The Clown War

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 1990 | 15 | Blu-ray

Di­rec­tor Tommy lee Wal­lace Cast richard Thomas, den­nis Christo­pher, an­nette O’Toole, John rit­ter

What with a big-screen re­make in post­pro­duc­tion and the pop­u­lar­ity of the sim­i­larly-flavoured Stranger Things, it’s high time for It to go HD. This Blu-ray re­stores the two-part minis­eries’ 4:3 ra­tio (pre­vi­ous DVDs were cropped to widescreen), but re­tains an edit to make it into one long fea­ture.

Based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel, it fea­tures Tim Curry as the tit­u­lar en­tity, a child-snatch­ing, shapeshift­ing mas­ter of il­lu­sion that mostly ap­pears as a creepy clown. In 1960 a bunch of mis­fit kids ban­ish It; when it reap­pears 30 years on, they must re­assem­ble.

The sur­pris­ing thing about It is how lit­tle there is to it, due to the two-part struc­ture’s repet­i­tive na­ture. Much of the first half’s taken up in­tro­duc­ing the seven “Losers’ Club” kids; swathes of the sec­ond are spent rein­tro­duc­ing them as adults. In both time pe­ri­ods, the big show­down gets scant screen-time.

But this is a strength as much as a weak­ness, giv­ing a strong en­sem­ble cast fea­tur­ing fa­mil­iar faces – John-Boy Wal­ton, a Lana Lang, Buffy’s Oz – time to breathe life into the char­ac­ters, whose bond­ing is touch­ing twice over. And as Pen­ny­wise the clown, Tim Curry is en­joy­ably off-the-leash.

Ex­tras An old 2002 commentary by the di­rec­tor and four of the cast. Ian Berri­man

The sewer scenes were filmed in a rusty old steel mill. The cast had to be care­ful what they touched in case they got tetanus.

Derek got it all wrong on his first day at the law firm.

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