Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. /USA, . , , , , . Screenplay by , based on the novel It by . Cinematography by . Produced by , , . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .
Almost three decades after the incidents of the surprisingly good (and incredibly successful) first film, the Losers Club is reunited in Derry when Mike ( ), the one member of their group who never left town, calls his childhood friends and tells them that they need to return home. They all knew when they vanquished the evil Pennywise as children that he would eventually be wreaking havoc on Derry again, and they vowed to return and finish destroying the big bad clown when he did. The trouble is that leaving Derry did something to all their memories and, as adults, none of them really know why they have come back until being in their old neighbourhoods suddenly floods them with memories of school bullies, abusive dads and the monster child killer that almost got them all. Pennywise is happy to bring them up to speed, causing hallucinations that take them back to their youth while helping himself to the blood and brains of Derry’s present-day children, and the now-grown Losers work hard to get through their traumas in order to figure out how to get rid of him once and for all. Director Andy Muschietti brings the same level of high production value to the second half of this adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 bestseller (the author makes a cameo here) but there’s little he can do to make up for the fact that it’s by far the less interesting of the two entries. Turning what was a framing narrative in the book into its own separate film turns out to be a bad idea, there are too many sequences that feel like they’re just there to kill time (how many sea creatures could possibly jump out of that restaurant table before they realize what’s going on), but it does benefit from excellent casting of terrific actors who match their younger counterparts beautifully, especially as the grown and as the older ( on the other hand, looked like he was going to grow into someone way taller than ). The kids got to do a lot more last time, though, their story had them going on adventures and doing research in libraries before finally facing the bad guy at the end; with all their efforts out of the way, the sequel just forces us to watch their adult selves brood before an overlong, overly complicated finale that answers absolutely none of the questions you might have about what this evil is and where it came from (the indigenous cultural connection acts like it’s explaining a lot but it feels quite hazy). Were you to stick solely to the first part, you’d be doing yourself no harm.