** Spoilers for both the new and the movie version of IT. **
Before I saw IT Chapter Two I made sense to consume as much content as possible for the project. This mostly meant the final ending of the romantic novel that inspired the movie. The novel contains interludes that are excerpts from Mike Hanlon's journal as he chronicles Derry's mysteries, both from his own childhood and from the events that haunt the city years before he or any of his friends were born. Derry seems to have always been cursed. These parts, told by Mike, were among my favorite parts of the novel.
Your mileage may vary in this regard, but in some films and projects the setting has to be just as much character as the real people inhabiting the story. , Derry, Maine is no exception. The city feels like an ancient entity, as monstrous as a clown hiding in a sewer. He and the people who live there are capable of just as much evil as Pennywise. And yet, for all the good work, Andy Musketti's adaptations of translating parts of screen history, he drops the ball on that particular element.
There is human evil in Derry and in IT and IT Chapter Two . The first movie features the monster Henry Bowers, as well as the second. He has a violent father of Bev, and later an equally cruel husband. She has Eddie's manipulative mother. The pharmacist who succumbs to teenager Bev. The homophobic gang that defeated Adrian Melon and his boyfriend. Evil is not limited to the clown, but to many of the people of Derry.
Nevertheless, Musketee is not so keen on exploring these characters as there are leprosy and headless guys and blood springs torturing losers. After all, Pennywise is the star of the show. But taking away the human element of Derry being evil, Muscovite misses that Peniuille not only feeds on children but also on the fear and hatred of a small town prone to violence beyond his actions.
In the novel, Pennywise's statements are told of malicious acts of violence perpetrated by humans. The murder of Adrian Melan in the novel should mean the return of Pennywise, because it is a hate crime. King quite literally chose to include this sequence because of a real hate crime committed in Maine that terrified him so much that he recorded it in his novel as a sign of a vicious, evil entity that feeds on the hatred of a small town for what is different. [1
The interludes of the novel include Mike recounting how his father (who is alive in the novel and who should have been alive in the movie) survived the burning of the Black Spot, a military club in Black. The racist cult, just steps away from the KKK, committed the crime, but eyewitness reports say the clown was there that night too. The event is a throwing line of dialogue between two children against the background of one scene. Previously, a gang of criminals known as the Bradley gang had been executed on a day by impatient, bloodthirsty citizens; this is reduced to a mural on the background of an alley scene.
These scenes need not be included as lightning bolts, but Musketry had to make them more present in the mind of the audience than they were. They are not Easter eggs, but rather key parts of understanding how He and Derry have endured a cycle of hatred and violence for years. That way there is a context for the brutality Adrian is confronted with and the scene wouldn't feel so rough and unnecessary in the actual movie. Derry must be as much a monster as Penirauli.
In the end, Derry must also be defeated in a sense. The novel ends with a monstrous storm in Derry when the losers confront it for the last time. The Derry Standpipe was destroyed and eventually rolled down a hill and destroyed much of the town itself. The city itself is devastated. In the end, Mushiyti decided to shorten that sequence, as only CGI would eat up the budget, even though Stephen King asked to be included. This is a decision that makes sense but also fits in. Like dying, so is Derry in some way. There is no easy answer to Derry's cruelty, except for the destruction and the characters who leave to find a better place elsewhere.
In the original scene of the mitzvah, which appeared on the DVD of the first movie (the scene was filmed for Chapter Two ), Stan actively calls for the indifference and cruelty of Derry's adults, ending with how Derry's scripture learns not to cheer. While the re-shoot scene that appears in Chapter Two is sweeter and fits better with the character of this movie, the first scene would actively highlight the way Derry's people are also vicious. After all, losers encounter more than just Pennywise during their time in Derry. They were all viciously harassed, harassed and mistreated, and all this happened at the hands of regular Derry citizens.
There are many things that must remain on the floor of the abbreviation when you adapt page 1153 of a book, even if it is split into two films. Mushiyti obviously wanted more than an exploration of the characters of the losers and an emphasis on Pennywise and her strange, cosmic evil, but by dropping the evil lurking in Derry, he misses what makes the novel so haunting. In addition, it affects many of the characters' stories, especially Mike, who is particularly underrated in the films. Mike should be the main character instead of Bill, but this is the bone I have to make with King.
Evil is sometimes worldly, and King's work with IT underlines this. While I'm not itching for a remake, in twenty or more years, if we're all still alive, perhaps the inevitable ministries / remake IT will go deep in the history of the city and give it the same villain as there is Pennywise. While I loved IT Chapter Two in general, this is one of my problems with adaptation, though I hope Muschietti's possible incision gives us a backstory that should haunt the final cut as well.
(image: Warner Bros)
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