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9.7 16 10
FanMix July 01, 2021 8546
(Updated: April 29, 2022)
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I’ve been desperate for the fabled 6+ hour IT Supercut but at this point I doubt it’s going to happen so I’ve decided to dip my toes into the world of fanedits. I watched both IT: The Bookish Cut and IT (A Film), both attempting to combine IT: Chapter One (2017) and IT: Chapter Two (2019) into a single film but with different goals and methods. I will be reviewing each movie separately but as I watched them so close together there will be some elements of comparison. This review contains spoilers for the original films and the book, and goes into more detail about specifics in the edit.

IT (A Film) (4:14:40) is edited drastically differently from the original films from the very first scene, completely changing the order of the film's events, adding chapter and title cards and including audio and music not present in the original releases. This works quite well throughout Chapter 1: After The Flood, but the focus on Mrs Denbrough’s piano leads to a some audio weirdness where in-scene audio of Georgie running down the street is muted in favour of the new audio. I would prefer to hear the piano fading into the distance as Georgie runs down the street and keeping the original audio, but the way it fades out in the edit as Georgie peers into the storm drain is quite effective. The creepy circus music/children chanting in Chapter 2’s opening is also replaced with music that flows into the Six Phone Calls section.

The introduction of the adults in (A Film) is re-ordered to better follow the order of the book. Starting with Stan’s suicide is definitely very effective but the new music is a significant step back from the emotionality of the original scene. Another downside is that there were a few very fun transitions the original movie had that have been removed because the scenes have been re-ordered, which is unavoidable but still a shame.

The transition from the adult introductions to the kids is really great, using a bridging monologue from adult Mike over an aerial shot of Derry moving into a storm drain and the roaring of the flooding water rushing through the pipe to transition to the loud ringing of the school bell. This was a real highlight and made me excited to keep watching after my disappointment with the audio editing of the first few chapters.

A surprising amount of Chapter One is played uninterrupted from here (up until the bathroom cleaning scene). The cut from Bill and Bev in the bathroom into the second interlude was incredibly harsh, probably the most jarring visual cut in the edit, but the harshness isn’t as much of a problem when cutting to an unrelated interlude as it would’ve been to a related scene. I was happy to see the Vicky scene included here, even though its inclusion represents the unfortunate lack of the Black Spot (which wasn’t included in the films).

The reunion being placed about one third of the way through the edit feels really good even though it was a little rough cutting from the middle of chapter one for the interlude and this scene. Having the reunion before the apocalyptic rock fight (where Mike joins the loser’s club) was never a problem for me in the book either but as the movies weren’t originally made with this kind of intercutting in mind it does feel a little strange having Mike be the current leader of the group. It doesn’t harm the scene at all and isn’t the fault of the editor, it just feels a little strange. Cutting the interaction between Richie and the kid is probably best to trim down the runtime and makes it seem like they might’ve been kicked out of the restaurant, which was funny. I would’ve liked the shot of Stan’s corpse in the bath to be extended beyond the flash we got originally because it is hard to catch the details like ‘IT’ being scrawled on the wall in blood due to how suddenly and quickly it flashes up and disappears.

The ritual of Chüd explanation being moved to later allows the movie to flow quickly into the Walking Tours, which have also been rearranged to better match the book. The order was rather arbitrary in the original film (there were a lot of cut scenes from this section that were never released but teased in the behind the scenes book) so this doesn’t suffer from losing particularly cool transitions like their re-ordered introductions did. The edit also moved the clubhouse flashback (or at least some of it) to fit in with Chapter One footage later, which makes the location change from the hotel seem arbitrary. Having this sequence set before the midsummer breakup of Chapter One is also a little strange for some of the characters due to the way the movie was originally put together, but it’s not too bad. A few wonky feeling edits here due to the excision of some content but mostly fine.

Subbing in the projector sequence for the missing photo album sequence from the book/miniseries was genius, it honestly never occurred to me before but now it seems obvious.

