We’re at the middle of an all out Stephen King renaissance where, once again, he is a hot item in Hollywood. Many of his short stories and novels are being adapted in to big, acclaimed projects, and we’re even getting second stabs at “The Stand” and a third stab at “Salem’s Lot.” With “Doctor Sleep” on the way, and Hollywood opening the scope of King’s writing for films or television, there is an inevitable remake of “The Shining” coming. But until then, fans of Kubrick’s loose cinematic adaptation can now invest in the 4K edition of the horror masterpiece.
Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, a writer and ex-alcoholic who, out of desperation, takes a job at the massive Stanley Hotel. Bringing along wife Wendy, and son Danny, Jack signs up become the hotel’s caretaker for the winter. While there he also hopes to complete his newest novel. But as cabin fever, and isolation take its toll, Jack begins to become unhinged as he’s tormented by the horrific ghosts of the hotel’s violent past. As Jack embraces the inherent evil, Danny must figure out how to stop him and the hotel’s power with his ability known as “The Shining.”
Kubrick’s film has its detractors, including Stephen King who is never shy about expressing hatred for it. But as a film about a man who embraces his deeper urges for abuse, alcoholism and pure rotten evil, “The Shining” is still a remarkable film. Kubrick masterfully crafts a movie that is also an intricate puzzle, and the more you watch it, the more you’re bound to catch a lot of details and Easter eggs that you couldn’t quite catch before. Kubrick’s film only seems to improve with age, as he adds something in almost every nook and cranny of the film that has been the cause of so much analysis and fan speculation.
“The Shining” is an unnerving character piece, with a slow boil pacing that explodes in to a fury of violence and some classic horror movie moments. If you’ve yet to see “The Shining” it certainly warrants a viewing for any horror buff. If you’ve already seen it, what’s the harm in seeing it again? The new 4K release is stunning bringing more detail and vibrancy to the picture presentation. Warner chose to present the film ion 1.78:1 aspect ratio and it looks excellent, especially in a film where picture detail is everything. The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track replacing the 2007 LPCM 5.1 track from the 2007 Blu-ray release.
This new release comes with new cover art, the 4K Disc, and a Digital Copy code for consumers. The bonus features are all mainly from the 2007 Warner release from Blu-Ray, save for the theatrical trailer. Every feature is on the Blu-Ray only, save for the audio commentary. There’s an Audio Commentary with Steadicam operator Garrett Brown, and Kubrick biographer John Baxter, both of whom deliver a great audio track. We learn some of the methods and details of Kubrick and his framing as well as how some of the shots were accomplished. It runs nearly two and a half hours and is quite insightful and in depth for fans of the film.
View from the Overlook: Crafting The Shining is a thirty minute look at the film that covers the whole of the film and its legacy. I wish it were so much longer and exhaustive, but it’s very good nevertheless. The Visions of Stanley Kubrick is a seventeen minute look at all of Kubrick’s films and his entire career; it’s not all about “The Shining” but it’s entertaining. The Making of The Shining is a thirty six minute documentary by Kubrick’s daughter, Vivian, who was on the set and made this for the BBC quite a long time ago. To boot, you’re also able to watch this with optional commentary by Vivian Kubrick. Wendy Carlos, Composer is a seven minute chat with the film’s excellent composer and a discussion on her approach to the soundtrack.