Posts Tagged ‘Oktoberfest’

Do I really need to say anything? No, we all knew I was going to see this movie opening weekend, and that I would post a review soon afterwards. The only question is, besides what did I think of the movie, is why the review is being posted so late at night. Answer: I went with a couple of friends to Oktoberfest Columbus for drinks and only just got back a little while ago. Now onto the review.

IT: Chapter Two picks up the story twenty-seven years after the ending of Chapter One. A violent gay-bashing reawakens It, who begins another reign of terror upon the people of Derry. Mike Hanlon, the only member of the Losers Club still in Derry, calls back his friends, who have forgotten most of their memories and need to recall what they’ve forgotten in order to stop It once and for all. Unfortunately, It wants them to come back. It enjoys having enemies. And It wants to finish what they all started twenty-seven years ago.

I’ll be honest with you: I was disappointed with this movie.

There’s stuff here to enjoy, don’t get me wrong. The adult versions of the characters not only look like grown up versions of the kids we met two years ago (who show up a lot in this movie, and I really can’t tell they’ve been digitally de-aged, even though that’s what happened), but they put their all into the characters and do it so well. Bill Hader as the adult Richie Tozier, for all his inexperience in the horror genre, does scared very well, and steals just about every scene he’s in. Bill Denbrough is given a decent character arc tackling his ongoing guilt regarding his brother’s death. They actually do the giant spider form some justice in this film, as well as the scene with Adrian Mellon being beaten to death by homophobes.

Stephen King himself has a great cameo in the movie, and they managed to work in an in-joke about King’s writing (namely that he doesn’t know how to end a book)* by having people say Bill doesn’t know how to finish a novel. And I approved of some of the changes to the story for the film, especially one involving a secret of Richie’s and putting Stan Uris’s suicide in a new light.

However, there was a lot I didn’t care for in this film. One thing I didn’t like was how everything just seemed to be spelled out for our protagonists. In the first film, you watched the characters figure out everything–It’s 27-year cycle, how all seven of them need to be together to fight It, how It has many different forms, including a clown–and that was great. People who knew the source material got to see them figure out the puzzle (I’m told this is called dramatic irony) and those who weren’t pieced things together with the characters. But in Chapter Two, EVERYTHING gets spelled out, mostly by Mike. He’s practically one big info-dump, which takes away some of the sense of mystery.**

Not only that, but It’s power in Derry seems to be downplayed in this film. In the first film, they do a great job conveying how much power It has over Derry and its inhabitants, but I did not get that sense as much during this film. I could’ve also used further exploration of It’s origins. I’m not asking for Maturin and the Macroverse (I’m not unreasonable), but I would’ve loved to see a bit more otherwordliness and maybe a scene going into how the form of Pennywise arose (fans were teased a scene like that after the first film). Kind of made Pennywise less threatening to me, actually.

We also get a lot of CGI in this film, which is ugly and comes with enough flashing lights that I left the theater with a strong headache. And while the final battle was awesome at times, the way it ended left me feeling less than impressed (really? That’s the final shot of Pennywise you went with?).

Oh, and before I forget: the tone. One criticism of the first film is that the tone’s a little inconsistent at times. However, it’s worse in the second film, with jokes and music that doesn’t fit popping up every other minute. I mean, can we leave the joking to Bill Hader and just keep things consistent? I want to be scared, not giggling at one-liners.

There are other things I could say, but I’m going to just leave it at that. On a scale of 1 to 5, I think I’ll give IT: Chapter Two a 2.5 out of 5. Perhaps I psyched myself up too much for this film, but it did not fulfill my expectations. Also, don’t see this film if you have any sort of photosensitivity.

I bought this Pennywise doll after the movie. No matter what you think of the second movie, this is the best version of Pennywise, and I wanted something to celebrate that.

On the bright side, Chapter One still holds up, and will for years to come. We may never get an adaptation of IT in any format that will satisfy everyone, but at least Chapter One will always be the closest to doing so. And of course, Joker and Doctor Sleep come out next month. Those should settle our scary clown and Stephen King itches, respectively.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Goodnight, and pleasant nightmares.

*Which I don’t agree with. I can count the number of his books I’ve been disappointed with the ending with on one hand, but that’s just me.

**Also, wasn’t he supposed to be a recovering addict in this film? I mean, they kept saying in promotional interviews that he was, but the only evidence I saw of that was an empty beer bottle and one Native American vision journey. He comes off more as obsessed to me: obsessed with Pennywise and his childhood friends. Worrisome, but not evidence of a recovering addict.

Advertisements

Yesterday was the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I had the day off, but unfortunately no one could take me to the chaplain’s house that day, and while I tried to go to the nearest synagogue, I couldn’t find it even though it should’ve been in front of me (I found out later from the chaplain that you have to walk into the building where it should’ve been to find it. Otherwise it’s hidden behind businesses. Not sure why that is, but I’ll go with it). So with the day off and nowhere else to go, I decided to do what I promised to do my first week in Germany, and go explore some more of my temporary home.

