Blu-ray Review: It: Chapter Two

By , Contributor
It rocked a whole lot of people's worlds when it dominated the box office in fall 2017. Aside from Stranger Things' Finn Wolfhard, most of its young cast were unknowns. And they all delivered compelling portraits of tween angst, especially Sophia Lillis as the sole female member of the so-called "Loser's Club." The kids of Derry, Maine are all haunted by Pennywise the Dancing Clown (played spectacularly by Tim Curry in the older, made-for-TV adaptation, though almost as chillingly here by Bill Skarsgård). The first It was funny, touching, scary (at times, though not as much as one might expect from a Stephen King adaptation).

Two years later we have It: Chapter Two, now available on Blu-ray via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (also 4K UltraHD, standard DVD, and Digital HD). The kids of Derry's "Loser's Club" have grown up and apart. The adults are played by a star-studded cast that includes Jessica Chastain as Beverly, James McAvoy as Bill (never recovered from the loss of his kid brother Georgie), Bill Hader as Richie, among other lesser-known faces. Guess what? The adults reunite—Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) is the only one who remained in Derry; his tireless research to uncover the town's secrets render him a plot device rather than a character—and once again must face It, aka Pennywise (Skarsgård returns, though too sparingly).

What unfolds (verrrrry slowly thanks to an indulgent 169-minute running time) is essentially the same story as what we saw the first time around. So it's less scary, less surprisingly, less nostalgia-inspiring (it ain't the mid-'80s anymore), and the adult cast doesn't do anything we wouldn't expect of seasoned pros (one exception: James Ransone is letter-perfect as the adult version of hypochondriac Eddie). Sure, there are a few additional traits. One character might or might not be in the closet, another is involved in a dangerous domestic violence situation.

But these concerns are all handled clumsily and generally given short shrift as we watch them all go through pretty much the same paces as the kids did in the first. And flashback-oriented cameos by all the original stars only serves to remind of how fun and fresh the first film was.

The new Blu-ray offers up a pair of relatively in-depth featurettes that together make up a 75-minute documentary ("The Summers of It" chapters one and two). There are an additional three shorter featurettes running less than ten minutes each, plus director's commentary (Andy Muschietti. who also helmed the first part but couldn't figure out how to make lightning strike twice).

It: Chapter Two is watchable, though too long, unfocused, and unoriginal. A few moments (the adults reuniting at a Chinese restaurant is freaky and funny in a way that recalls the best of the first film) hint at a better movie had the pacing been tightened and great actors like Chastain and McAvoy been given more to do.


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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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