For a movie that made more than $327 million in North America and just over $700 million globally, you’re probably one of the people who have already see the film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel It. You may have even seen the original TV miniseries from the 90s, but the movie definitely takes things to another level as far as the novel’s content.
I previously reviewed the movie when it was first released so I won’t rehash my thoughts here. If you’re not familiar with the story, It takes place in the small town of Derry, Maine and focuses on a group of kids who are on a quest to destroy what they learn is an ancient evil that has bedeviled the town for decades. After young Georgie goes missing, his brother and friends encounter the entity, which uses its favorite disguise of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, and try to send it back from whence it came. Of course, this is just the first part of the story as the novel (and miniseries) also rejoins the characters as the return to Derry as adults, so there will be a second movie … which means Pennywise was not vanquished. But that doesn’t distract from the film which works as a stand-alone story mainly because of the approach taken by director Andy Muschietti and the excellent cast of child actors assembled for the movie. I will say that I found the movie more unsettling than scary on first viewing, but a more intimate setting at home did jack up the scare factor. Your fear level will depend entirely on your tolerance for clowns.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has released It to the home video market on several formats including DVD, Blu-ray, 4K and Digital. As far as video presentation goes, the 4K version (which also includes a Blu-ray) is the far superior one to watch if you’ve upgraded to a 4K TV and player. For this viewer, the image looked even better than it did on the big screen. The image (with HDR10 and Dolby Vision options) was sharp and clear, the colors were vibrant when they needed to be and more muted when appropriate. Having been plagued in the past with an edge-lit TV screen which caused some light leakage that rendered the blacks a bit more gray, the 4K version on a rear-lit screen gives you the deepest blacks you can imagine but still renders the details of the scene nicely, a real plus for a movie where the characters spend a lot of time in dark sewers. For those of you with a surround sound home theater set-up, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack option fully immerses you in the story, using the surround speakers effectively to send chills up and down your spine. Warner Bros. hit this one out of the park.
The 4K disc does not include any extras so that the movie itself has enough room to breathe, but the included Blu-ray disk does offer some nice bonus material. Sadly, for a movie that has become the most financially successful horror film of all time, there is no commentary track from the director or cast members. The bonus material includes:
- The Losers’ Club (15:38): This featurette focuses on the child actors of the film with commentary from all of them discussing working together and the strong bonds they formed during the production. It was heartwarming to see these nice, intelligent kids offering their insights on the story and seeing how they all became a family — the Losers and the bullies — on and off screen. Kind of gives you hope for the next generation.
- Author of Fear (13:47): Stephen King discusses the origins of his story and some of the true events in Bangor, Maine that helped inspire him.
- Pennywise Lives! (16:21): The focus here is on actor Bill Bill Skarsgård and is process for getting into the character of Pennywise. The kids also speak about how they were not allowed to see Pennywise until the first day they filmed with him in order to get a genuine reaction, and that they only ever saw Bill out of costume once during the table read of the script prior to filming. There are some nice tidbits that Skarsgård reveals about his performance, mainly that he was able to do the protruding bottom lip and wandering eye thing without the aid of CGI trickery.
- Deleted Scenes (15:14): There are some interesting scenes here that are worth watching, including some more of the tension in the Denbrough home after Georgie’s disappearance, Stanley’s bar mitzvah, and the fate of bully Henry’s friends after he murders his father. The highlight is an alternate take of the opening scene where Georgie encounters Pennywise in the storm drain.
Overall, the 4K presentation of It is definitely one you’ll want to add to your library (the Blu-ray is also fine), and it’s actually a film that plays better on a second viewing, especially in a home setting. This one comes highly recommended.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment generously provided Hotchka with a 4K/Blu-ray version of the film for reviewing purposes.