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Henry Bowers' dad **spoilers**

Discussion in 'IT (Part One) (2017)' started by Steve in WI, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Steve in WI

    Steve in WI Active Member

    After giving it some thought, I'm still a bit perplexed as to why Henry's dad was changed into a police officer in the movie. Most of the changes from the book to the movie felt very purposeful (even the ones that didn't totally work), but this one comes off as a bit random to me and I have mixed feelings about it.

    Henry's dad (incidentally, I checked IMDB and the character is listed as "Officer Bowers"; I'm not sure we ever find out for sure what his first name is in the movie, although I don't know why they would do anything but keep it as "Butch") comes off as less of a villain than in the book, and that ends up impacting how I feel about Henry as well.

    In the book, he is both a violently racist and hateful man and one who is clearly suffering from mental illness, most likely PTSD at least. The mental illness keeps him from being able to be classified as purely evil. I have also wondered (though I don't know if there's anything in the book to support this) if some of that got passed along to Henry and made it easier for It to control him.

    In the movie, I get the sense that we are supposed to assume that he's been abusive to Henry but I don't see anything explicit from the very limited scenes we are given. In fact, in both scenes he acts as kind of a disciplinary force that keeps Henry from doing anything too awful.
    Early in the movie outside the school, we see Henry's dad give him a stern look when he and the bullies are messing with the Losers, and he backs off before anything happens except for a few insults. And then in the scene where Henry is about to shoot the cat, his dad walks up just in time to stop him. You can argue that what he does next - shooting at Henry's feet and making him look weak and scared in front of his friends - is cruel or abusive, but given what Henry was about to do I come out on the side of his dad on this one.

    Perhaps there were originally supposed to be more scenes to establish what kind of a person Officer Bowers really is, and certainly I think we're given enough to conclude that he and his son have a rocky relationship. But unlike the book, I don't think we know enough to determine who is primarily at fault. It ends up changing how I feel about Henry and taking away some of the sympathy I have for him in the book...though I'm not sure if I'm supposed to conclude that he is purely evil in some way or if there's something else I should feel instead.
  2. BillFan2003

    BillFan2003 Bill and Georgie Fan

    I have no idea why they made the change. I will admit Ive only read a little bit of the book. I guess it could have something to do with the time period change.
    mal, Neesy, Steve in WI and 1 other person like this.
  3. Tery

    Tery Dreaming in Middletown Moderator

    Maybe they are setting up something for Part II. Though, I admit, I can't see what it would be. Quite puzzling.
  4. johntfs

    johntfs Well-Known Member

    I think part of it is that we view the world of the movie almost completely through the eyes of the Losers and that our attitudes are supposed to be colored by their attitudes. They don't look at Henry as another kind of victim. They see him as an evil persecutor, so we see him as an evil persecutor as well. That said, if one looks at the two main scenes involving Henry's dad, it's reasonable to view them as scenes of him enforcing dominance over Henry, not simply discipline.

    Given that the next movie will deal with the Losers as adults, it's quite likely that there will be scenes included which give far more complete pictures of all the characters, Henry and his father included.
    mal, Neesy, Steve in WI and 2 others like this.
  5. BillFan2003

    BillFan2003 Bill and Georgie Fan

    I'm not sure if Henry Bowers is gonna be in Chapter 2. Grant it I know he's supposed to be if you go by the book and mini-series. It is possible they may use another character like Belch, or the other bully. Neither one was with Bowers when he fell.
    mal, Neesy and GNTLGNT like this.
  6. Steve in WI

    Steve in WI Active Member

    That’s fair, and I especially think that interpretation works for the second scene. I still feel like what his character does is so reasonable compared to what Henry is about to do, even if it’s harsh, that it undermines whatever extent we’re supposed to think that Officer Bowers is a bad or abusive guy.

