alcoholic is given the job of caretaker for the remote and
empty Overlook Hotel during the Winter months. He plans to
finish the script for his new play, while his wife and young
son enjoy the run of the huge building. However, atrocities
including murder have taken place within its confines, and
the boy is sensitive to the spirits of the past. They see
his gift, known as the Shining, as a threat and the instrument
of destruction is the father...
difficult to readily classify this one. One thing that's immediately
evident is, unlike Rose Red, The Shining is
suited to the four hours plus miniseries format. There's a
definite logical progression of events; the characters are
changed by each supernatural occurrence, and this makes them
more real in terms of a family placed in peril. The fact that
the father is a drunk in rehab should have been superfluous
to the plot, as it is the hotel and its spirits which slowly
bend his mind. They infiltrate his mind, causing him to blame
his wife and particularly his son for everything that has
gone wrong with his life.
as it may seem, this is a significantly better interpretation
of the book than the better known movie. Stanley Kubrick was
undoubtedly one of the greatest film directors of our time,
but I think it's safe to say he structured them primarily
for maximum visual impact. Here, with only a handful of special
effects, we have a much more lovingly handcrafted story full
of deft touches rather than one or two sledgehammer scenes
which broadcast a demand to take notice.
good scene takes place in the topiary, where Jack, the father,
half-witnesses each of the animal-shaped hedges shaking itself
free of snow. As nearby swings begin to move of their own
accord, and voices call invitingly from a playground model
of the hotel, the hedge animals appear to encroach menacingly
nearer, only to abruptly return to their original positions,
covered in snow, as if nothing has happened.
Mead as the boy Danny Torrance deserves a special mention
here. Unlike many prominent child roles which are inherently
annoying, this one refuses to conform to the stereotypical
crying, shouting and feet-stamping, allowing the viewer, through
soft nasal tones, to sympathise with his plight. Unlike the
movie, this adaptation centres just as much on the son as
on this two-disc set include a commentary by Stephen King
and selected cast and crew, and a staggering eleven additional
scenes. Disc one is two-sided, but that's a minor quibble
and it does effectively separate parts one and two of this
three-part tale. This will satisfy both King fans (there's
only two of them?) and regular junkies of horror and suspense.
Well worth the money.
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