What's better - being surprised or disappointed?
Hopefully everyone out there would choose to be filled with the wonder of genuine astonishment rather than facing a crippling let down.
While those two options are on the opposite sides of the spectrum, both emotions will look familiar to anyone who tends to frame their lives around expectations. Go with the flow types might just take everything as it comes and may never really have to deal with either of those feelings. Tell me - what's that like?
Getting tips from an easy breezy mentality would definitely be a beneficial for all anxious types like myself. On top of that, I'm a truly excitable person, which only makes it more tough. When planning trips or events with friends, I can look forward to it with such enthusiasm that I can't help but go over the top thinking about how great each grand adventure will be. More often than not expectations are exceeded, but sometimes it can be rather anticlimactic when reality can not catch up with your active imagination.
All of this excessive anticipation can in turn lead to ruining other aspects of life, like causing disappointment after spending years building up excitement for a movie adaptation of a beloved book. To put in lightly - watching the latest IT adaptation was a bruising experience.
After growing up with the miniseries that ruined showering for me during childhood (and continues to creep me out when catching it playing on cable each Halloween), it was looking like 2017 would be the year where a version of Stephen King's IT would be released that, now with an "R" rating and a release on the big screen, would be edgy and more horrifying. Perfect for us now adults who, on occasion, actually like to be scared.
Many continue to pay those bucks to check out the latest King adaptation [IT just recently became the highest grossing horror flick in US history] and with an 86% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it seemed like a no-brainer - I would definitely be settling in for the dark masterpiece of my dreams.
After cringing in annoyance at many of the scenes (that I'm guessing) were meant to be scary, the term "mind-boggling" would be a more accurate reaction.
This is not just hate from a book loving nerd. While I do find the book, like much of King's work, to be remarkable in the way he combines relatable human experiences with the fantastical, I specifically went into seeing this movie with no intention to compare it to the book. I was just excited to be scared.
Half way through, when I wound up rolling my eyes at the moments that were meant to be startling, I had to admit the worst possible discovery - the scary parts are not scary!
If you had told me that a movie company would finally release a R-rated feature length version cut of IT, and all we got was some gross effects and a lot of CGI dancing clown, I probably would have flipped you off. This revelation is one of the truly flabbergasting moments of 2017 - a year that continues to be packed with astonishing circumstances.
There is suppossed be a large campy factor to Pennywise, the murderous entity haunting the town of Derry, Maine. He is a clown after-all. But this adaption failed to give the horror soaked scenes their due. Each "scary" moment races along, preoccupied with fast cuts and Pennywise continually running at the camera with weirdly flailing bendy arms. Where's the suspense? Where's the mystery?
As cheesy as some people feel the original miniseries turned out, there is something to be said about a bona fide actor (Tim Curry) in full clown garb, just eerily standing across the street from the characters or peering from behind bed sheets hanging on a clothes line. To me, that is chilling.
Those scene should feel real, since much of the horror in IT is specifically drawn from each character's personal fears; the fears we all face on a daily basis. We are all scared of something, which is exactly why the story has impacted so many people. The miniseries captured the simplicity of psychological terror that looks real (because it is), where nothing is hindered by distracting computer graphics. .
Those old fashioned creepy tricks in the miniseries are a nod to classic spooky movies, like The Innocents and Rosemary's Baby, where tension was built slowly, causing your mind to jump into high gear wondering when and how the scares were going to develop.
Recent stylistic sinister hits, like Get Out and The Babadook, also used old school scares to establish tension. Those two flicks set the bar high for what scary movies can be in our current era and I assumed the people creating this version of IT would follow in their influence, finally filming a version that really dug into the guts within King's elaborate story.
What is clear now after endless failed adaptions - almost all of King's work is impossible to adapt.
Book adaptations can be terrific on their own, even when they don't follow the book exactly. While some elements of this film version do work, including moments with the "loser's club" that showcase the connection and comradery between pals, not many filmmakers have been able to figure out how to really delve into the deep emotions King represents within his work.
IT is highly philosophical about growing up, adulthood, dreams, fears, relationships, and in a large scale, the purpose of life and the creation of our world in general. [King always has a big swing!] This movie does a better job at expressing the terror of facing death that is addressed in the book, especially in showcasing how many kids have gone missing and the trauma of losing a family member, in the case of Bill, with the tragic loss of his younger brother. But, when it comes to IT as a book, I don't think the themes will truly resonate unless you are actually reading King's words.
The most successful King adaptations are those that spend a lot of time delving into the emotions King focuses on. Two movies based on short stories have done it best - The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me. Those movies utilized the short page length of the source material to really pack in all the poignant resonance. IT is a 1,000 page tome. People should know that anything that large can not be properly tied into two hours, or four, now that the second movie focusing on "the losers" as adults has been green-lit.
Will I be seeing the sequel? There's only one answer - of course! My anticipation levels have been lowered exponentially, but I will be eager to see if the adult section takes the scary scenes more seriously. Maybe the film will go on the edgier side to reflect the character's age and older point of view? It definitely needs to be much darker. After all, the book on which it is based, is arguably one of the scariest in history.
Maybe we should all just hope for the eventual 10-hour series that HBO will release somewhere down the line. That I think will be the only way a visual form will be able to really capture King's vision of the events in Derry.
It is human nature to look forward to events and other things in your day. Even though all the signs are telling me to calm down and not get as excited all the time, I can't stop. Even if this movie didn't exceed my excitement, other things definitely will. I'm not going to change now.