I have heard people say that Kubrick’s The Shining was horrible because it “destroyed the story” or some such rubbish. I’ve heard the very same people say that the later version of the movie was better because it followed the original story more closely. I think this is pretty ridiculous, considering the huge artistic achievement of Kubrick’s film.
However, I do think King’s book was very good, certainly one of his best. Regardless, I still enjoyed the movie more than I did the book.
The only thing that sucked about the movie The Shining was that the father was a psychopath from the start. He really didn’t need the ghosts to egg him along. The interesting thing about the book was how he went from a loving flawed man and the ghosts used those flaws to destroy him and turn him into a monster.
The made for TV movie? Bleh it had the guy from Wings which was hard to watch and had the attack of the hedges part of the book I always skip over. Why? Hedges are not scary. A hedge lion is not scary. A hedge dog is (even a ‘growling’ hedge dog) can never ever be scary.
I’ve seen the movie and the mini-series, and read the book before seeing either. I think the movie did a great job with atmosphere and just general creepiness, even though a lot was changed from the book. I thought the miniseries was adequate.
I didn’t get upset when I was a kid and read “The Wizard of Oz” and discovered that the movie was really nothing like the book, and it doesn’t bother me now when a fiilm differs significantly from its source material, either. For me, its much more important for the film to be entertaining and well crafted, and to cause an emotional response, than it is for it to follow its source material.
I liked the miniseries quite a bit more than the movie. It’s a really nice movie and all, but really, who could blame Jack for wanting to kill Shelly Duvall? Doesn’t everyone want to kill Shelly Duvall? And whoever played the kid sucked.
The miniseries gave me a lot more respect for the guy from Wings.
Hafta agree with the Dung-Beetle on this. Shelly Duvall and the kid were bad casting. This movie didn’t do it for me. I love Jack, and the general look was right but I still don’t think of it as a masterpiece. The mini-series was o.k. but it’s hard to condense a book like The Shining into a 2 hour, or 4 hour frame and still get all
The King-produced thing was a monstrosity.
Kubrick’s decision not to go word for word from the book was his perogative- he’s a filmmamker. This is a different medium than print fiction, so he’s going to work the story onto the screen in a way he feels will be most effective. After the high number of shit films that have been made of King’s stories in succeeding years, he should be tonguing the tombstone of Stanley Kubrick daily for making such a memorable thriller from his source material. Instead, King’s ego finally got the better of him and whispered in his ear that he could personally oversee a better version than that made by one of the most talented filmakers of the past 40 years. How would he do this? By being more faithful to the sacred text, of course.
Stevie. Stay in Maine, count your money, whine about the small-mindedness of the literary establishment if you must, but get. The fuck. Over yourself.
I like Kubrick’s movie and the book on their own merits. The mini-series I didn’t like that much. And I didn’t mind Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance (in the Kubrick movie). I thought he was better than Courtland Mead. But I did like how they used the original hotel in the mini-series, the Stanley Hotel (the hotel King and his wife stayed in one night that inspired King to write the story).
You’re forgetting Scatman Crothers! He was the better Dick Halloran.
Love the book, and love Kubrick’s film. Hated, hated, hated the miniseries. For those of you who thought the Danny in Kubrick’s film was a bad actor, what do you have to say for Danny in the miniseries? I wanted to kill that kid, so I sure couldn’t blame anyone else for wanting to. The Wings guy and Rebecca DeMornay were okay, but pretty bland. Maybe that’s my complaint about the whole miniseries—it was bland. It sure didn’t scare me, though the book and Kubrick’s movie did. No, I take that back. Kubrick’s movie scared the living you-know-what out of me.
The book, while inarguably one of King’s best (it almost achieved mediocrity), doesn’t hold a candle to the movie. Kubrick took the germ of an idea an turned it into something great. The movie The Shining is more Kubrick’s than King’s, for which I am eternally grateful. And there isn’t a gun big enough to get me to watch the miniseries.
The book–one of King’s best, a classic of 20th century horror; three-dimensional characters I care about–I give it a 9.5.
The movie–a boring, pretentious mess; almost every role (except Scatman) badly miscast; all traces of King’s humanity wiped out by the cold, mechanical eye of Kubrick–I give it a 4.
The miniseries–well-directed, nicely cast, a good script, both faithful to the source and able to stand on its own; the only really bad part was the tacked-on, tear-jerker ending–I give it an 8.
A lot of what I feel has been said before, but…
1.) I loved the book. Very well done piece of writing by King, full of observations about people and character analysis. The gradual descent into madness by Jack, egged on by the ghosts (and the whole gruesomeness of The Overlook as a nexus of evil). All pretty neat.
2.) Kubrick’s film – I’ll say right up front that I’m a big fan of Kubrick, and I liked his take on the Ghost Story. That said, aside from the setup and characters, this really isn’t King’s story. It’s not just the hedge animals, or the fact that it doesn’t follow “line for line” . Especially after Jack starts to go really crazy, it departs from the book and loses coherence. Scatman comes to the Overlook just to get killed? The ambiguous ending? The relationship between the kid and his aler-ego? The elevator full of blood? It’s not a question of King’s ego – I can’t blame him for thinking that, no matter how atmospheric and all, that ain’t his story up there on the screen.
3.) The mini-series – Didn’t see all of it. Some of what I saw was really good, and faithful to the book. But overall, it screamed “TV miniseries”. Having Stephen King as a ghostly band conductor didn’t help. Given the choice, I’d watch the Kubrick film instead.
