Reviewed Aug 13, 2012
Steve Grzesiak’s review:
I think that The Shining is, outside of one of its major plot points, a pretty good name for this film. It's a shining example of why no filmmaker should feel obliged to as closely mirror a book as possible when doing an adaptation.
When Stanley Kubrick released The Shining, Stephen King famously decried it, saying that it hardly resembled his novel at all. Quite often since then people have suggested that King simply does not understand cinema, an opinion that is hardly helped by his one directorial foray (Maximum Overdrive, which I love despite its utter incompetence) and his endorsement of the ridiculous ending tacked on to the adaptation of The Mist.
But maybe, just maybe, he saw something with The Shining that not a great deal of people actually saw back in 1980. After all, this was a film that was not particularly well received critically back then and even troubled The Razzies. I just wonder to this day whether King saw the true genius of what Kubrick had created and could see one of his best novels to that point about to be overshadowed by what would go on to be regarded as quite possibly the greatest horror movie ever created.
It's possible. Unlikely, but possible. After all, much of King's criticism has never been about the quality of the film (even though any praise has always been grudging of what Kubrick had created) but more about the lack of resemblance to his original story. Maybe he was trying to cover some tracks and trying desperately to bring the focus back on to his creation? It can be the only excuse for the dreadful TV mini-series adaptation that he was the driving force behind in the mid-90s.
Arguments about adaptations of stories are a regular bugbear of mine. But those who share my opinion that filmmakers should do whatever they want with source material to try and make a great film will always win - because of The Shining.
ADDENDUM - I reviewed The Shining again a few months later and focused on the two different cuts as well as some general plot points in the film.