10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2009
Great price for this amazing movie ($10.39 at the time of this writing). I thought I'd just fill you in on what's all included, because I myself took a chance on buying this, (Amazon doesn't seem to tell you whether its wide or full screen, regular or 2-disc, etc).
What you're buying is the 2-disc special edition, in a great cover, Wide Screen. It includes a only a few special features though, but its the film you really want! It's about 10 bucks cheaper than the other 2-disc edition, but it's still the same one. Great buy!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2008
i had heard great things about this movie over the years,but i thought
people were just exaggerating its greatness.imagine my shock when i
finally do end up watching.turns out,the greatness of this movie is not
at all exaggerated.this may be the greatest,most complete horror film i
have ever seen.by complete,i mean it has everything a good horror movie
should have.i'm not talking about your typical hack and and slash gore
fest.i'm talking about pure psychological terror.the suspense in this
movie starts from the get go,and doesn't let up.i gets pretty
unbearable.plus,there are some pretty terrifying images.and the
acting,don't get me started on the acting.it is simply brilliant.i'm
not really a big Jack Nicholson fan,but he leaves nothing on the table
here.Shelley Duvall is also excellent,and the kid who plays there
son,fantastic.the supporting cast are also very good.when you add a
fantastically eerie and terrifying soundtrack,there's nothing else
needed.id' pit this one right up there with the original The
Omen(1976)for sheer terror.the only downside to this movie is that for
some reason,it was only filmed in full frame.if there's ever a movie
that cries out for a widescreen presentation,this is it. 5/5
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2004
I'm constantly baffled when I read poor reviews of this film. I suppose I simply have to understand that even a strongly held opinion is still an opion; however, I think that this film is a perfect example of Kubrick at the top of his game.
This film, like all the great Kubrick films, is first and foremost a feast for the eyes. Film is a visual medium - still frames in rapid succession - essentially pictures. Kubrick's composition in this film is wonderful. Don't believe it, actively looking for symmetry in the film should make this apparent. How is it that Kubrick is able to train the eye to see images of symmetry (ie. twins, two elevator doors, matching lamps, and pictures on the walls, etc.) in a way that becomes creepy in the context of the film? And what is Kubrick implying with the shots that take us into the Alice in Wonderland looking glass images of the characters? Asking these questions makes the film much more interesting.
There is subtle leading of the eye and mind and the attempt to elicit a primal response of fear to the landscape of the film. Ultimately, it is a question of preference. If visually engaging films are your thing, this is one that will demand multiple viewings. In my experience, this film has the uncanny ability to imprint its imagery in your mind long after the film is over, much in the same way that a negative of a picture that you focus on intently remains after you close your eyes.
If you didn't like the film on an initial viewing, taking a second look may be worth your while. Regardless of your assessment of Nicholson, the acting in general, the plot or any of these other conventional discussion topics related to the film, this masterful painting of images deserves the viewer's attention.
Stephen King has inspired two kinds of movie adaptations -- the ones that are brain-meltingly bad ("Dreamcatcher") and the ones that are considered quite good ("Misery," "The Shawshank Redemption").
"The Shining" is often considered to be the best adaptation of King's works ever, primarily because it was directed by Stanley Kubrick. However... it's actually a pretty terrible adaptation. A very chilling horror movie -- if excessively slow for the first four-fifths -- but it has little in common with King's story. Also, a good man turning evil is less suspenseful when he's played by Jack Nicholson.
Teacher-turned-writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) accepts a job as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, a luxury mountain resort. He figures that since the Overlook is completely cut off by snowfall in the winter months, it would be the perfect time for him to get some writing done. His wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) is eager to stay at the overlook. but his young son Danny (Danny Lloyd) is having premonitions about the Overlook.
Why? According to the chef Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers), he has the "shining," which is basically any psychic abilities that the plot should demand. Unless you're an African-American man, in which case they will go on the fritz just so you can die. Movie cliches must be maintained!
At first, the Torrance family seems to be enjoying themselves -- Jack has plenty of time to write, and Wendy and Danny are able to explore the giant hotel and hedge maze. But Danny keeps seeing disturbing visions of creepy twins, "redrum" and rivers of blood. And Jack is quickly falling into the sway of the Overlook, becoming more violent and vicious towards his wife and son...