Its been several years since I read the book but I seem to remember Jack’s wife in the book being described as a vivacious blonde…definitely a weird casting choice.
Officious little prick…I love that line from the book
The book was the best thing King ever wrote, and no one was likely to do justice to it. Not King himself. Not Kubrick.
Having said that, King’s miniseries was significantly better (because the story it tells is better, because the characters are better — quite good, mostly — and because if you like the book you spend far less time screaming and throwing objects at the screen when the movie screws up the story than in the Kubrick thing).
The King miniseries had the potential for being excellent rather than just significantly better: if it had been edited for pacing (it dragged a lot in places), if King hadn’t tried to rework the ending to make “part of the good Jack come back” ::pukey smiley:: and if more skill had been used in creating and intensifying mood. Eventually the problem is that King is not that great at doing movies.
The Kubrick was miserably cast and had subplots that just ran into brick walls (most notably Halloran coming all the way from Florida to get taken out of the action and rendered irrelevant to the entire pic). It had Wendy wrong. It had Jack wrong. It had Danny wrong. It did OK on the hotel.
What Kubrick did was akin to casting Danny DeVito as Frodo and portraying the hobbits as tough streetwise belligerent dudes, and instead of casting the ring into the fires of Mt Doom, whacking the ring to shrapnel with a big rock.
There are some books that should not be fucked around with — if you’re gonna make them into movies, do them right.
Me, I’m wondering how M. Night Shayalaman would do The Shining if given the opportunity.
Book vs. Movie
One of the funnest books I’ve ever read. Kept me awake night and gave me bad dreams. Something in almost every chapter to make you skin crawl. A good thriller.
One of the stupidest films I ever saw. When the kid rounds the corner on his Big Wheel and sees the twin girls just standing there, it made me catch my breath. The rest of the time I was laughing derisively. This is a suspense thriller?
Sure, Kubrick has artistic license, but I don’t have to pretend that his film did any justice whatsoever to its source material. A howler.
Didn’t see the miniseries. In a 1985 Time interview, King himself said its probably impossible to turn his narrative style into a good film (even he couldn’t do it by that time, having turned his short story, “Trucks” into the bomb, “Maximum Overdrive”), and that it played best in “skull cinema”. A few years later, of course, “Stand By Me”, came out, and a whole new generation gave it their best shot. I’ve learned to stay away.
Well, I liked the book. I liked the cast from the movie but I preferred the way the miniseries followed the book more closely. All things remainig equal, I will watch the Kubric version before I would watch the miniseries from the cast and acting standpoint.
I loved the book. The Kubrick movie, not so much. One of the things I loved about the book was Jack’s descent into insanity. Nicholson (whom I normally adore) was insane from the get-go. It didn’t work for me. Also, when he burst through the door to kill Shelly Duvall, I just couldn’t bring myself to care; I mean, it was Shelly Duvall, y’know? I did, however, love Scatman Crothers in that role. I enjoyed the mini series. Yeah, it looked like a mini-series, but it was sufficiently creepy, and, to my mind, much superior to what Kubrick did.
Since we’er in near universal agreement that there was nothing wrong with the book let’s pick apart the problems with the movie and miniseries.
In addition to the casting, I thought the main problem was that the characters including Jack just weren’t likeable. Compare it with that family down the street with the acolohic father that keeps beating the shit out of his wife and kids. You already don’t like the guy so you’re not all that surprised/outraged when he does everybody in. The decent into madness, the failed dreams, the broken relationships are what all made the boook great. You felt for the family and prayed they’d get out of the hotel and maybe get back what they had. The movie failed on this point decidedly.
Back to the decent into madness; and compare with these movies where the decent is more pronounced Amityville Horror and Close Encounters. You feel for these characters. In the movie, David starts off as an unlikeable prick, and ends up as an even more unlikeable prick. You end up wondering how long it would have taken the guy to kill his family with out the ghost, not if it would have happened. The casting of the kid wasn’t so bad, they weren’t doing great roles for kids then ala **Sixth Sense **. But Shelley Duvall? There were scenes where you’d want to say hold on Jack, let me smack her this time.
That said I generally like the movie.
The problems with the Minseries is that the book really doesn’t lend itself to this format. Compare it with The Stand, where the story moved along at a much better place, there’s a reason for that, more happens. The stories need to be huge for the format to work, otherwise you end up with to much padding and slow movement of the story. That’s why Roots worked, The Stepford Wives worked, and Flowers in the Attic mostly worked. One day some executive is gonna figure out that the best format for most books would be a two part story. It’s never gonna happen though, because they want to profit by keeping the book and authors name on the TV for 3-5 2 hour slots. The Client and Presumed Innocent are two examples I think would have worked much better in that format.
Curiously, while I thought the book was just okay and I think Kubrick’s movie is laughably awful, I thought the miniseries was decent. I can’t really explain it other than maybe I simply didn’t expect anything from a TV miniseries.
I thought Kubrick’s film was absolutely awful. Not even in comparison to the book–just on its own merits. I didn’t like anything about it. I kept waiting for it to scare me–nothing. I didn’t even get mildly creeped out. I was just mostly really, really bored. Which made me angry, because the book never bored me. I think I had to watch it several times because I kept falling asleep, but I was determined to get through it at least once.
I remember enjoying the mini-series, but I think it aired right after I finished the book, and it followed the book so closely that it pleased me to see what I just read brought to life on screen. And now, of course, i can’t read the book without thinking of the guy from Wings, but that’s ok, because that casting decision worked for me. He’s just kind of the regular, bland guy that Jack should have been…