If you see 'It Chapter 2', you should see it at a 4DX theater (Opry Mills in Nashville). And if there was ever a movie made for 4DX, it’s the latest movie in the horrific clown franchise.
First I’ll describe what 4DX is, and after that, my review of 'It Chapter 2'.
The people at 4DX wanted me to see what this theater experience is all about and offered me two tickets. Of course I took them, do you know me at all?! The 4DX experience is more like a ride you’d wait hours to experience at Disney World. The seats move sideways, up-and-down, back-and-forth, all perfectly synchronized with the movie you’re watching. When someone is running through a tunnel to get away from Pennywise, you feel like you’re going on that run yourself. If someone lands a punch in a fight scene, you might feel it with a jab to your back from inside your seat.
If it’s raining on screen, little bits of rain will fall on you and your seat. Luckily, you can turn that feature off with the flick of a switch. Wind can be felt in each side of your face. While my allergy stricken nose didn’t smell anything, scent is another thing synchronized theater to make you feel like you’re there.
I was especially intrigued at the warning that there would be 'ticklers'. Little wisps (of what felt like tassels) wriggled near your ankles. That was truly one of the best features for this movie. If spiders were crawling across the screen, you would feel little tiny slithering tickles at the backs of your legs.
The 4DX experience is a wild ride and like something you'd find in the most sophisticated haunted house ever. That’s why it was perfect for seeing the reprise of Pennywise the clown. It's a fun house movie.
Now on to the movie.
'It Chapter 2' picks up 27 years after the original story. Members of the losers club have a grown-up, mostly moved away from Derry, Maine. They've individually become successful, and have completely forgotten how they had to kill a clown to save their lives and the entire town.
But Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) has stayed in their hometown and kept an eye on things. When Pennywise the clown returns, he contacts the losers and brings them all back (for the most part) so they can fulfill their promise made as children: to kill the Pennywise forever.
They did a pretty masterful job casting these kids all-grown-up, getting the likes of Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and the man who' having a moment (deservedly so), Bill Hader. They do a decent job with the script they’re given. I'd hate to see what this would have been like with lesser actors.
But the script is a hot mess. We're forced to sit through stories of what happened to each character in the 27 year lapse since Pennywise first came around. Then each must separately discover and bring back a special object from their past to perform a special ritual to kill Pennywise. It’s as if the makers of 'Chapter 2' wanted to make a 12 episode Netflix series and go deep with each character. But this is a movie you sit down to see once. Better pee before it starts.
This movie is, for the most part, jump scares. That’s lazy storytelling. There’s severe plot holes and logic behind the existence of Pennywise in the attempts to kill him. "It's not real, it's just in your head" they yell 50% of the time. The other half of their encounters result in real death. Like really dead, a child's head bitten off kind of dead.
There is one scene that chills without jump scares (OK, there's a few). It's a wonderfully dreadful encounter Beverly (Chastain) has with an old woman as they have tea.
Myself and those around me, found ourselves saying get on with it! This movie is about three hours long, but feels like five. And with a movie that has a running gag about someone who doesn’t know how to end a story, it felt like this movie didn’t know how to end a story.
Spoiler ahead. If you haven’t seen the movie, or read the Book, stop reading now.
After all the bloodshed and nonsense, the way they kill Pennywise seems foolish, unbelievable, and like something out of a Disney Channel movie. We're expected to believe, after all this time and bloodshed, saying mean things to Pennywise will destroy him. Members of the Losers have to become bullies to defeat the world's most dangerous clown.
Well I guess it’s like the movie 'The Interview' With Seth Rogen and James Franco. In the words of Kim Jong-un...
Give me a freakin break.
'It Chapter 2' gets a 5 out 10.