Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is less an adaptation of Stephen King's bestselling horror novel than a complete reimagining of it from the inside out. In King's book, the Overlook Hotel is a haunted place that takes possess... more »ion of its off-season caretaker and provokes him to murderous rage against his wife and young son. Kubrick's movie is an existential Road Runner cartoon (his steadicam scurrying through the hotel's labyrinthine hallways), in which the cavernously empty spaces inside the Overlook mirror the emptiness in the soul of the blocked writer, who's settled in for a long winter's hibernation. As many have pointed out, King's protagonist goes mad, but Kubrick's Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is Looney Tunes from the moment we meet him--all arching eyebrows and mischievous grin. (Both Nicholson and Shelley Duvall reach new levels of hysteria in their performances, driven to extremes by the director's fanatical demands for take after take after take.) The Shining is terrifying--but not in the way fans of the novel might expect. When it was redone as a TV miniseries (reportedly because of King's dissatisfaction with the Kubrick film), the famous topiary-animal attack (which was deemed impossible to film in 1980) was there--but the deeper horror was lost. Kubrick's The Shining gets under your skin and chills your bones; it stays with you, inhabits you, haunts you. And there's no place to hide... --Jim Emerson« less
Classic Jack Nicholson terror. A must see for horror fans!
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 2/24/2010...
This films fails to capture the horror of the Stephen King novel. Kubrick appears too have no idea what he's attempting to acheive with this movie. Jack Nicholson delivers a performance that is impossible too take serious. He mugs and chews up the scenery throughout the movie. It comes as no surprise when he snaps. The supernatural elements were excised for the most part and the film suffers due to it. Some interesting visuals, but not enough to make this worthwhile entertainment.
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James B. (wandersoul73) from LINDALE, TX Reviewed on 6/18/2009...
A very powerful film indeed!
2001 DVD vs 2007 DVD
Steve | Richmond, VA USA | 10/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I own both the 2001 and 2007 DVDs of this film. I really don't have any interest is who is 'right' with the aspect ratio argument, I compared both versions and found that you're missing some of the video image regardless of which version you buy. I took screenshots of both DVDs and overlayed them on top of each other. I found that with the 2001 release, you get the 1:33:1 aspect ratio where the far left and right of the screen image is clipped. With the 2007 release, you get the 1.78:1 aspect ratio where the top and bottom of the screen image is clipped off. You can see what I mean by viewing the 'customer image' I posted, above. The blue border is for the 2001 release and the red border is the 2007 release.
Both DVDs are 'digitally restored and remastered', however the 2007 release is noticeabley brighter and more vivid. The 2001 image seems faded and dull.
This release has all the other special features of the 2001 DVD release, with the addition of optional commentary by Garrett Brown and John Baxter and three new featurettes."
Brilliant film, best transfer yet!
Cale E. Reneau | Conroe, Texas United States | 10/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Shining is one of the horror genre's most notable films. Made in 1980 by the late, legendary Stanley Kubrick, the film stands out as not only one of his best but probably the best Stephen King adaptation as well. Though not nearly as true to the book as the later TV-movie would be, it is undoubtedly darker, more macabre, and ultimately superior to that version. Kubrick was a genius behind the camera, giving us long, beautiful shots, allowing us to take in both the beauty and the horror of the Overlook Hotel. For those who have yet to see the movie (and honestly, who hasn't at this point?), do yourself a favor and buy it today! Disappointment is impossible.
As for the transfer of the film, it is unbelievable. While clearly not as visually stunning or breathtaking as modern day flicks, this HD DVD version of The Shining boasts a virtually flawless transfer and cleans up many of the blemishes that were present on previous VHS and DVD versions. Black levels are deep, clean, and ungrainy and the majority of the film offers a surprisingly clean look. Detail is not as strong as it could have been, but Kubrick intentionally shot this film softly. The images won't pop and shine like modern movies will, as this is an old film, but for the price of the disc you are without a doubt getting the highest quality transfer this film has ever seen.
Audio has been upgraded from a mono to a TrueHD soundtrack, but for the most part audio will be very front-heavy. Most of the peripheral speakers are used only for music, to intensify the sound of it (and it is effective).
Special features are slim: the old making of documentary (with or without commentary), theatrical trailer, and a few small featurettes that delve deeper into the making of The Shining, as well Stanley Kubrick's "Visions." All pretty standard fare, all in 480i/p standard definition.
