The Shining (1980)


The Shining (1980) movie poster

director Stanley Kubrick
viewed: 07/25/2015

I’d last watched The Shining over a decade ago.  This viewing of the horror classic was spurred by my son’s interest in Stanley Kubrick, which began a short while back when I took him to see A Clockwork Orange (1971).  He’d since gone and watched Full Metal Jacket (1986) on his own (a film I’ve been meaning to re-watch for a while).

The Shining is a brilliant movie, no matter what Stephen King thinks.  In a lot of ways, it seems to do what movies fail to do these days: diverge successfully from the source material and create something entirely their own as well.  I’ve never read the King novel, but I’ve read a brief analysis of the film’s divergence from the original material.  I guess my response is: “Who cares?”

Brilliant as it is, it still has some quirks and flaws.  But it’s a mesmerizing, amazingly-photographed masterpiece.  The last time I wrote about it, I mentioned the oft-cited and radically innovative steadicam work, the amazing axe-swinging shots that follow the movement of the blows, and the amazing set that is the Overlook Hotel.  In the 12 years since I last wrote about it, the internet has made information more readily available.  It’s quite amazing to realize that most of the film is shot on a sound stage in London.  The amazing interiors are all sets.  While the original hotel that was used for the exteriors was shot in Estes Park, CO and is often referred to, the larger reality of the stunning locations are pure artifice.  Pure and amazing artifice.

I watched The Shining with both of my kids.  We’ve certainly been watching some material that might be considered dubious for a tween and a young teen, but when I asked my daughter what she thought about it, she was quite impressed by the film but said that it wasn’t the kind of thing that scared her or gave her nightmares.

Unlike, perhaps, a generation ago.

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