My review of It II: Attack of the Old Movie Clichés
Welcome to Derry, Maine, a town where only Stephen King speaks with a Maine accent. I’d say spoilers alert if there were anything worth spoiling. Perhaps you’ve seen It Number One? That was the movie where the kids of the 1980s fight a killer clown. Not scary at all, but fun characters and good acting. The film ends with a set-up for the sequel, where the characters promise themselves they’ll come back and fight the again in 27 years if the clown comes back and if the original movie makes enough money for the studio to produce a sequel.
The second It does have a few more startling sequences, but nothing that justifies watching people in their 40s fight a mysterious clown/demon of extremely confusing providence. I’ll skip all of the probing criticism I have of this alleged movie and get straight to the main flaw: The film is rife with old movie tropes we thought we had finally outgrown. Namely:
- Loyal Black Friend to an otherwise all-white cast.
- Single female member of an ensemble of men.
- Grown characters have found partners who remind them of their terrible parents, as is, you know, always the case due to psychology. So, hilariously the mamma’s boy ends up with a wife whom he accidentally calls “Mom,” and, less hilariously, the woman ends up with an abusive partner just like her father (before discovering the love of the awkward boy who had always loved her).
- Mysterious ethnic Indians living outside of town who know the true (though incomprehensible to me) demonic secret origin of the ancient demon-space-clown and how to kill it.
- Being gay is still something to hide and be beaten up or killed for.
- Gay couple has to be killed, and closeted gay character has to have the love of his life killed because we live in a world where that sort of love is tragically impossible. But, straight guys get to compete over female love interest and hero man gets hero woman in the end.
- Scary abandoned haunted house on the outskirts of town? Check.
- Constant struggle about having to stay together because you are strong as a group and vulnerable alone? Check.
- Childhood stuttering comes back when adult is scared, and goes away again in time for the endless denouement.
- Monster has to be re-killed after characters thought they had already killed it and idiotically turn their backs on it (apparently none of the characters had watched any Stephen King movies in the intervening years since the first It).
In conclusion, the original It was cute and should have ended with the characters talking the creature out of existence so we wouldn’t have to watch them do it as adults. If you want to see good killer clown movie, watch Killer Klowns from Outer Space. It’s got a great soundtrack.
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