Whether you're a long time fan of the film, or new to it, this is a must-own if you own an HD DVD player and HDTV! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did."
Some dvds are like people: some shine and some don't. This
Mike Liddell | Massachusetts | 08/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I personally wouldn't re buy every film that comes out on Hd-dvd especially seeing as how the prices haven't really come down. That said a film like this is an exception, I believe horror fans are some of the most die hard film fans out there, and should and will pick this one up. For Audiophiles there is a new 5.1 track as opposed to the mono you got on the previous release. The beginning score when Jack is driving to the Overlook hotel is amazing cranked up with a Dolby digital plus track in 5.1. The transfer on this is beautiful. The Shining is the greatest Stephen King film adapation and is one, if not the greatest of all horror films. Also one of the greatest films for any genre and right in time for Halloween you can't go wrong.
- Audio commentary by Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown and Kubrick biographer John Baxter - The Making of The Shining, with optional commentary by Vivian Kubrick (from the previous DVD) - New View from The Overlook: Crafting The Shining featurette - New The Visions of Stanley Kubrick featurette - New Wendy Carlos, Composer featurette -Theatrical Trailer - This was one of the most effectives and eeriest trailers I've ever seen and it was so simple.
I'll go more in depth of the special features as I watch them.
Technical Specs: - Aspect Ratio: 1080p HD 16X9 1:85:1 - Audio: Dolby true HD: English 5.1 Dolby digital plus
M. Maloney | Savannah, GA United States | 08/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc will feature an enhanced audio/video track for the feature film. Other features include commentary by Garrett Brown and John Baxter. There will be the same old "Making of the Shining" documentary that was featured on the old disc, but there are also three new featurettes: View from The Overlook: Crafting the Shining, The Visions of Stanley Kubrick, and Wendy Carlos, Composer. All in all, I'd make the purchase based on the video quality and enhanced sound alone."
Classic horror versus fine analysis of alcoholism
M. Maloney | 02/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1975 King stayed with his family in a hotel in the Colorado mountains, and there "The Shining" was conceived, to be published two years later. Already famous, with this book King entered the hall of fame where he resides to this day. In 1980 Stanley Kubrick directed a bone-chilling silver screen adaptation of "The Shining", starring Jack Nicholson. A breakthrough in cinematography, the film defined the modern horror as it was. Strangely, it does not diverge from the book as much as the author claims it does. With one slight irrelevant exception of an ending, there was only one issue that enraged King, and created animosity between the two giants ever after. Whereas Kubrick put emphasis on madness, King wanted the film to have dealt more with the alcoholism and the wreckage of personality. Therefore in 1997 we had a chance to see the TV miniseries directed by Mick Garris, "Stephen King's The Shining", which appeared to be a complete failure compared to its silver screen predecessor, although produced in cooperation with the author, and slavishly faithful to the novel. In my humble opinion, the infinitely longer King's version didn't create anything close to a frightening, suffocating atmosphere of Kubrick's version. Moreover, I can't possibly imagine anyone coming ever so close to Nicholson's interpretation of Jack Torrance, the haunted alcoholic from the novel. Nicholson was born to play such roles, and certainly, if you have seen this film at least once, you won't be able to forget it ever. I also claim that the wretched fate of a failed man, an alcoholic, was adequately and sufficiently portrayed in the original film version. The book is slightly repetitive in this respect, and the great virtue of Kubrick's vision is that he was able to get rid of the redundancy apparent in King's novel. In the mid-seventies, "The Shining" must have been a lightning of prophecy. A rich novel, which combined fantastic storytelling, and portrayal of alcoholism and hopelessness of the young marriage - "The Shining" was an instant success. Of course it might be a flagship example of an intelligent horror novel, but there are better accounts of haunted houses out there. Second, after a third novel crossing the genre territory, King was pigeonholed as a horror writer, and thus ever after his works were ignored and ridiculed as not worth reading. I agree that half of the time his books do not deserve mentioning and fall well into usual, categories, there are volumes to which there is more than it appears at a glance. The Shining is a best example of a novel where horror is used as a starting point for good old storytelling, where the crucial element has little in common with the supernatural, and much to do with mainstream portrait of the society and ordinary individuals faced with extraordinary circumstances.It's worth to read the book, and then see Kubrick's and King's film versions. This way, you will be able to approach the same grand story from three different angles, and none of them weak, quite to the contrary."