Stephen King's It Reviews
IT (1990) takes its time to develop each character and situation in the town of Derry, Maine. Unfortunately, this means it moves at a slow pace to get us to a disappointing finale with an oddly dated special effects creature with some ridiculous claymation. However, all the horror and drama before this point is pretty well done.
The half with the children is gripping, frightening, and sympathetic. You feel the terror these kids face. Meanwhile, the adult portion is slow and dull with few memorable parts. At least the direction from Tommy Lee Wallace is fantastically thought out. The plot moves seamlessly from adults to children and back again. The shots are so creative just like the practical effects. Some look dated, while much of the blood and scares catch me off guard still. Thanks to Wallace's direction, IT feels haunting at all times with the weight of this horror story on the shoulders of these characters.
Notably, the kids are just better actors than the adults. Jonathan Brandis was so wonderful and inspired as young Bill. His monologue deciding to take on IT is phenomenal acting for such a young man. He was born to play Bill in this miniseries. Similarly, Emily Perkins is adorable and lovable as young Beverly. You feel so bad for her as she's so tiny and timid facing off horrid adults and bullies alike. She gives Beverly an instant sympathy. Likewise, Brandon Crane is young Ben with a sincerity and likability that feels quite natural to his portly stature. Seth Green is very funny as young Richie and little Adam Faraizl is great as young Eddie. Lastly, Marlon Taylor and Ben Heller are book accurate as young Mike and Stan, respectively.
On the other hand, the adult performances and casting are wildly hit or miss. Richard Thomas looks weird, but plays Bill with a realistic bravery and stutter. He is easily one of the best parts of the adult Loser's Club members. Dennis Christopher is so naturally shy and weak as the adult Eddie that he comes across as true to the character. I really like his performance. Also Tim Reid is mature and thoughtful as the adult Mike so much so he carries his narrator role with a serious tone.
Then, John Ritter is just so bland and milquetoast as adult Ben. He doesn't feel in place among these frightened actors. He even starts to feel creepy at times with moments that are supposed to appear intimate. Annette O'Toole is oddly dull to miserably overacting at times as adult Beverly. It's too bad as there are moments wherein she shines, but overall she is forgettable. Harry Anderson is enjoyable as adult Richie up to a point. He goes overboard and never shuts up to the point of ruining the mood. Richard Masur is okay as adult Stan, but feels miscast all the same.
I must mention the real star of IT. Tim Curry is hilarious and unsettling as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Curry's take on IT is essentially being menacing and mean to the children, then cruel and monstrous to the adults. His jokes are funny and hit every time. His movements feel like a clown's and his vocal manipulations are stellar and varied. Curry is certainly the performance you'll remember from IT. While I personally do not find him scary the whole time, I'm sure someone more afraid of clowns will be shaken by Curry's performance.
Give IT an afternoon or night to haunt you. It will stay with you regardless of how dated a few aspects are now.