IT Chapter Two (4K Ultra HD)
Pennywise and the Losers battle it out once again as the conclusion to the Stephen King adaptation arrives on 4K/blu-ray this week. Is the sequel worth picking up or should it be left on the shelf? Check out our full review to see!
Set 27 years after the Losers Club put the smack down on Pennywise, IT Chapter 2 brings the classic story fully into the modern era. Now adults, the kids who once defeated the evil entity in their home town of Derry are living successful lives for the most part. As the pattern of deaths once again emerges, they’re called back (literally) to uphold their childhood oaths and finish what they started.
The problem, however, is the unique magic of Derry and Pennywise have caused them to forget the events of that fateful childhood Summer. In order to win the day, they’ll need to remember the terror they experienced and find away to work beyond it. This is pretty much the movie, and really the entire premise of the original novel.
Where the first film focused entirely on the kids, the sequel puts it into the perspective of the novel, where we experience them relive those moments via flashbacks. Of course, the new movie highlights moments we DIDN’T see in the first film, allowing for more chilling moments. This all culminates in a final battle with the demonic clown, while offering us a glimpse at his “true form” and origins.
I missed out on this film in theaters, but I’d heard much of the criticisms at the time. For the most part, I really enjoyed the sequel and loved the humor it brought to the story. Perhaps it’s because I’m such a horror movie weenie, but I didn’t mind the abundance of jokes/humor spread throughout the film. For the most part it seemed perfectly natural and well within their characterization.
The film still brought some genuinely chilling moments and the acting was great all around, but it definitely falters. While it’s easy to lay much of the blame on the third act (which differs greatly from the book and feels anti-climatic), there are bigger issues at play. It’s a long film, coming in almost exactly at three hours. Even so, it doesn’t seem to actually DO much with that time.
We’re given entire sequences with little payoff (Bill’s bike) without even touching on story lines that actually would have added depth to a character. Beverly and her abusive husband seems like an important bit of character work, yet aside from the beginning, it’s pretty much entirely overlooked. This is even more baffling considering how well they treated a similar aspect in the first film.
While I enjoyed watching all of the scenes, by the time the finale came around, it became apparent how useless many of them were. Rather than developing the characters better, they came off as fairly one-dimensional, which is a bummer considering how strongly I was attached to these characters in the first film.
There are a lot of great elements in IT Chapter Two. There are a number of “holy shit” moments, genuine humor, great acting, and some stunning visuals. The problem, however, is it can’t pull all of those aspects together in a way that makes the most sense for the story. It loses much of the heart and earnestness that made the first film such a surprising success.
Sight and Sound
The 4K UHD transfer on IT Chapter 2 is pretty damn solid. Even though the film itself was mastered in 2K, the upscale is nicely done. Combined with HDR and the image you’re given throughout the film is incredibly sharp and gorgeous. Everything is given a sharp clarity and it shines brightest in the darker moments.
Being a horror film, there are plenty of night time/dark shots throughout and the 4K transfer give these even more of a sense of menace. The film’s opening sequence on/under the bridge stands out, but one of my favorite moments has to be the scene where Pennywise talks to a child under the bleachers.
The scene is super dark, with Pennywise being almost completely hidden/framed by darkness throughout. The sharpness of the image, and the deepness of the blacks, managed to make the scene even more creepy. We only see part of Pennywise through the shadows. Whatever we see, whether it’s his hands or part of his face, feels like it’s coming straight out of the blackness. There’s an almost ethereal quality to it that makes adds to the overall tension of the scene.
The sound is given equally impressive treatment with a stellar Dolby Atmos track. Every minor sound effect added to the tone of the scene, from a sense of realism to the the more fantastical. The dialog was given great prioritization and wasn’t drowned out by the music or sound effects. All in all, the technical elements of the 4K release are impressive.
The Special Features
IT Chapter 2 comes with a digital copy insert as well as a blu-ray disc of the film which is where all of the bonus features (though the audio commentary is included on the 4K disc) can be found:
Pennywise Lives Again!
This Meeting of the Losers Club Has Officially Begun
Finding the Deadlights
The Summers of IT: Chapter One, You’ll Float Too
The Summers of IT: Chapter Two, IT Ends
The two “Summers of IT” featurettes comprise the bulk of the special features, each coming in over 30 minutes long. The result is a lengthy, and insightful, behind the scenes documentary on the making of the films. The other featurettes offer some fun glimpses at the actors and how the modern take on the story came together, but those two documentaries are something I could see myself coming back to later on. Definitely some added bang for your buck.
The bonus features are solid and the technical aspects of the 4K are stellar, but the film itself makes for a tougher sell. I think I’m probably more forgiving of it than most, but I still say rent it to see how you feel about it instead of buying it outright.