One thing to keep in mind about "The Shining" is that... well, it's a TERRIBLE adaptation. Had this movie been made by Joe Director instead of the great Stanley Kubrick, it would probably have been despised for how much of the original novel was discarded -- in particular, how much of the supernatural elements were cut out completely... just so Kubrick could insert his OWN supernatural elements.
It feels like Kubrick liked a one-sentence summary of the movie ("Writer stays in a haunted hotel with his family, goes insane and tries to kill them"), but had contempt for the original story (presumably because it's mere pulp horror). This gives "The Shining" a peculiar unevennness -- some parts are pure King, others are pure Kubrick.
Taken purely on its own merits, "The Shining" is an excellent psychological thriller -- lots of icy, eerie atmosphere, with pale light and cold, echoing rooms. Kubrick fills every scene with a feeling of tension building just under the surface until it erupts into blood and screams. The story is rather slow-moving until the ax-swinging climax, but Torrance's legendary rampage is definitely worth seeing.
However, the casting of Jack Nicholson was a mistake. Jack Torrance starts as an ordinary man, but is slowly devoured from within by his demons and resentments. The problem is... Nicholson already looks evil. He ALWAYS looks evil. He is incapable of NOT looking evil. So when he is turned into a sinister cackling lunatic by the Overlook, it doesn't really feel like much has actually changed.
The rest of the cast is pretty solid, though -- Duvall gives a fluttering, weepy performance here, but she does give the impression that Wendy has some guts. Lloyd gives a decent performance as Danny, and Crothers is waaaaayyy underused as the kindly psychic chef... who inexplicably can't see Jack coming. I still don't understand that.
"The Shining" is a very good psychological thriller on its own, but ends up feeling uneven and weird because of the bizarrely unfaithful way it was adapted. Very creepy, but a really bad adaptation.
on June 17, 2004
Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING (1980) is a cinematic marvel. Visually stunning, emotionally disturbing, it throws everything at you but the kitchen sink---and purposely attempts to explain almost nothing. Kubrick directed this filmic adaptation of the Stephen King bestseller with his finetoothed artistic brush; his genius as a director always coming from his genius as a photographer. However, this didn't stop his film from raising a firestorm of controversy ever since Kubrick began principal photography in 1979. Starting with the author himself, Stephen King was most displeased over the immense amount of changes Kubrick made to his story. When the movie was finally finished and released in 1980, it received cheers & jeers in roughly equal amounts, from critics to Stephen King fans.
I can see both sides to the controversy. What Stanley Kubrick made was a film *based on* the book of the same name, not a film version of the book itself. Although I believe that most people wrongfully assume that a film treatment of a book *has to* be faithful to it, I will agree that Kubrick changed more than what is normal for a book-to-screen adaptation. In doing so, he crafted a movie that was radically different from the novel. On the other hand, many of Kubrick's changes were for the better, the most notable of them being the hedge maze replacing the hedge animals from the book. Besides the fact that the latter would have been really hard to film back in 1979-80, the former added a new dimension of space, shape and horror to the proceedings. It was made effectively creepy and, of course, with the way Kubrick photographs, gave us a real sense of the vulnerability of the Torrance family, being all alone in the middle of a snow-covered nowhere.
Then there is the acting---brilliant, just brilliant. Jack Nicholson, who had already established himself as one of the most important actors of our time with his very well-deserved 1975 Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of faux-mentally disturbed Randall P. McMurphy in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, here as Jack Torrance created an equally memorable character that has also been enshrined in movie immortality. Shelley Duvall brings an intensity to Wendy Torrance that was perhaps under-emphasized in the book. Six-year-old Danny Lloyd, in his debut to his very brief film career (he would only do one other film after this one), is compulsively watchable as five-year-old Danny Torrance and completely commands our attention every time he's onscreen. Finally, 70-year-old Scatman Crothers as head cook Dick Hallorann, who shares the terrible gift of clairvoyance with Danny, gives what is probably the most memorable performance in his long and distinguished career.
