No doubt cashing in on the release of the theatrical version of this Stephen King blockbuster, the SPIKE network recently showed this four-hour made-for-TV version. The book was well over 1000 pages, and I couldn’t help wondering how the new movie was going to compress all that story into a little over two hours. The answer was simple: They didn’t. The book has two basic parts, following a group of seven children in the town of Derry, Maine (without question the most monster-ridden spot in the entire universe), as they battle and defeat an evil clown called Pennywise, and then thirty years later when they have to come back and fight him again. This new movie is just Part One, about the children. Since it is well on its way to making a billion dollars, there will certainly be Part Two. And to me, this is a hell of a rip-off. If it’s It: Part One, they should damn well say so.
Okay, I won’t see that one until the DVD comes out. What about this one? It’s a lot better than I expected. It was originally intended to be ten hours over five nights, but ABC chickened out. Big mistake! It was a ratings smash hit, and they could easily have made much more money if they had stretched it out. Actually no stretching would have been needed, there was plenty of story there. So what happened was they had to do a lot of cutting.
The stuff they kept is well done. The kids are all pretty good, and when they return they are played by people like Harry Anderson, John Ritter, and Richard Thomas. But the star is Tim Curry as the clown. He is very, very good, totally creepy. Whoever is playing him in 2017 has big, big shoes to fill. I mean, all clowns have big shoes, right? But these are even bigger!
It only comes a cropper at the very end, but it’s a really huge cropper. The clown is only an aspect of the real evil being that lives in the sewers. What It really is, when we finally see It … is some totally lame and actually pretty funny kind of giant crab being. I am very sorry to say that It reminded me of what I still think is the lamest movie monster I ever saw, the hilarious “bat-rat-spider” from The Angry Red Planet in 1959. My friends and I, and everyone at the Saturday matinee in Port Neches, Texas, laughed our asses off at that one. Sadly, I almost had to laugh at this one, too. I hope the movie does It better.