If you head down to the Marktplatz on a Tuesday afternoon, certain areas will be busy while certain areas won’t be. The main plaza was pretty empty save for some pigeons, while further back you’ll find plenty of people strolling and shopping. It was into these back alleys I went, armed with a map and a general idea of where I was going. Needless to say, I got turned around more than once.

The smaller half of the Jewish Memorial in Wiesbaden.

The smaller half of the Jewish Memorial in Wiesbaden.

The first stop I went to was the Jewish Memorial in Wiesbaden, which was a pretty moving experience. The memorial stands where the old Michelsberg synagogue, which was a magnificent building with domes and spires that was destroyed during the war, used to be and is dedicated to the German Jews from Wiesbaden who died during the Nazi era. Today a road bisects the former grounds, so the memorial is split in half as well. The smaller part is an L-shaped, two story structure made from black stone, with a white display detailing in German and in English the purpose of the memorial. A small touch screen contains more information on the Jewish community of Wiesbaden (all in German unfortunately).

The second half, on the other side of the street, is much bigger. It’s in the shape of a giant rectangle with one side missing and along the walls, there’s a band where all the names of Wiesbaden’s Jews who were murdered during that period are listed. When I crossed the street, I felt the atmosphere change.

The larger, more emotional half of the Jewish memorial in Wiesbaden.

The larger, more emotional half of the Jewish memorial in Wiesbaden.

They say that certain places can hold certain emotions. I’m not sure if that’s true in this case, or if that was just my own associations affecting me, but the moment I got to the other side of the street, I suddenly felt very melancholy and started walking around the memorial, my hand running over the many names listed there. I found myself talking to the Jews listed there—I knew they probably couldn’t hear me, even if their souls were hanging around that space—but in that moment I talked, and I felt really sad because these people had lived and then had their lives violently and tragically ended, and their stories would never be known because the Nazis had done all they could to erase them. I cried a little while I was there, and I felt like something was with me in that memorial (though not necessarily the spirits of the dead Jews…maybe the spirit of the synagogue itself, if that makes sense), and it was very pleased I’d taken the time to talk to it.

The Roman Wall, with some additions from the Germans.

The Roman Wall, with some additions from the Germans.

After that I left (and felt much better once I was outside the memorial space). I then headed to something I’d wanted to see but had totally forgotten about looking for that first week in Wiesbaden: the Roman wall, known as “die Romantor” in Deutschland. Right down the road from the Jewish memorial, the wall has been reinforced and repaired and even built upon by the Germans (hence why there’s a wooden bridge connecting two parts of the wall). Nearby there are statues and reliefs that are either relics of the Roman age or they were created to resemble Roman works of art, and behind one apartment’s driveway there is a small alcove that might’ve been a storage area. These are all that remains of what might’ve been a Roman fortress against barbarian hordes. It was actually pretty cool, and I couldn’t help but think of a friend of mine from my study abroad trip who would’ve loved to see the wall.

Possibly a storage space for weapons and supplies?

Possibly a storage space for weapons and supplies?

You know thinking about it, I should write a story or two involving the ancient Greeks or Romans. There are already plenty of horror stories involving their mythologies, but involving them? I don’t know of many, though a few Anne Rice books do take place in ancient Rome or thereabouts.

Anyway, after that I headed back to the Marktplatz, where I discovered a costume shop with all these different masks and costumes and accessories available. Apparently Oktoberfest here in Germany involves costumes like Halloween does in the States (fun fact: only a fifth of Germans practice Halloween, as the holiday was mostly discouraed up until the 1990s by the Lutheran church. It’s becoming a growing trend, but still pretty small here except among Americans). I tried on a few masks and took some photos in a full-length mirror in the shop for kicks, then left while thinking about maybe getting a mask of some sort later on.

Mother always said I was a werewolf. I guess we now have proof. Awooo!

Mother always said I was a werewolf. I guess we now have proof. Awooo!

All in all, it was a pretty interesting and fun afternoon. I got to connect with my heritage in a very personal way, as well as immerse myself pretty deep in German history and culture. And I got to see some more of the city I’ve been living in for the past three months, and which I’m going to be sad to leave. Guess that means I’ll have to come back someday, right?

Of course, my adventures in Germany are far from over. I’m trying to arrange to go to this castle with a very interesting history called Wewelsburg over the weekend, and I would like to go to Oppenheim, which is not too far away from where I live, because they have underground labyrinths you can explore (sounds a bit like the Paris catacombs). Hopefully I’ll be able to do both and have fun at Oktoberfest too while I’m at it.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear!