The Shining (1997)

shining 1997 dvd cover
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 5/10

Follows the novel

Long and dull with so-so visuals

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Shining

Studio:  DawnField Entertainment

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  April 27, 1997-May 1, 1997

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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Here’s Stevie…Weber!

Jack Torrance (Steven Weber) is a recovering alcoholic trying to get his life back together.  He’s been granted an opportunity to tend to the mountain resort hotel called the Overlook for the winter where he hopes he can work on his play.  With his wife Wendy (Rebecca De Mornay) and his son Danny (Courtland Mead), Jack prepares for a long snowbound winter.  Unfortunately, the Overlook has spirits, and Danny learns from the cook Dick Hallorann (Melvin Van Peebles) that his gift to “shine” will attract them.  Danny shines bright and the Overlook won’t let him get away…even if they have to use Jack to get him.

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Hop in for a bath!

Directed by Mick Garris, The Shining adapts Stephen King’s 1977 horror novel.  The film was a television mini-series which aired from April 27, 1997 to May 1, 1997 in three parts on ABC.  King adapted his novel and the miniseries won Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries or a Special and Outstanding Makeup for a Miniseries or a Special and was nominated for Outstanding Miniseries.

The Shining had an uphill battle to begin with.  The Stanley Kubrick film is a horror classic and often tops “Best Of” lists by fans and critics.  Remaking a classic movie seemed pretty blasphemous, and in 1997, the remake craze was just kicking off.  King never liked Kubrick’s version of the film and decided to base this one more on his novel.

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Back off or you guys are salad!

“Fixing” The Shining by Kurbrick isn’t necessarily a good thing.  Kubrick’s film had a sense of claustrophobia which is ironic because his Overlook was much more spacious.  The themes of the novel are all there but it takes around five hours to roll them out.  It might be more accurate to the novel, but it still decided to change things (like making the roque mallet a “Denver croquet” mallet…for unknown reasons).  I did like the decision to make Tony a future version of Danny trying to warn him…though the acting on all parts is weak.

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I don’t like the mountains…

King’s problem (which is a legitimate one) with the original Shining is that Nicholson already seems crazy when he goes to the hotel.  Here, Weber plays the character more rounded and kindly, but he also doesn’t play the crazy as good as Jack Nicholson.  Rebecca De Mornay is closer to the novel version than the whiny Shelley Duvall character.  Unfortunately, Courtland Mead is the center piece of the film and not a very good kid actor.  He’s pretty annoying and hard to watch in this movie as he seems to just read the lines.

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Weird…just weird (in both versions)

For a miniseries, the movie does do a decent job with effects.  The film was shot at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park where King originally came up with the idea for the novel.  If you are ever passing through Colorado, it is a fun stop and you can see many sights of the movie.  Unfortunately beside the location the effects are sometimes weak like the computer animated hedge animals attack…I liked them better when they didn’t move on camera.

The Shining has some positives, but it just doesn’t equal the original Kubrick version and just feels cheap.  Extending the length and being closer to the book doesn’t necessarily mean better.  The horror is here, but The Shining by Kurbrick is even closer to terror.  With King’s novel sequel Doctor Sleep, it is almost certain that we’ll visit Danny Torrance again…for better or worse.

Related Links:

The Shining (1980)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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