And man, am I glad we did. I can't objectively compare this movie to the 1990s version because I'm not seeing it as a ten-year-old, but it was good. The adaptation felt true to the spirit of the novel while still being fresh; in addition to changing the time period, Muschietti replaced certain scare scenes like the mummy and the werewolf both to give the movie less of a '50s vibe and to surprise book-savvy viewers. The result is terrific; as someone who's given pretty sizable patch of psychic real estate to Derry, Pennywise, and the Losers, I had that nostalgic old-friends feeling without ever feeling like I knew what was coming next.
Speaking of the Losers, they're where the movie really shines. I'd read about how much Finn Wolfhard steals the show as Richie, but I honestly laughed even harder at Eddie (whose '80s incarnation has many thoughts on the surprising ways you can contract AIDS). All the kids do a phenomenal job, though; as my brother pointed out, Stan Uris is never going to be anyone's favorite Loser, but Wyatt Oleff was the best darn Stan Uris he could be. I don't like Skarsgard's Pennywise as much as Tim Curry's (again, this may have more to do with me not being 10 than anything else), but he's properly malicious and off-putting. You also get a proper sense of Derry as not just a bad place, but a BAD PLACE.
Although most of the story changes were either improvements or adaptational necessities, I have mixed feelings about others. There was a damsel-in-distress bit with Bev that nearly made me throw my shoe at the screen, although the movie ultimately handled it much, much better than I was expecting it to (so well that I'm not sure what else they could have done if they wanted to stick to a three-act structure). Poor Mike gets the worst of it; his part was basically gutted, and I hope his adult incarnation has more to do. (I read somewhere that his character really shone in some over-budget scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor, but now I can't find that link anywhere. "It" and "Mike" aren't very helpful words to add to your Google search.)
As for the scares . . . well, horror is personal, so it's hard to address how scary the movie actually is. I've heard some people say that it scared the bajeezus out of them, and I've heard others say it didn't scare them at all. For me, it had some deliciously creepy images, but nothing that crawled under my skin and stayed there after the credits rolled. For whatever reason, some of the scenes where It terrified them and let them go felt less like It was playing with Its food and more like It was oddly toothless. It felt more like really, really dark fantasy than horror--although as a fan of dark fantasy, I can't quite be sure that's a bad thing.
Those quibbles aside, I can't remember the last time I saw a movie and so badly wanted more of it. I came out of the theater informing my husband in no uncertain terms that the director's cut is going to be on my Christmas list; I could easily have watched twice as much of this movie without getting bored. If you like the idea of Stand By Me with a demon clown or an R-rated Stranger Things, I can't recommend It highly enough. Just stay away from red balloons afterwards . . .