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Bill Hader is a National Treasure. His portrayal of the grown Richie “Trashmouth” Tozier was the glue that held this film together.
Not to say that it was falling apart by any means, but the second half of the film was missing the the taut tension of the first. By the time it came time for the group to hunt Pennywise, I wanted them to just get it fucking over with already.
Overall, the casting was very, VERY good. Not only were excellent actors selected, but the actors chosen were physically and tonally similar to their young counterparts. The only one that I had a bit of disconnect with was Ben Hanscom, but that might just be because I loved John Ritter’s portrayal so much.
People LOVE to bitch about how the movies don’t measure up to the book – I’ve been guilty as well. I’m not even mad about the pluses and minuses to the story for the film adaptation, except for a single detail – Ben’s story. I loved the tiny revenges in his story and was looking forward to hearing it. I also loved the callbacks to the TV version, including my all-time favorite line, “Kiss me, fat boy.”
Speaking of details from the book, I was shocked that the film started off with the story of Adrian Mellon. Adrian’s brutal assault is more gut wrenching and hard to watch than any of Pennywise’s attacks. Wait, except for Spider-Stan – I did NOT enjoy that fucking creepfest AT ALL.
Throughout the film, one of the running gags was giving Bill Denbrough shit about not being able to write a decent ending, also a common criticism of Stephen King (I tend to agree, although it gives me a chuckle to remember how he circumvented this criticism in the Dark Tower series.) I was fully prepared for the digs to be a set-up for changing the ending here…and I wasn’t disappointed. As convoluted as the book ending was, and as ridiculous as the TV version ending was, it wasn’t hard to improve upon. I feel like the screenwriters got it right here, and gave a more philosophical and proper end to the film.
Like the first film, we also bought this one on DVD – it’s worth owning. I’m also looking forward to checking out the special features and behind-the-scenes stuff.