Adaptation Blu-ray Review

'It' 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review: 27 years after the original, Stephen King's classic returns to terrify a new generation of moviegoers

January 9, 2018Ben MK

It's been 27 years since Tim Curry donned the makeup, the wig and the red nose. Now, director Andy Muschietti and actor Bill Skarsgård are bringing a new adaptation of Stephen King's "It" to the screen, with results that are sure to instill a fear of clowns in a whole new generation of moviegoers.

Unfolding over the summer of 1989, the story follows four friends, all of whom find themselves in the unenviable position of being outsiders at their school. But while their classmates spend their vacation playing and getting into mischief, Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Stan (Wyatt Oleff) have more serious matters on their minds, as they set out to uncover the truth behind the recent rash of missing children in their small town of Derry, Maine — a place that's no stranger to strange goings-on.

Along the way, the foursome recruit three more members into their "Losers' Club," welcoming Beverly (Sophia Lillis), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and Mike (Chosen Jacobs) into the fold. Like Bill and company, these three also know what it's like to be bullied and abused, and it's this shared experience — not to mention the fact that they've each been plagued by horrifying visions that prey on their deepest, darkest fears — that bonds them. Suffice to say, by the end of it all, this ragtag group will have learned the true meaning of the term "strength in numbers."

With terrifying, creepy and, at times, utterly shocking results, It puts the 1990 version of the Stephen King story to shame. But make no mistake, even though the scenes in which Skarsgård's Pennywise the Dancing Clown lurks and stalks the kids — taking such nightmarish forms as a headless cadaver, a demented leper and a grotesque painting come to life — are some of the most disturbing ever put to film, it's the chemistry and camaraderie between these young actors — whose innocent looks belie a maturity well beyond their years — that really carries the movie.

It debuts on 4K with a terrifyingly good 2160p transfer. Despite no shortage of dark scenes and a generally subdued color palette, the film's small town setting provides ample opportunity to showcase the increased resolution and color depth of the format, with an image that's never unduly murky and hues that can be exceptionally vibrant when need be. Likewise, the default Dolby Atmos sound mix knows when to be subtle, whether it's immersing viewers in a rainy downpour or surrounding them with unsettling noises of an abandoned house. Nonetheless, when Pennywise strikes, his evil laughter and maniacal screams are sure to send shivers down your spine.

Warner's two-disc 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release includes a Blu-ray copy of the film and an UltraViolet digital copy. There are no special features on the 4K disc, but the following extras can be found on the Blu-ray disc:

  • Pennywise Lives! (16:25) - A look at director Andy Muschietti's vision for Pennywise and how actor Bill Skarsgård interpreted that vision, as well as the younger cast's reaction to seeing Skarsgård in character for the first time, the physicality of the role and the importance of the opening scene.
  • The Losers' Club (15:42) - The film's young cast talk about what it was like working with one another and the chemistry and camaraderie among them, and Performance Coach Benjamin Perkins talks about getting the best performances out of the actors.
  • Author of Fear (13:51) - Stephen King talks about what inspired him to write "It," the research he did in the real-life town of Bangor, Maine, and the themes and allegories throughout his book and his writing in general.
  • Deleted Scenes (15:18) - Eleven scenes ("Georgie catches boat (aka Opening Gag Scene)," "Stanley's Dad corrects him (Extended scene)," "Denbrough family dinner," "Bill's Dad looks in the basement, et all," "Outside the Neibolt house," "Evacuating the Neibolt house (Extended scene)," "Stanley's Bar Mitzvah speech," "Eddie at Keene's pharmacy (Extended scene)," "Henry and Bullies wait outside (Extended scene)," "The Losers find Georgie's walkie" and "Denbrough family vacation").

It is available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as of January 9th, 2018. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 2 hrs. 15 min.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on September 7th, 2017.

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