It's time to float as Warner Bros. IT arrives on blu-ray, bringing the terror of Pennywise into your home and though it doesn't have much in terms of bonus features, the movie is still worth the price. Come inside to check out my full review!
Everyone knows that horror movies aren't my thing...like at all. I'm a big chicken, but despite that I've reviewed quite a few horror titles over the years thanks to my scary movie-loving girlfriend. That said, I am a big fan of Stephen King's stories and found myself excited to watch IT when it arrived in theaters last year. The film was surprisingly great and managed to take all the best things from King's massive novel and present them in a cohesive manner and bring quite a bit of heart along with it.
There are still plenty of scary moments, but the story and characters are what keep you engaged throughout. The film doesn't just rely on simple jumpscares for its thrills either. Sure, there are a few in there that gets the heart racing, but it uses the themes and imagery to scare you on a mental level. You'll be thinking about some of the scenes long after the credits roll. While this was a great aspect to the film in theaters, it's important when it comes to the blu-ray. It ensures that multiple viewings still have the same "punch" and impact on your even when you've memorized the timing of the jumpscares.
Beyond the scare factor is a story about a group of kids trying to survive something that shouldn't even exist. Their parents are no help, and the town itself seems unwilling to deal with the horrors despite knowing about it. This coming of age goes beyond defeating the terrifying clown, Pennywise, and is more about dealing with the idea that they're on their own. The adults aren't coming to save them and are only making things worse.
All the young actors do an incredible job of bringing their book counterparts to life. They come off as both natural and nuanced, bringing the characters to life in a realistic way despite the supernatural events. Bill Skarsgård's new take on Pennywise is unnerving in the best ways possible. Moments that could easily come off as goofy, are instead terrifying and sold entirely by his performance.
In short, there are a great number of ways that IT could have fallen apart. Between the great acting, the tight script, and some gorgeous cinematography we're left with one of the best big screen Stephen King adaptations around. It's still a horror movie, yes, but it's story goes beyond that and has plenty to say for all audiences (if you can handle it).
The film alone is worth the cost of blu-ray as it's something that works well upon multiple viewings. With a sequel on the way, tackling the other half of the novel (when they're adults), there are plenty of minute details worth going back to look for. Things that will more than likely come back into play for the next film.
Sight and Sound
IT is a very good looking movie. The cinematography is incredible and there's a lot of art put into the visual design of the film. From Pennywise's lair, to the washed out, nostalgic approach to the town of Derry, everything is treated with the utmost care. The blu-ray transfer manages to highlight all of this and present it in the best quality possible.
The image is sharp and the blacks are deep without crushing (important since there are plenty of darker tones throughout the film). The sound is given the similar treatment, with the surround sound doing a great job of highlighting all the nuanced noise spread throughout the soundtrack. So much of what keeps the tension high throughout the film are the small sound effects, things skittering in the empty house, perfectly timed creaks, all of which designed to keep you on the edge of your seat. The blu-ray soundtrack does a great job of keeping these intact without feeling drowned out by the rest of the audio.
Everything is given proper prioritization, which is fairly par for the course when it comes to Warner Bros. releases. From a technical standpoint, there were no issues with the IT blu-ray, and everything works as it's supposed to in order to enhance an already great movie.
Compared to some of the other recent blu-ray releases, even from WB's own films, the bonus features included on the disc seem sparse:
· Pennywise Lives! - Discover how Bill Skarsgård prepared to portray the primordial creature known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown
· The Losers’ Club - Get up close and personal with the teenage stars of “IT” as they bond together during the production,
· Author of Fear - Stephen King reveals the roots of his best-selling novel, the nature of childhood fear and how he created his most famous monster, Pennywise
· Deleted Scenes – Eleven deleted or extended scenes from the film
The deleted scenes are fun to flip through and see what could have been, with only a couple I would have loved to see included in the final version of the movie. On the whole, however, it's easy to see why certain things were cut, especially considering the tight narrative the film focuses on. The featurettes give interesting insight into how the new cast prepared for these roles and the Stephen King feature is something long time fans will certainly enjoy.
All that said, however, I can't think of any real reason to come back to these bonuses once you've watched them once. There's not a lot of rewatch value, and the slim amount of them feels a bit of a waste. As I mentioned before, however, the film itself is more than enough to justify the purchase of the blu-ray or 4K (for those of you who've upgraded).
Still Great on Multiple Viewings
IT managed to do so many things right it's impressive. The production faced a number of troubles before finally making it to the big screen, and the end result is something truly special for horror movie fans. Even if you're not into scary movies, it's still a great film and even with multiple viewings, it retains the scare factor. While the bonus features leave something to be desired, there's no reason I can think of to skip out on this blu-ray.