Movie review / ‘It: Chapter 2’ (MA)

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“It: Chapter 2” (MA) **

TWO days short of two years ago, “It” (running time 135 minutes) was released in Australia. This sequel portrays the original characters 29 years later (running time 169 minutes).

Andy Muschietti who directed both films considers this one (written by Gary Dauberman) to be the second half of the first, rather than a sequel. Playing with words, methinks.

James McAvoy plays Bill, now a stuttering screenwriter with a problem about coming up with a happy ending. Child actors in both films were asked who they would like to play their adult characters. That’s how Jessica Chastain got cast as Beverly, the only girl in the seven-member Losers Club at school in Derry, Maine, now a fashion designer fleeing an abusive marriage. I hope this pair got paid lots, because “It: Chapter 2” doesn’t look likely to improve their professional standings. 

Structurally, “It 2” flips between now and 29 years ago. It offers short character studies of the seven as adults, interspersed with progress toward a climactic and seemingly unending (sorry, I left my stopwatch at home so can’t tell you how long) sequence in which the characters do battle underground with the 500-years+ old Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård, of the noted Swedish acting family) who wants to destroy the characters and the town.

In that sequence, the actors do their thing. But the film’s real stars are the behind-the-camera technical folk who toiled to make the fakery of that long sequence look real. The list of their names is endless.

For a reader, the fatuous proposition in Stephen King’s novel “It” delivers horror as the ephemeral product of his/her imagination alone. Its impact from moving images and sounds depends on others’ creative skills and a lumpy musical score. 

Films like this have an audience. I don’t recall ever meeting a member of it.

At all cinemas

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"It: Chapter 2" (MA) **
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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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