I’m a big Stephen King fan, and yet have never read his two main works (at least to me they seem to be his main works) – It and The Dark Tower series. Now, I finally reduced this list to The Dark Tower series and finished It.
I liked it, a lot. It’s definitely one of his stronger books. The story itself goes about in the usual Stephen King way, the book does not. I liked the structure of the novel, the way he switches between 1958 and 1985. And of course, his writing style, as usual, is very, very good.
But the biggest and strongest point from the book are his characters. I liked all of the Losers’ Club (L. asked me, which character I liked best. I told her “Ben”, which was immediately followed by an internal outcry of “What about Bev? Bill? Stan? Mike? Richie? Eddie?”).
Unfortunately, his characters were also one of the weakest points. I don’t know why he went with seven kids, because he really focuses and characterises only on 3, maybe 4 of them, leaving the others kind of empty, compared to the density of the others. If that makes any sense.
But what gets me every time I read a King novel, is how well he knows people. I mean, all of the characters are so real, so thoroughly thought through, so logical in their own ways. Even if they are more sketched than anything else.
I think that’s part of why his books are so scary: Because everything else is so real that you can see it, that you feel like you know it, the fantastic elements don’t seem to be so fantastic anymore.
After having read the book, I finally also watched the movie. I was unimpressed.
The special effects sucked, but okay, it’s almost twenty years old (holy shit, it’s already almost twenty years old). So I won’t hold it against them.
What really bothered me, was that they changed things from the book I didn’t think it was necessary to change (why is the cycle 30 years in the movie and about 27 years in the book? Was it really so hard to explain why Stan killed himself, so they had to explain it differently in the movie, making him kind of less Stan-like? etc). On the other hand, they left things from the book in the movie I didn’t think necessary (like the banana-heels episode. It never came up afterwards, in the movie).
What I did like was the way they tried to keep the time-jumping structure from the novel (even though they didn’t go through with it to the end). Although I do think that the way they connected the adults and children sometimes was a bit too much. I got that young Bill and old Bill where the same person (and I think that you’d get it as well if you hadn’t read the book), without them making the same overly theatrical gesture while the pictures blend into each other.
I loved Tim Curry, he was great. I was really surprised [in a good way] to see Seth Green and Jonathan Brandis, I didn’t know they were in there. [Okay, Jonathan Brandis is not really well known, but I had a major crush on him when I saw Neverending Story II. And I just looked his page up on the imdb, and he killed himself five years ago. That’s so horrible…]
Well, I guess I can sum it up with: The book is sooo much better: it’s extraordinary. The film is a run of the mill horror shocker with an eighties feel to it.