A couple of weeks ago we suggested that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood should be on the watch-list of all budding filmmakers in Pakistan looking to master the art – regardless of where one stands on the narrative that the film upholds. Similarly, anyone remotely interested in mastering the horror genre cannot, in any way, miss out on the It franchise.
Of course, horror is a genre that many local filmmakers have tried their hand at, with their work being reviewed in this space over the past couple of years or so – not particularly flatteringly, indeed. Even so, horror is something that even Bollywood has struggled with over the years, with a couple of Indian flicks being discussed in this space in the past as well, back when they were still being released in Pakistan.
Needless to say, even Hollywood filmmakers could learn a lot from the It franchise, let alone aspirants from our part of the world.
The question for the franchise itself, however, was:
hat do you do after you’ve just created the highest grossing horror film of all time from one half of an all-time classic novel?
The same thing you’d do if your film wasn’t successful: make the sequel covering the second half.
Now where the team got itself in a pickle is in the fulfillment of the commitment that it had chosen for itself. For, just like the Stephen King novel that the two films are based on, the second part doesn’t quite live up to its groundbreaking prequel.
The title It Chapter Two might be misleading for those who haven’t actually read the mammoth book itself, comprising 1,138 pages, five parts and 23 chapters, each of which could have been a novella itself – especially by the standards of Generation Z.
The novel’s adaption, however, understandably, makes separate films out of the two eras in It the book – 1957-58 and 1984-85. In the movies’ case, however, those time periods are 1988-89 and 2016-17, depicting the times of the release of the novel and films respectively.
The exact decades for the two settings weren’t as critical, of course. The two parts are designed to show the main characters during their childhood and after they become adults.
The “Losers Club” are now all grown up in It Chapter Two. After the events of what is now known as It Chapter One, Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy), Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan), Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain), Richie Tozier (Bill Hader), Stanley Uris (Andy Bean), Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) and Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone) now have three decades’ worth of scars culminating in adulthood that Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) can prey on.
Now, as mentioned earlier, this portion of the original novel wasn’t quite as thrilling as the bit preceding it, so It Chapter Two has its work cut out on that front from the get go. But where the filmmakers themselves are at fault is how they diverge from the bits that needed better depiction.
Gary Dauberman’s screenplay is not nearly as tight as it was in Chapter One, which was co-written with Chase Palmer and Cary Fukunaga. Also, just like the original book, you might not quite connect with the gang as adults – compared to when they’re kids.
Here it’s a combination: the storyline just isn’t the same and neither is the chemistry between the actors in Chapter Two.
The title It Chapter Two might be misleading for those who haven’t actually read the mammoth book itself
Even so, not being as good as It is hardly the worst situation to be in the world. That film has become a benchmark for both the genre and adaptations of classics in modern cinema.
You simply have to watch It Chapter Two if you’ve seen It. And if you’ve ever taken any interest in horror films, fiction or any form of storytelling, you absolutely would need to watch It.
It’s complicated but that’s precisely what makes It’s sequel a must watch.