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IT (2017) Movie Review – Pennywise the Dancing Clown

IT 2017 Review

 

Pennywise the Dancing Clown

Pennywise: Hi Georgie!
[pause] Pennywise: What a nice boat. Do you want it back?
Georgie: Um… Yes, please.
Pennywise: You look like a nice boy, I bet you have a lot of friends.
Georgie: Three… but my brother is my best’s best.
Pennywise: Where is he?
Georgie: In bed. Sick.
Pennywise: I bet I can cheer him up! I’ll give him a balloon. Do you want a balloon too, Georgie?
Georgie: I’m not supposed to take stuff from strangers.
Pennywise: Oh! Well, I’m Pennywise, the dancing clown. “Pennywise?”. “Yes?”, “Meet Georgie”. “Georgie, meet Pennywise”.[Georgie laughs] Pennywise: Now we aren’t strangers. Are we?
Georgie: What are you doing in the sewer?
Pennywise: A storm blew me away. Blew the whole circus away.
[laughs] Pennywise: Can you smell the circus, Georgie? There are peanuts… cotton candy… hot dogs… and…
Georgie: Popcorn?
Pennywise: POPCORN! Is that your favourite?
Georgie: Aha.
Pennywise: Mine too!
[laughs] Pennywise: Because they pop! Pop, pop! Pop, pop! Pop, pop, pop!
[both laugh] Pennywise: [pause] Georgie: Hum… I should get going, now.
Pennywise: Oh! Without your boat? You don’t wanna lose it Georgie. Bill’s gonna kill you! Here. Take it.
[pause] Pennywise: Take it, Georgie.

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When Georgie tries to get back his little boat from Pennywise, the clown bites off half of Georgie’s hand. What follows is a two-hour journey where every now and then there is the fear of being chased and getting killed by this apparently simple looking clown.

Before I get into how the novel is adapted and how it has effected audiences globally, it is very important to note that director Andrés Muschietti has very carefully used the horror element in the entire film. With the emerging genre of horror in Hollywood that notably began with James Wan’s filmography, most horror films follow the foolproof method  of jump scare sequences and a suspense factor in which the storyline finally reveals the entire plot or motive behind terrorising seizures!

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‘It’ very carefully and consciously avoids the edge-of-the-seat jump sequences while keeping the horror element intact in the entire movie. One of the most important aspects is the work of cinematographer, Chung-hoon Chung where he uses unconventional shots to make the audience feel the tension and fear without actually showing the demonic presence. Mostly because unlike in most horror movies, the idea behind the fear of It is not a human or doll possessed by an evil entity. The fear factor of ‘It’ is derived from the darkest and deepest fears of the seven children in Derry.

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The director has consciously picked up the part from the novel (the novel mentions ‘It’ as an entity that exists in macroverse) where ‘It’ dressed as Pennywise starts to feed off from the fear of the seven children. The children have their own problems such as abusive parents or one who is new in the town and has no friends. They befriend each other and together open the “The Loser Club” (because of a senior student called Henry Bowers who bullied them and called them losers).

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While there have been many debates in the past over why the entity named ‘It’ takes the form of Pennywise the dancing clown, it is to be noted that children have an innate fear of clowns ( popularly known as Coulrophobia). Now clowns while are intended to amuse people and make them laugh, sometimes it triggers an opposite reaction and completely scares people away. The unusually colored dress along with the make-up and uncanny laugh to every reaction make children fear the clowns most.

The movie is about how the children overcome their fear of  ‘It’ and going inside the sewers of Derry to get rid of it. The final sequence shows Pennywise taking different forms to scare the children but finally gets defeated when the children realise that fear is what gives ‘It’ strength.

The end credits show the name as ‘It: Chapter One” which indicates that there will be a sequel possibly 27 years when the entity will return.

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About the author

Arijit Paul

A self-professed Satyajit Ray fan, Arijit is one of those rare cinephiles who has an unconventional notion of Films. An admirer of auteurs like Kurosawa, Bergman and Scorsese alike, Arijit hopes that one day he will be able to bring a new wave in Indian cinema. Apart from films, he finds life in literature, music and traveling. His blogs are likely to be the most unprejudiced view on whatever topic he decides to write on.

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