In an era of Hollywood defined by remakes and reboots, it’s easy for audiences to disregard the originals that made them possible. While reboots certainly hold their value in adapting a classic story for a modern audience, the original 1990 version of “It” holds its own and even exceeds in some categories compared to the modern remakes.
The original, on-screen adaptation of Steven King’s classic novel was initially released as a two-part mini-series before being combined into one long movie. This format allowed the story to be properly stretched out to explore its characters and plot’s depth.
The plot may seem simple upon first glance. How complicated can a demon clown terrorizing a group of people both as children and as adults be, right? King takes the concept and uses it as a background for a coming of age story that shows how childhood trauma can follow people into adulthood and how despite differences in upbringing and social status, you will always find a deep camaraderie with those who went through it as well.
The original 1990 adaptation captures this magic in near perfection. While the reboots opted to separate the storylines, the original choice to interweave narratives between the child and adult versions of the same characters proved to be the better storytelling method. It provided for better juxtaposition and emphasized the themes of the entire story.
The original “It” does have its shortcomings. Most of the cast is solid but generally forgettable; however, Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise makes up for it with his show-stealing, iconic performance. The visual effects were also just not ready to properly depict this story back in 1990. “It” had to rely on its exceptional storytelling to make up for lost ground.
Overall, while the remakes are excellent and deserve their praise, the original 1990 version of “It” is an iconic piece of horror cinema that should not be ignored.
Filmnetic Grade: A-