Am finally this week trying to get back to my regular posting routine after almost a month off. So I achieved Thursday recs on Thursday, and now on Saturday, my notes on the (very few) stories I have consumed in the past month or so.The Ring (2002)
. I had never seen this classic before! Overall, I enjoyed it a lot and thought it was really made. I was definitely FULLY ENGAGED the entire time, and I thought it was very pretty (although boy did someone love their green filter). I also really enjoyed how VERY much a product of its time it was, in terms of subject matter, because video tapes are such a major element of it - not just as a vector for the hauntings, but we also get quite a bit of technical detail on how video tapes work
(which may or may not have been correct, lol), the physical process of copying a video tape is a plot point, etc. But instead of feeling dated, to me it felt more like a deliberate period piece that happened to be set in the period contemporary to the time it was made.
I also enjoyed: the score (especially that one sound effect or whatever it was, you know the one); the instances of violence done by TVs; various minor, plot-significant roles given to women (which let this pass the Bechdel test multiple times); the ending. All parts of the ending were fantastic.
All that said, ( Collapse )
And finally, putting this outside the cut: boy had I failed to osmose the BRUTAL on-screen animal death in this movie, holy shit. If you're sensitive to that kind of thing, beware, and/or maybe skip the entire scene set on the ferry. As it was happening, I was literally exclaiming to myself out loud how awful it was.
--IT: Chapter 2 (2019)
- I was pretty meh
about the first half of this adaptation but nonetheless very interested in the second half, because I knew there was an active fandom for it. Also I'd osmosed there was an amnesia element, which I was very interested in, and also I was interested in seeing these characters again as adults - I think I might have been imagining something kind of like the Haunting of Hill House TV show, where we see the adult repercussions of childhood trauma? IDK.
Anyway, what I got was kind of a hot mess. The actors were all quite good, which one exception discussed below. Bill Hader's Richie Tozier, emotionally crippled by internalized homophobia, was especially good, and I can see why he launched a fandom. I also really appreciated that Mike got a much bigger role and storyline than in the first movie. In a lot of ways he was the most interesting character to me.
* The movie was reeeeeally slow; it was almost three hours and needed to lose AT LEAST forty minutes of it.
* The main plot of the movie, collecting items to use in an incredibly low-fi and boring ritual, was tedious and lame, AND required the lore of Magical Native Americans. Just, what an incredibly poor choice of plot to build the story around.
* Too much CGI, guys. It's not like it was bad CGI, it just destroyed any pretense that this was a serious horror movie. By the end we're all just running around trying to escape the giant clown spider like we're in a super cheesy action movie.
* The entire story of IT suffers from a fundamental weakness, which is that the vast majority of the horror is taking place inside people's heads. Occasionally Pennywise eats people, but mostly he just terrorizes them. This worked okay-ish in Chapter 1 when he was terrorizing a bunch of 11-year-olds who had no emotional or logistical resources, but it didn't work at all here, when they're all in their late 30s and early 40s. Even if you're willing to buy that their emotional responses are getting the better of them, there are still no stakes for the viewer. I ended up tweeting my way through the end of the second act, waiting for something to happen.
* Stephen King has always been better at writing human evil than monster evil. Teen bully Bowers was easily one of the scariest things in Chapter 1, and bringing him back here, after he's spent the last decades locked away in a mental institute following his murder of his father, felt extremely Kingian. But then he... only got three scenes, and then died? I was so sure the death was a fakeout, but then he never came back. I have to assume the ongoing menace of Bowers was something that got cut in adaptation.
* This story always had too many characters. Seven leads in chapter 1 was a ridiculous number. You could maybe get away with it in a mini-series - again, the Haunting of Hill House has the five kids and two parents, and they all feel well-developed - but in a movie you just end up wondering why some of these people are even here. When we first see adult!Stan, I couldn't even remember which one he was. (Spoiler: he was The Jewish One. You can tell because he gets a Bar Mitzvah flashback.)
* Eddie Kaspbrak felt like such a caricature of a person. Everyone else feels like a serious dramatic character, and he's fallen into this movie from some unpleasant comedy that I would never choose to watch - one with fat jokes, where women browbeating anxious hypochondriac guys is supposed to be funny. I wasn't hot on the kid actor, and I enjoyed the adult actor even less, but at this point I think it's the fault of the writing and directing, not the actors. Unfortunately he's half the juggernaut ship (understandably, for spoilery reasons), and it seems unlikely I'd ever want to read fic about him.
Finally, another big content warning: if you haven't read the book, be aware this movie opens with an extended scene of brutal homophobic violence. I did not know this going in.Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. ( DW replies)