Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Kiss Me, Fat Boy
One thing I noticed just now while browsing for pictures: The menace of Tim Curry's Pennywise came almost entirely from his voice. Bill Skarsgard's Pennywise is both visually and vocally terrifying. I think a lot of this is down to budget, makeup choices, and special effects, though. I don't want to do too much of that kind of comparison. Okay, okay -- one more: nobody will ever say "kiss me, fat boy" with as much verve as Curry.
Anyway, what I'm seeing here is a story about people reclaiming their identities. I'm not talking about identity as in some kind of racial or cultural bullshit. I mean it in the sense of who they really are. Over time, as we all do, they had lost themselves in faded memories. Even though the effects of that past remained, they could no longer see the source. If you don't know where your wounds came from, you can't learn from them. You can't grow beyond them. This really stands out with Bev, who, escaping an abusive father, hooked up with an abusive husband, and Eddie, who threw off his dependence on his mother's placebo medicine as a child, only to get sucked right back into it as an adult.
Chapter Two spent a lot of time making the heroes recover memories of a time that was cleverly slipped past us in Chapter One. It even went so far as to materialize their past selves as "tokens." And of course the tokens themselves, in the end, had no power over the monster at all. It was having found them, or what they represented, that made them strong. Once they found themselves, they could grow. The more they grew, the smaller their fears and self-destructive impulses became. They were able to get to the heart of their collective Shadow. They didn't simply destroy it, though. Destroying it would be denying that it, too, is part of them, so they tore it up and ate it. Together.
(Pardon the heart pun. I just had to.)