After a deadly plague kills most of the world's population, the remaining survivors split into two groups - one led by a benevolent elder and the other by a maleficent being - to face each other in a final battle between good and evil.
During the midst of a brutal blizzard, residents of an off-shore village are menaced by a powerful force of darkness in the form of a sinister stranger who begins to exploit the town ... See full summary »
Becky Ann Baker,
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Television adaptation of Stephen King novel that follows a recovering alcoholic professor. He ends up taking a job as a winter caretaker for a remote Colorado hotel which he seeks as an opportunity to finish a piece of work. With his wife and son with him, the caretaker settles in, only to see visions of the hotel's long deceased employees and guests. With evil intentions, they manipulate him into his dark side which takes a toll on he and his family. Written by
I'm shocked at how vehemently opposed everyone seems to be to whichever version of Stephen King's classic tale they deem less worthy of viewing. The fact is, both interpretations are excellent, but comparing the two seems totally fruitless to me, because as cinematic works, they represent two completely different stylistic and dramatic approaches.
"The Shining" (1980) -------------------- Of course this is a classic, and the cinematography and direction are unmatched. Jack Nicholson defined this role, which is why they had trouble casting someone with the audacity to play the haunted Jack Torrance after Nicholson had stamped such an indellible signature on the character. The music, the lighting, and the general atmosphere all amount to a haunting and marvelously executed movie. But what I felt this version lacked was a coherent storyline. Some of the dialogue and character interactions seem poorly executed at best, and no real background is given to the characters. I can't feel for these characters, they're wooden and two-dimensional. And the character of Danny, integral to the impact of the story, was nothing more than a plot device here. He is totally over the top, and doesn't seem to exhude a true gamut of emotions in a very demanding role.. This doesn't feel like a loving family with real issues, whose henpecked patriarch is battling dark forces to maintain his sanity. I feel like there was no real character development at all, because Jack Torrance seemed almost criminally insane from the beginning. But what Nicholson's portrayal lacked in subtlety and depth, it made up for in intensity and screen presence, albeit a bit hammy at times.
Stephen King's "The Shining" (1997) ----------------------------------- As the title proclaims, this is Stephen King's film. His true vision of a snowbound family at odds with demonic spirits, and eachother. Competently directed, although not as visually breath-taking as the original. As mentioned before, there is some usage of the old hackneyed horror film stand-bys and "shock" devices, but while not as flamboyant as the original, the acting, character development, and narrative structure are far superior. Here is where we finally get depth and dimension. Courtland Mead makes the character of Danny come brilliantly to life. This kid isn't just plodding over stale lines by rote and playing with an imaginary finger-puppet, 70's Bee Gee-esque mullet and all. This little guy is acting! He's actually doing a competent job of performing this role! And as for the role of the ill-fated Jack Torrance, the greatest part that nobody wanted, a richly-textured, complex, and pleasantly surprising piece of work by sitcom actor Steven Weber. An interpretation of the character that matches King's original vision immaculately. We can actually sympathize with his character now. He isn't a psychotic rage-aholic who just grows more psychotic every day, he's a loving father battling his addiction to booze, whose descent into madness is slow, intense, brutally frightening, and completely believable. By the end of part three, he has become the most horrifying appirition one can behold on ABC. And while the picture as a whole could have probably been executed with more pathos on HBO, the dramatic content contained in these 4 1/2 hours far outweighs the obvious censorship and budgetary limitations placed on the show.
Both films have their peaks and valleys, and I'd advise everybody who watches the remake to not go in expecting something like the Kubrick film, but a completely different animal. With an open mind, you may find you love them both.
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