are available.

Special Features:

  • Commentary by Dennis Christopher, Tim Reid, John Ritter, Richard Thomas and Tommy Lee Wallace (Director).

Although it wasn't mentioned, it appears that Christoher, Reid, and Ritter were in the same room when the commentary was recorded. It sounds like Thomas and Wallace were by themselves when they recorded their commentary.

Dennis Christopher, Tim Reid and John Ritter do a pretty good commentary. They really didn't provide a lot of useful information, but they worked really well together and at parts it was similar to an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. You could tell these guys really liked working with each other.

Richard Thomas appears here and there throughout the commentary, but for the most part he doesn't really have anything interesting to say.

Tommy Lee Wallace's commentary is rather 'blah'. He mostly points out things as they happen on the screen. "Here is where they go in the sewers." "Here is where we first see Pennywise." Thanks Tommy, but I'm not blind. There are a few tidbits here and there, but I found myself waiting to hear from Dennis, Tim, and John.

Grades:

Movie: Grade Cover
Cover
Cover
Video: Grade
Audio: Grade
Features: Grade
Overall: 4 Star Rating

 

 

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About The Author
Steve Pattee
Author: Steve Pattee
Administrator, US Editor
He's the puppet master. You don't see him, but he pulls the strings that gets things done. He's the silent partner. He's black ops. If you notice his presence, it's the last thing you'll notice — because now you're dead. He's the shadow you thought you saw in that dark alleyway. You can have a conversation with him, and when you turn around to offer him a cup of coffee, he's already gone.
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