    I do think it would be totally plausible that Henry’s dad is horribly abusive; I just don’t think there’s anything in the movie itself to indicate that. If there was a third scene that showed him hitting Henry and/or saying horrible things to him, I’d buy it and it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    Maybe my confusion about the change is that the movie decided to do so little with the bullies compared to the book that it seemed odd to bother to change Henry’s dad in a way that didn’t necessarily simplify the storytelling. IMHO, they could have established him much as he was in the book just as quickly.
    mal, Neesy and GNTLGNT like this.
  7. recitador

    recitador Speed Reader

    belch and victor are pretty obviously dead. henry shows up at neibolt street with a lot more blood on him than he got from his dad, driving belch's car. as for henry, just cause he took a fall, he shouldn't be counted out. in a movie, especially of the horror variety, no body = still alive. of course, if you're looking for a more overt sign, there's behind the scenes photos circulating which show vic bloodied up, presumably from that unseen encounter.

    regarding the OP, they went out of their way to paint all the adults as useless or down right creepy. to me, making bowers a cop not only adds to his domineering over henry, it also adds extra weight to the adults/authority figures of the movie not being trustworthy. of course, they could have something else in mind that would be more obvious from a deleted scene, but that's my take on it.
    mal, Neesy and GNTLGNT like this.
  8. BillFan2003

    BillFan2003 Bill and Georgie Fan

    I'm not counting Henry out at all. I don't remember Henry being more bloody at Neibolt. I've only seen the new movie once. I want to see it again, but I have to wait till it hits Blu-Ray/DVD. My theater only shows it at night, no matinees.
    mal, Neesy and GNTLGNT like this.
  9. johntfs

    johntfs Well-Known Member

    While we experience this version of IT as a movie, it might be helpful to think of it as a book, or, really, as a story. Pretend that there's a missing scene right at the very beginning of the movie where the Losers come to confide in their other friend who we'll call Audi (short for Audience) about the stuff that happened over the summer.

    Bill might have started it with "For me, it all began on that awful rainy afternoon when my little brother was bored and wanted me to make him a boat he could play with outside..."

    Whenever we see a kid by himself, we're "hearing" that part of the story being told by that kid.

    Whenever we see something none of the kids are present for (Henry killing his father or the scene with the cat) the kids are saying something like, "None of us saw it, but it probably happened like..." or "We weren't there but what we heard was that..."

    Given the idea that we're hearing all this as a story about the kids being told by the kids, we're not going to get complex three-dimensional portraits or deep psychological insights about any character except possibly the kids themselves. Whatever else might have formed Henry or been happening in his life, Henry is presented as a vicious, evil piece of crap because to the kids he is/was a vicious, evil piece of crap. Even if the kids had learned that Henry's father beat/abused him, their take on that might well have been "Good. Henry deserves it for being a vicious, evil piece of crap" because as kids they probably wouldn't quite be able to put together that getting beaten/abused by his father helped turn Henry into the vicious, evil piece of crap that he was.
    mal, GNTLGNT, Tery and 1 other person like this.
  10. BillFan2003

    BillFan2003 Bill and Georgie Fan

    It is going to be interesting to see how they do the adult story.
    mal, Neesy and GNTLGNT like this.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...both Henry and his Dad are sociopaths, doesn't matter if he was switched to a cop, because-as has been said, that just adds to the "human monster" factor....
    mal and Neesy like this.
  12. BillFan2003

    BillFan2003 Bill and Georgie Fan

    Yeah I got to admit, I found Bowers in this movie a bit more scary than Skarsgard, not that Skarsgard was bad. I just have a soft spot for Curry's performance.
    mal, Neesy and GNTLGNT like this.
  13. johntfs

    johntfs Well-Known Member

    There's also the idea that IT has rules and a pretty limiting schedule. It's easily possible for a family to "miss out" on IT for generations. Say a guy is born the year after IT preys, grows to adulthood, marries at age 27 and has a kid at 28. That kid has a kid at 28, etc. Meanwhile, even if you are a kid during an IT year, if you can sufficiently master your fear, IT can't hurt you and will likely target better prey.

    Henry Bowers doesn't have rules or a schedule. He hurts or kills you based on opportunity and the mood he's in at the time.
    mal, Neesy, BillFan2003 and 1 other person like this.
  14. BillFan2003

    BillFan2003 Bill and Georgie Fan

    Very true. I remember in the mini series that Pennywise told Henry that he could only affect the losers if they half believe. Where it didn't matter with him. That is also true about the IT cycle as well.
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