Groundbreaking director, Stanley Kubrick, (2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket) released a film called “Barry Lyndon,” but at the time of its release, critics disliked it and it was a box office disappointment. Today, Barry Lyndon is now considered one of Kubrick’s best films.
Desparate to earn positive appeal to the critics and movie goers, Kubrick bought himself a bunch of Horror themed novels, in order to see which one sparks his interest. After one book to another, Kubrick found the proper book that caught his attention is Stephen King’s novel called “The Shining.”
As the project was green-litted, Kubrick castes Jack Nicholson (Tim Burton’s Batman, Chinatown, The Departed) as Jack Torrence, Shelley Duvall (Robert Altman’s colleague in his films including Popeye) as Wendy, and Scatman Crotchers (original Transformers cartoon) as Dick Halloraan.
Shooting the picture was nightmare for the cast & crew. For example, Kubrick filmed the infamous hacking the door with an axe 60 times while trying to achieve the perfection of Shelley Duvall screaming in agony, not only it she was exhausting, but a strand of her hair literally fell out to due to a massive amount of stress.
After nearly a year of filming, The Shining was finally released in 1980. The movie became a box office success, however it received mixed reviews from critics and fans of the book, even King himself despised the picture because of Kubrick’s changes to the source material and he still resents the changes. I’m not gonna lie, the film went to earn Razzie Nominations including “Worst Director” for Stanley Kubrick and “Worst Actress” for Shelley Duvall. Neither of them won.
A couple years later, the movie went on to become a critically acclaimed masterpiece. Critics like Roger Ebert added it to his Great Movies List, along with famous people such as Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rob Zombie, and Christopher Nolan who considered the film as one of their favorites.
With the upcoming release of other Stephen King film adaptations including The Dark Tower and It, I have decided to look through the works of Stephen King based films.
This review doesn’t contain any SPOILERS. You’re ok to read this article.
Positive: Performances by Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crotchers and Jack Nicholson’s unforgettable portrayal of Jack Torrance.
Character Development involving Jack as time passes, he slowly becomes unstable.
We also learn that Danny (Jack’s son) is not the only one gifted with telepathy and precognition.
Practical Effects as well as Camera Trickery were used for pivotal parts.
The Infamous line, “Here’s Johnny!” was as-libbed, it wasn’t in the script at all!
The Cinematography looked perfect. No Cameraman didn’t have too much sugar in his system, otherwise The Shaky Cam will begin trigger.
The Color Red is used in certain scenes such as Jack’s red jacket. It is used as symbolism.
– [x] Danny wears a Mickey Mouse sweater, Kubrick’s other film Full Metal Jacket has the soldiers sing the Mickey Mouse theme song.
The Pacing is slow, (one of Kubrick’s trademarks) it’s fine because it fits the tone and scare factor. Pay close attention to the characters and the backstory of The Overlook Hotel. Whatever you do, don’t play on your phone/tablet while watching this.
The Final Shot is one of the biggest twists. I won’t tell you what its all about.
Negative: If you read the book, you probably know why Stephen King hated this film. I’m gonna confess, I think the film is better than the book. There I said it.
The Final Verdict: A for APEX.
I watched the mini-series written by Stephen King himself, despite remaining faithful to the novel, it was boring, filled with way too much exposition. The reason why I stated the film is better than the mini-series and the book itself, is because Kubrick took a big risk to keep the audience entertained.
Its one of those movies that managed to be far more superior than the original source material.
If you’re a big time major cinephile of horror films, you’re gonna like this one.