The Shining (1997)
Running at 273 minutes (thatís four hours and 33
minutes!) and with a teleplay written by Stephen King after his own
novel, we can say that this production from director Mick Garris
presents the definitive vision of the famous horror writer. There is so
much time devoted to explanations and background that the nexus of
alcoholism and the supernatural makes much more sense in this than in
Stanley Kubrickís celebrated 1980 adaptation.
And of course we canít help but make comparisons.
Cinematically, the earlier version is by far the superior. Various
innovations, like the blood at the elevator and hallway and the hedge
maze chase are pure Kubrick and hence lacking in this one. I was quite
surprised to learn (not having read the book) that King envisioned a
croquet mallet and not an axe as the principal kill weapon. This
immediately feminised Jack Torrance (and it was not reversed by the
actor playing him, Steven Weber) and cut away from his menacing
The casting is also a bit off in the case of Wendy,
with Rebecca De Mornay bringing much muscular resistance to her
husbandís spooky rage. But perhaps this is what King intended all along.
Dramatically, there is less of a contrast this way however. The boy,
with the gift of seeing the future and communicating with other
Ďshinersí is Danny (Courtland Mead) and he is innocence personified. He
is without his famous tricycle unfortunately.
I quite liked this telemovie, even with its dodgy
computer-graphic killer hedges. It provides much of the meaty background
so lacking in the Kubrick version. However, it requires dedication,
running a very hefty 4.5 hours and offers nothing rewarding in the way
of editing, shooting or performance. It is a chilling and exciting story
so that should keep people hooked.
There are various commentaries on it so hours and
hours of entertainment.