The rearranged library sequences really reminded me how sad I was that Ben’s library scene and the group library scenes weren’t adapted for the movies. The ritual of Chüd
smokehouse sequence would’ve been fun to see too but oh well. Maybe in the next adaptation.

The combined climaxes were very slickly edited. This is probably the most technically impressive sequence in the fan edit (though the transition I mentioned earlier was inspired, it wasn't an extended, complex sequence). The Chapter Two sequence is significantly trimmed, removing the overcoming trauma scenes and jokes that don’t directly involve Pennywise to focus on the main battle itself. This keeps the section from feeling bloated when combined with the Chapter One Pennywise fight but does reduce the thematic throughline of the films.

This edit both worked better than I expected but also conflicted with itself more than I had hoped. I think the editor did a commendable job and made some really snazzy edits, particularly the transition from the adult introductions into the school scene and the final action sequence, but the fact these movies were never intended to be cut together this way and the story was changed from the book means that you can really feel the scars the cuts have left. The weird audio in the first chapter, the replaced music for Stan’s suicide, the harsh cut to the interlude and an early dialogue edit (that I will cover later) are the only real problems with the edit that might be solvable with more time in the editing room without access to the deleted scenes from Chapter Two.

Aside from a few creative changes that didn’t quite work, the edit here is very well done considering the challenges and I think it mostly succeeded in its aims to more closely follow the book. I would recommend (A Film) for book fans in particular, even if they didn’t like the movies. It probably won’t change your mind but it is very interesting. I would definitely advise people watch the original films before this edit because although some of the content that was cut isn't necessary for this edit (or wasn't in the book) but is still important to the themes of the characters in the movies and the characters might feel undercooked without the background of the novel and the full films.

Edit comparisons:
Watching The Bookish Cut and It (A Film) so closely together was very interesting as the editors made different decisions with the same footage. Much of it was due to different goals but some differences were some changes that both editors made that altered characterisation or left something in that I expected to be cut. I’m sure there are many small interesting differences I missed over the 8+ hours I spent watching these edits, but these are the ones that stood out:

The Bookish Cut and (A Film) both cut a different part of Adrian’s line to Vicky with The Bookish Cut making Adrian seem much friendlier (“Hey, thanks for letting me win”) and (A Film) choosing to make him seem much more standoffish (“Hey, girl. You want this?”). I significantly prefer the characterisation of The Bookish Cut here.

Both edits use a stormwater drain to transition from the adult introductions into IT: Chapter One but (A Film) does so significantly better, using a bridging monologue from adult Mike and the roaring of the flooding water rushing through the pipe to transition to the loud ringing of the school bell. A Bookish Cut’s transition uses a cross dissolve from the end of adult Beverly’s introduction into the camera flying from the sewer out into the barrens from Chapter One’s title card and another cut into the slaughterhouse scene with child Mike.

Both edits removed the reveal of Richie’s “dirty little secret” from the end of Chapter Two which was a shame. Making Richie explicitly homo/bisexual is one of my favourite film additions. It’s how I viewed the book character anyway so it was good to make it explicit.

Both edits made the captains call to keep the worst CGI in either movie, where Pennywise’s face melts while yelling “COME BACK AND PLAY!” to a fleeing adult Richie. It would probably be pretty hard to cut but I would’ve liked it gone.

Both films kept most of Chapter One (including reinserting deleted scenes) but both removed sizeable sections of Chapter Two. A bookish cut kept all of the Loser's subplots except the ending of Richie's, but (A Film) excised entire characters and subplots. Both edits removed a child murder from Chapter Two but they each removed a different one.

The Bookish Cut’s faithfulness to the format of the original films made for a smoother watching experience despite not having as much editorial flair. (A Film) is very interesting and has some really skillful and stylish editing, especially the final sequence, but the films don’t lend themselves as well to being rearranged into book sequence as they do a more simple blending of the two, at least not with the footage currently available.

Link to my review of IT: The Bookish Cut:

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