It (1990)

The 1990 adaptation of “It” does quite a neat job of maintaining the book’s non-linear structure coherently. Some of the excluded segments from the book are lamentable, but the majority are sensible changes, and the characters all come through just fine.

Tim Curry’s performance as It is a particular delight, narrowing down on the seductive goofiness, and leaving the mystical terror to the special effects near the end. Some members of the main cast do particularly good work (both Jonathan Brandis and Richard Thomas do great work as the different iterations of Bill, and Tim Reid anchors the more difficult present-day storyline well), but there’s some expected spotiness between the disparate depictions of them.

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The strength of the story and the abbreviated adaptation transcend the production values and made-for-TV quality, and make for a strong, enjoyable adaptation of one of Stephen King’s most definitive works. The pacing sags, as expected, but it was surely a tricky book to adapt. I give it three coats of wax, and a balloon.

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