Stephen King’s It

I’ve been revisiting Stephen King books, and then when I’m done a title, I like to take a look at the accompanying film, or mini-series.

I recently finished King’s epic book It. I haven’t read that since I was a teen, probably 13 or 14. I used to make sure that my Mom got King’s new book in hardcover every Xmas. She read it, and then I would get my hands on it. Let me tell you lugging that big heavy book around, along with all my school books… I must’ve really liked it.

And re-reading it, it’s still just as much fun as I remember it. Much like the adults coming back to Derry, parts of the story would come back to me as I read it, as their past was unveiled for them, I would recall it as well; and while It may no longer be my favourite King book, that honor falls to 11/22/63, it’s still in my top 5.

I ate it up, King has such a handle on writing his characters. He makes the children’s world and the adults world come to life with a vivid detail that always allows me to see his books in my head like a movie.

Maybe that’s why, on revisiting the mini-series I was a bit disappointed.

I spent the last couple of weeks back in Derry, walking the streets of both 1958 and 1985, racing around on Silver, reading comic books, dodging bullies, and facing the physical incarnation of fear…

And she’s a bitch.

There are so many moments, scenes, and bits of dialogue that I love…

Almost none of them made it into the mini-series. I know, I know, compressing a 1100 page book into a three-hour mini-series – you’re gonna lose stuff in the translation, but with only three hours, the film rushes it. Our seven young kids are thrown together so quickly, instead of taking its time, that it seems no just coincidental, but completely contrived.

There’s no real emotional hook in the film, you aren’t given a chance to get to know the characters, know not only their fears, but the different things they bring to the Losers’ Club, their friendships…

Not to mention the history of Derry, all the back story, all the previous recurrences of It, or Pennywise, throughout its history. I would have loved to have seen the Black Spot, seen a young Dick Halloran before he went to work at the Overlook, the massacres, the destruction of the factory…

So I think that it’s time to perhaps bring the book to the screen again. But maybe this time take a page from HBO’s work on the Game of Thrones series, don’t confine it to 3 hours, make it an epic, season long event.

I would love to see a more faithful adaptation, taking it’s time, setting things up, building the relationships, the scares, the story. I’m a little stuck on how they might do the Turtle, but there are a couple of ideas toying in my head on that one too.

I think it’s a fantastic idea, especially on one of the cable stations, like HBO, FX or the like, somewhere that they don’t have to worry about language or violence, and they could tell the whole story.

And if one book does well, what’s to say they couldn’t adapt another, and another, bringing all of King’s library to life on the small screen in a way it hasn’t been seen before.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are things I quite like about the mini-series adaptation of It, I think the casting of the kids was almost bang on – especially Jonathan Brandis as Bill, Seth Green as Richie and Brandon Crane as Ben. I quite liked Annette O’Toole as Beverly, John Ritter as Ben and Tim Meadows as Mike Hanlon, but more often than not, I though a lot of the characters were interchangeable because there wasn’t enough character development for them.

Tim Curry is always good, he’s Tim Curry and his Pennywise is probably the character given the most to do, but his character and its motivation is kind of lacking as well, in the book, each of them has an encounter with It, but actually escape from It. In this, it seems quite happy to pop up and tease the children and only kill the ones that don’t have large parts in the screenplay.

I do hope it gets put on the screen again… somebody at HBO see this and get to work on it will you? I’d be happy to help out!

Have you seen It recently, read,or re-read the book? What did you think?

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