Yes, there are flaws, most notably the fact that Jack Torrance is made to go off the wall too soon into the film. In the book, it was a gradual incorporation of the hotel's evil spirit; perhaps too slow, but in the movie it happens so fast that we don't get any time to actually *sympathise* with his plight. But the film works on so many visual levels that it can be forgiven for its lack of character development. Be forewarned about showing this to your kids: THE SHINING is a rare phenomenon in that it's much bloodier and gorier than the book; usually it's the other way around with Stephen King books. THE SHINING may not be perfect, but it is nevertheless a Horror classic, a Stanley Kubrick classic and a Jack Nicholson classic---and it leaves us with a final shot that is as haunting as it is thought-provoking.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED; AGES 15 & UP
on May 29, 2004
This might just as well be the scariest movie of ALL time. I watched this with a couple of friends at 11:00pm at a sleepover party. And lets just say, there was tons of screaming, swearing, and crying. In my opioion and I can say for my friends aswell, if anyone else took the place of Jack Nicholson in this movie, it would be a complete bore.
Upon arrival at the Overlook hotel, Jack Torrence and his family they are warmly welcomed by Dick Hollaran, the Kitchen Cook. Dick has a secret power, and little does Danny know, that he posseses the same power, the ability to know things before they happen. According to Mr. Holloran, this secret power is called The Shining. When Jack Torrence is tormented by the deceased spirits of the last caretakers of the hotel, did I mention that they are spending the winter at the hotel to look over it?, he slowly starts to transform from his fatherly ways of living, and turns into a crazed maniac who is determined to slaughter his family, as did Mr. Mcgrady, the previous caretaker. Inspite of Danny's secret message that he keeps speaking to his mother, REDRUM, Mrs. Torrence continues to try and help her husband in anyways possiable. But when she relizes what is happening, and what the true meaning of RedRum is, she will stop at nothing to save Danny, and get the hell out of The Overlook Hotel.
on April 23, 2004
The scariest is, of course, the original version of The Haunting. But The Shining comes very, very close.
Reading the reviews here is a clue to what makes The Shining so special. Most of the negative posters seem bored by the movie (as well as unable to spell or construct a complex sentence). It's not a movie for children or those with a child's attention span. One example: the scene where Jack and the hallucinated bartender have their first conversation lasts for over five minutes; we keep waiting for some sort of shocker (e.g. the bartender turns around and has no face, or something like that). Instead, Kubrick keeps the scene disturbingly normal, brilliantly allowing Jack's delusional paranoia to feed on itself, which of course is the real horror of the movie. This kind of patience and craft is lost on those used to more pedestrian gorefests, but for those who appreciate subtlety and humor along with sheer mounting terror, it's just one high spot in a movie filled with them.
on April 3, 2004
What can I say, besides, this movie is awesome! Despite being over 2 and a half hours long, it never gets boring for a second. Jack Nicholson is awesome and plays the ultimate madman.
The only thing about this movie, if you want to compare it to the Stephen King book "The Shining" is that this movie is quite a bit different than the book, but that doesn't matter. I'm rating this as a movie, not as a comparison to the book.
Jack's madness seems to be attributed to cabin fever (although spending the winter alone with Shelley Duvall would be enough to drive me insane), and partially to the hotel's ghosts, which apparently can be blamed on the fact that the hotel was built on an indian burial ground.
The acting, by all involved in the movie, was superb. The score is incredibly eerie and fit perfectly in this movie? Special effects? There weren't many, but that just proves that a movie can be scary as heck without them! The hotel itself has a scary look to it too, and isn't the type of place I would feel comfortable being alone in on a dark, stormy night. Just an awesome atmosphere.
The t.v. version of The Shining is worth checking out and is much more faithful to the book, but Kubrick's version is far more effective and entertaining! Your girlfriend or wife will be clinging to you the whole movie! Guaranteed!
