5 Reasons Why: The Original ‘IT’ is Better than the New One
Welcome everyone to the newest feature here at Coming Soon. ‘5 Reasons Why’ is dedicated to featuring and defending a controversial topic that is sure to spark a healthy debate among readers. The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of this writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Comingsoon.net, Mandatory.com, Crave Online or any of its other subsidiaries.
When it was first announced that Andy Muschietti was going to turn Stephen King’s seminal novel ‘IT’ into a motion picture, it was met with groans from fans across the world. How could anybody possibly “remake” the 1990 miniseries? Well, in actuality, Muschietti was not aiming to remake the 1990 miniseries. His plan was to offer a new take on the original novel. Fans still grumbled, but then the trailer for the new film it and naysayers from all over were forced to say “my bad.”
To say ‘IT: Chapter One’ was successful would be like saying Pennywise the Dancing Clown was a little sketchy. Both are vast understatements. Andy Muschietti’s ‘IT’ was an enormous success, not only for the director himself but for horror movies in general. IT earned millions of dollars in the box office and it introduced Pennywise to an entirely new generation.
But, for as successful as ‘IT’ was, it still wasn’t as good as the original miniseries. Sure, it had a bigger budget and was shot more professionally. But while Andy Muschietti’s IT was homerun, it didn’t affect viewers the way the original did. IT: Chapter One was a good movie, it just wasn’t as good as the original. Here are 5 Reasons Why.
5) The Time Period was More Accurate
IT: Chapter One did something marvelous with its timeframe. Piggybacking off of the 80’s nostalgia that Stranger Things ushered in, Andy Muschietti opted to forego the 50’s setting from the novel and set his film in 1989. This made for a fun take on the story, but its exclusion of the 50’s timeframe was definitely felt.
The miniseries, meanwhile, fully embraced the timeframe of the novel. From the clothes, to the hairstyles, to the lingo. Ben Hanscom was given the nickname “Haystacks” by Richie Tozier and it was a pivotal moment for the boy in the story. Of course, “Haystacks” was named after the professional wrestler, Haystacks Calhoun. Calhoun was a popular professional wrestler from the 50’s and when Ben was given the nickname, he knew that he had finally been accepted into ‘The Loser’s Club.’
That was nowhere to be found in the new film, however. Instead of being called “Haystacks,” Hanscom was instead given the running joke of being a New Kids on the Block fan. Full disclosure: that was awesome. But we would have loved to have seen Muschietti take on the more difficult era of the 50’s.
4) Mike Hanlon Had a Bigger Role
Narratively speaking, it was Mike Hanlon who wrote the book about ‘IT.’ He was the narrator of the book, and of the original miniseries. He was also the Derry town historian. When the others ‘Losers’ moved away, it was Hanlon who stayed and “kept the lighthouse going.” Furthermore, it was Hanlon who called the “Loser’s” back to Derry in order to defeat Pennywise once and for all.
In the new version, however, Hanlon barely has anything to work with. It was Ben Hanscom that dug deep into the town history of Derry. Mike was relegated to an arc involving killing sheep and making his dad proud. In the book and the miniseries, Mike was most important part of the story. He was the one that guarded the gate and called the ‘Loser’s” back home. In the new movie, he barely had any lines.
Hopefully, Mike’s role will be a little more fleshed out in IT: Chapter 2, but in the miniseries, Mike was as essential to the story as Pennywise.
3) It Told a More Complete Story
The first half of the miniseries is oft-regarded as the superior half of the film. It’s the first half of IT that focuses on the children and their battle with IT, while the second half focuses more on the adults. It is also the second half that features the laughable animatronic spider in the finale. We don’t speak about that.
The point is, even though one half of the miniseries was better than the other, it still told a more complete story than IT: Chapter One did. The world new that there would be a sequel to IT. The story told basically pleaded for it. So audiences won’t get complete closure until IT: Chapter Two debuts.
It wouldn’t have happened, but what if IT: Chapter One had failed miserably? What if Warner Bros decided not to move forward with a sequel? Audiences would have never gotten a proper ending.
Compare that with the original miniseries and, even though the ending was pretty bad, it at least told the full story. It had a beginning, middle and end, just like the book did. IT: Chapter One was literally only ‘the beginning.’ There’s very little doubt that IT: Chapter Two will provide plenty of closure. But it was the miniseries that told the more complete story.
2) The Nostalgia Factor is Real
Critics are quick to point out that the reason many older viewers prefer the original IT is because of the overwhelming sense of nostalgia surrounding it. To this, we say…
Look, there’s a lot to be said about the power of nostalgia. Nostalgia is the reason shows like Stranger Things and Mad Men are so popular. It’s also the reason why Andy Muschietti’s IT took place in the 80’s. Nostalgia is a powerful tool and, when used correctly, it can leave an indent on a person’s life.
That’s what the original IT miniseries did for a lot of viewers. Stephen King’s novel was a classic, but it was the miniseries that caused an entire generation to be afraid of clowns. To be fair, IT: Chapter One is probably the better overall ‘film.’ But in 30 years, it will be remembered simply as that- a film. It was a good movie, but it didn’t impact people the way the original miniseries did, which is why IT is still relevant 30 years later.
1) Tim Curry, Duh
Tim Curry is the biggest reason why the IT miniseries is better than Muschietti’s. Bill Skarsgard did a phenomenal job as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. But he couldn’t hold a candlestick to Curry. Tim Curry took what could have been a laughable parody and turned it into a character that people have been living in fear of for the past 30 years. Tim Curry is Pennywise, that’s all. Curry lost himself in the performance. His voice, his eyes, his laugh and his body language turned Pennywise from a character in a novel into one of the most terrifying boogeymen this side of Elm Street.
Try as he might, young Bill Skarsgard could never compete with Curry. To his favor, he never tried to compete. Skarsgard took the character and made it his own. Yet Tim Curry is the one that fans will always equate to Pennywise. Objectively, when you close your eyes and think of IT, you’re think of the original miniseries, right? Additionally, when you close your eyes and think of Pennywise, it’s Tim Curry that you see.
Now that we’ve addressed that, we suggest keeping your eyes shut. Because Pennywise is standing right in front of you and he wants to show you how to float.