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Thursday 1 November 2012

Burl reviews The Shining! (1980)

He-e-e-e-ere’s Burl! Ha ha, it’s me, back finally with another review of a horror classic! I have a long history with the story of The Shining, since before the movie was made even! My schoolteacher in some very early grade, perhaps four, perhaps five, read the book to us in short installments over the year! I remember really enjoying it, though I’m not sure about the rest of the class!
Famously, of course, Stephen King was mighty disappointed in the movie, calling it “a big beautiful Cadillac of a movie with nothing under the hood,” or words to that effect! I can understand his chagrin, to a degree anyway, but I think he was too close to his own novel to be able to distinguish the book from the movie as clearly as might be required to fully appreciate Stanley Kubrick’s effort! Ha ha, I’ll bet he started to appreciate it a little more after Firestarter and Children of the Corn and The Lawnmower Man came out, though!
But Kubrick, famous for movies like Killer’s Kiss and Full Metal Jacket, undeniably took some liberties with King’s novel! I can only imagine how crushed the poor bearded author was when he saw Jack Torrance leap out with that axe and nail poor Dick Hallorann right in the parka! Or when he realized that the hotel’s frondescent threat would be a simple hedge maze and not ambulatory topiary animals! Or when Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, appeared well on his way to crazy right from day dot!
The maze, I think, was an improvement over the book, and the living hedge creatures would likely have been too much for the trick effects teams of the day, even the team Kubrick would have assembled! Ha ha, it was certainly too much for the makers of the TV movie remake, and they even had CGI capabilities! But I was very sad to see old Dick Hallorann buy the biscuit! I wanted Kubrick to show them all relaxing at the pool in Florida at the very end, just like in the book!
I’ve seen this picture a few times now, ha ha! What really struck me this go round was how impressive the sets were! Boy oh boy, those must have cost a pretty penny to make! I can’t blame Kubrick for wanting to shoot fifty or sixty takes of each shot, although I have heard that he wore out poor Scatman Crothers at one point, and that I can’t condone! He was getting on in years at that point, but at least he hadn’t made that rat picture Deadly Eyes yet! That was still in his future!
I’ll just say that I think this is a really fine adaptation of a book I also like, and I for one am content to have two very different takes on this story! The movie has great photography, a really brilliant use of music, great performances all around, even from young Danny, and many creepy scenes! Those two girls sure were eerie, ha ha! Come play with us, Danny! I give The Shining three and a half crash zooms into Redrum!

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