As popular movies as IT and IT Chapter 2 ended up being, the twin Stephen King adaptations are hurt by overuse of stupid-looking CGI monsters.
As popular movies as IT and IT Chapter 2 ended up being, the twin Stephen King adaptations are hurt by overuse of stupid-looking CGI monsters. Making nearly $1.2 billion combined at the worldwide box office, 2017’s IT and its 2019 sequel were pop culture phenomenons to a degree most horror films never dream of reaching. While IT Chapter 2 isn’t quite as beloved as the original, both installments have a lot of great scenes and moments to offer viewers, as well as truly excellent casting when it comes to both the adult and child Losers’ Club.
There’s also Bill Skarsgard’s version of Pennywise, which manages to stand apart and beside Tim Curry’s iconic 1990 rendition as a worthy take on King’s shape-shifting clown villain. Skarsgard makes the role his own, seemingly going out of his way to avoid lifting anything from Curry’s performance, leading to a Pennyywise that comes off as much more vicious and animalistic than Curry’s often affably murderous jokester.
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For all their victories though, IT and IT Chapter 2 run into a problem that the 1990 TV miniseries never had to worry about, mainly because it didn’t really exist yet: bad CGI effects. Both the 2017 and 2019 films suffer when the CGI well gets dipped into too often, leading to a reduced fear factor at times.
Why Bad CGI Hurt the IT Movies
Oddly enough, while both IT movies feature some bad CGI effects, IT Chapter 2 is actually hurt worse by them, despite having the bigger budget. That’s due to said budget allowing director Andy Muschietti and company to make use of more elaborate CGI creations, which don’t always look bad by any means, but look bad often enough to be concerning. While the Leper encountered by Eddie is IT 2017’s biggest CGI blunder, Chapter 2 plays host to the terrible naked monster that Mrs. Kersh turns into before attacking Beverly.
With a misshapen body and head, and a video game-esque resolution and texture, the Kersh monster looks ridiculous, and is unlikely to scare any but the most easily frightened. The fact that it has googly eyes is even worse. Another instance of entirely unconvincing CGI sees Ben flashback to a childhood encounter in which Pennywise pretended to be Beverly, only to eventually transform into a curious blend of Bev’s head, Pennywise’s face, and Ghost Rider. This thing then chases Ben, looking even stupider in motion, as did the Kersh monster.
Sequences like these contrast heavily with Skarsgard’s Pennywise, realized mostly through practical make-up and effects, with some CGI enhancement. Pennywise is scary and creepy, but whenever he turns into a raging CGI beast, things get too silly to take at all seriously. IT Chapter 2 overall had a major problem with tone, sometimes leaning way too heavily into its comedic moments, and things like Naked Kersh and Beverly Blaze – or nightmare-face Bill for that matter – tip things even further into the unintentional laughter arena. As good as they are at some things, IT and IT Chapter 2 stand as prime examples of CGI often being more detrimental to horror than it is a benefit.
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