on March 10, 2004
The title of my review once haunted my fragile childhood like no other phrase. I saw this movie for the first time when I was 13, and sharing the same name as the boy in the film, it is little wonder why this movie scared the life out of me! The style of the film, with its minimalistic use of music and the cinematographer's use of wide-angle shots to give a sense of open space, make for an interesting experience. Not to mention this movie has "Jack." I once heard that Stephen King hated this rendition of his popular novel, but I think that the story is more visceral and terrifying without the overdose of the supernatural that his novel is prone to. This film is a ghost story by film's end, but a journey into madness along the way. There are some over-the-top moments meant to invoke terror. Like the "Here's Johnny!" scene, or when Danny is riding through the halls on his big-wheel and turns a corner to find twin girls staring at him and chanting, "Come and play with us, Danny. You can play with us forever...and ever...and ever..." But some are simply too much to swallow. Like Shelley Duvall running through the hotel looking for her son and encountering all the hauntings. Of those scenes, only one works. It's the scene when the elevator opens in slow-motion and blood flows from the compartment filling the hallway. Anyway, if you love Jack, then this movie is essential viewing. An interesting side-note: I watched this film again recently and I found myself looking at the film from Jack's perspective instead of the little boy's. I found that to be equally unsettling. Overall, this is very creepy, and a worthy edition to any Horror film collection.
on February 9, 2004
This review is going to be a metaphor for the movie, in that the title has little to do with the content, it's overly long, it's repetitive, and people are going to be divided as to whether it's great or just a complete waste of time and talent.
So what's the film about? Is it Jack's slow descent into madness? Well, no, he's a psycho from the start, evinced by Wendy saying in such an obviously ominous way that he once dislocated his son's shoulder in anger. Indeed, his manic grin and arched eyebrows don't become more manic and more arched as the film progresses - it is obvious from the film's opening scenes that he is going snap and try to kill his family. Resultingly, there is no tension whatsoever.
Is it, therefore, about a would-be author suffering writer's block? Well, no, because he spends months writing the exact same words - not the actions and frustrations of a blocked writer, but the behaviour of a psycho. And, again, the frustrations don't develop - all the knobs are turned up to max throughout, so there is no sense of impending disaster.
So is it about a family that falls apart at the seams? Well, no, because the family is never really a family to begin with, so there is no frame of reference - the family is dysfunctional from the offing.
Then is it about a child's burgeoning psychic abilities? Well, no, because other than seeing a couple of ghosts, which both his father and his mother can do, and talking in a silly voice, it adds absolutely nothing to the plot, short of giving it a title and using it to provide a body for Jack to axe.
Therefore it must be about a haunted hotel, right? Well, by now, you probably don't even care, but I'm going to keep going anyway, just as the film does, on and on and on. It's about a haunted hotel in the same way that Ghost Ship is about a ghost ship - an excuse for a couple of cheap thrills and low-brow special effects in an attempt to be 'scary'. And, like Ghost Ship, Stanley Kubrick missed the concept that 'horror' relies upon a sense of dread based upon the human fear of what lies out of sight - the darkness at the end of the passageway, the malevolence that watches from the shadows - and not upon a couple of people in period costume who we assume must be dead.
Now I have to add a sprinkling of pretension, because we find that in every Kubrick film: The movie's lack of inherent humanity, its stale motifs and soporific pace leading to a sudden orgy of Dionysian extravagance, fail to believably convey the essence of a human being struggling to maintain a thread of sanity amidst a vision of dystopianism and an overriding sense of ennui. The symbolism of the empty hotel reflecting the yearning loneliness of the soul that is the human condition, far from validating its own position, serves merely to strengthen the apathetic interactions between the viewer and the screen. The movie therefore acts as the antithesis to its own goals, failing to engage the individual while attempting to elucidate a universal notion of the individual's concept of Self in relation to Other. Furthermore, its utilisation of dichotomies - sane/insane, reality/fantasy, natural/supernatural - fail to resonate upon any level beyond the visual.
If you want a scary, haunted house horror, the original version of The Haunting, based on the Shirley Jackson novel that inspired King and others, is the definitive 20th Century haunted-house-as-basis-for-psychological-thriller. If you want a Kubrick film in which his detached style adds to the plot, rather than detracting from it, watch Full Metal Jacket. If you want a film that puts a human face on trying to keep a family together amidst the supernatural, watch Stir Of Echoes. And if you want to watch a film about a guy who goes psycho in a place of geographical isolation, Dead Calm is a must-see.
And now that that's over, to maintain my metaphor of the film, I need to end this review and leave you feeling unsatisfied, confused, and a little annoyed: Frank Sinatra sang about flying to the moon, but he died. The end.