Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Shining VS The Shining

                                                                 TALE OF THE TAPE

               Title: The Shining                                                        Title: The Shining
               Tomato Meter: 88%                                                    Tomato Meter: n/a
                IMDB Rating: 8.5                                                        IMDB Rating: 6.0
               Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall                      Starring: Steven Weber, Rebecca De Mornay
               Director: Stanley Kubrick                                            Director: Mick Garris
               Box Office: $44 million                                                Box Office: n/a
               Academy: n/a                                                              Academy: n/a
               Year: 1980                                                                   Year: 1997

A classic film vs a made for tv remake clash in the ring as one of cinema's greatest directors and visionaries puts up a film that is panned by Stephen King purists. The television mini series is more faithful to King's story, but does it pack the same punch. We find out in The Showdown.

In Stanley Kubrick's Shining, audiences are treated to a horror masterpiece. One part ghost story, one part psychological thriller, the Shining becomes a compelling experience that explores the weaknesses of the family structure. In similar films, families come together against a common evil, but here we see the husband and father betray his family as he slowly slips into insanity brought on by the malevolent entity that torments them. Like a master sculpture, Stanley chips away Stephen King's more over-the-top elements such as animal shaped hedges that come to life or imaginary friends from the future, until all that's left is the complete piece. Incredible performances by Jack Nicholson, Scatman Crothers, and young Danny Lloyd propel this film forward at an unrelenting pace. Kubrick's use of music only adds to the overall theme of madness and isolation.

In1997, a made for tv mini-series with a television screenplay from Stephen King himself hit the small screen in an effort to "correct" all that Kubrick left out. Stephen King fans thrilled to the closer to the novel approach that made the Shining such a best seller. Less psychological, this film emphasizes the haunted house aspect of the story.

Sadly, a truth that Stephen King and his fans need to realize, is no novel of his should ever be adapted for television. It is an automatic disqualification. Television has three things that hinder any adaptation. 1) Censorship. Standards and practices will edit for content and incredibly hamstring artistic merit. 2) Commercials. Content aside, it will be edited for time restraints in order to push the latest technology in toothpaste. Plus, commercials just ruing the rhythm and tempo of a film, spoiling the intended experience. 3) Production value. Sorry, but if you're gonna attempt to trump the work of Stanley Kubrick, you have got to do better than pairing off Jack Nicholson against Steven Weber, the guy from "Wings." In fact, it's a wonder why Stephen King chooses to put his classic, and arguably best works, on television. The Stand and It, for example, were completely compelling novels that have been ham-stringed by the rigors and regulations of television adaptation. So for fans of King's vision of the Shining, they are reduced to accepting a sub par film in every respect.

When both fighters enter the ring, it is apparent that the 1997 Shining is way out of its league. With a shattered glass jaw, it goes down in the first round. 

The Winner: Kubrick's The Shining

1 comment:

  1. I consider both good in their own way... The 1980 version is a better movie and just a more polished piece. The 1997 version is a better story and has more character development. You really should have offered more analysis and detail since it seems like almost none is there.