The First Official Trailer for the big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s IT dropped yesterday. We have seen a film adaptation before of King’s IT, but it was a made for TV movie. It’s average at best, elevated by a creepy performance by Tim Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Without further ado, here’s the trailer:
Now, let me put my money on the table first. Stephen King’s IT is one of my favourite books of all-time (click here for my review!). The TV move left a lot to be desired (click here for my review!). When the rumours of another adaptation of the novel were floating about some years ago, I hoped that it would be adapted into a TV series. The book is epic, in the true sense of the word. The TV movie had to drop a lot of the sub-plots to squeeze the book into three hours. A TV series could have done the book proper justice by having the time to fit everything in (I feel the same about The Dark Tower). Of course, I’m waiting to be proven wrong here. This big screen adaptation may do the book (or at least, the 1950s portion of it) justice.
“You’ll float too”
There’s not a lot of difference between this and the first two teasers trailers. There are a few new moments (like the kid walking through a room full of clown dolls). The over-arching story of something strange about the town of Derry is also pointed at. However, for those not familiar with the story, there’s still a sense of mystery about the film. That’s always a good thing! In an era where trailers explain the entire plot of a film, having a few hints thrown at you is a great tease. There’s just enough story to savour, but plenty left out to keep you guessing.
Now, there’s a hell of a lot of jump scares in this trailer. We’ll know to expect them in the full film, which will make them less effective. Jump scares do not a horror movie make, but I can’t judge on the effectiveness of the horror just by this trailer alone. However, the final montage in the trailer looks like a medley of recognisable yet terrifying nightmares. The book is steeped in fear and terror. IT feeds on fear. I won’t spoil anything more than that, but I was spooked by the book on first reading (and it still spooks me, even now). You may remember the jump scares from a horror movie, but if there’s true horror in the film, that’s what will keep you up at night. I hope the film is a horror in the most definite sense of the word.
“Here, take it”
And the horror lies in Pennywise the Dancing Clown. We’ve only seen Pennywise in the teaser trailers. This time, we hear him. Two words are not enough to judge a performance on. However, they sounded like someone hoping to be menacing, rather than someone being menacing. I hate to do this, but I can’t help but compare Bill Skarsgård’s performance to that of Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise in the TV movie. Curry looked like a perfectly innocent clown, and that’s what made his menace all the more terrifying. Now, I know it’s wrong to judge a character by a previous incarnation. Just look at those people who spewed venom about Heath Ledge being cast as The Joker. Some of them must have had Jack Nicolson’s Joker in mind when they voiced their reservations. But Ledger’s Joker gave us something completely different (and downright incredible). But is there much room for interpretation of Pennywise the Dancing Clown as there was for The Joker?
I don’t think so. The big screen approach to IT seems very similar to the TV movie approach. They are both splitting the book into two parts: the children’s story, and their story 20-odd years later. Part 2 isn’t inevitabile, however. What if Part 1 flops at the box office? But that’s a conversation for a different time. Back to Skarsgård’s interpretation of Pennywise. We haven’t seen enough to judge his actual performance, but what about his costume and makeup? For my taste, it looks far too creepy. The beauty of Curry’s Pennywise was that he looked like a normal clown. Kids love clowns! But what kid would go to a clown that looked like Skarsgård’s Pennywise? They’d run the other way!
Of course, we’ll have to wait and see about Skarsgård’s Pennywise. And the film itself. There seems to be enough of the original novel in there to be a more fitting adaptation than the TV movie. There’s only a few more months to wait…
What was your reaction to the trailer for Stephen King’s IT? Leave your comments below!