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Overall Rating
2.4

Awesome: 8%
Worth A Look: 18%
Average: 14%
Pretty Bad: 26%
Total Crap34%

2 reviews, 38 user ratings


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Shining, The (1997)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Faithfulness does not equal quality. Exhibit A: this thing."
2 stars

Stephen King didn't care for Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of his novel 'The Shining,' so he decided to write his own adaptation 17 years later. This version is more faithful to the book six hours (with commercials) of lugubrious, slavish faithfulness.

Six hours? Shit, wasn't The Stand eight hours? And that book was, like, fifty times as long as The Shining. How could they get three nights' worth of story out of an average-length novel? They couldn't; the damn thing dawdles like Scatman Crothers coming to the rescue in the Kubrick film.

ABC gave carte blanche to King, though, because The Stand had been a ratings bonanza. That's also why that miniseries' director, Mick Garris, was asked back for this one. Naturally, the question arises: How does the Garris version compare with the Kubrick version? You mean aside from being pretty well unmemorable and bereft of fright? Well, Steven Weber makes a more naturalistic, likable, and human Jack Torrance than Jack Nicholson did, and Rebecca De Mornay turns in a much stronger and warmer Wendy than Shelley Duvall was allowed to contribute. The scenes in the book wherein we're supposed to sense love between the Torrances -- the better to mourn that love when it's challenged later -- are enacted far better here than they ever were under Kubrick, who had other things on his mind.

Lest I be impugned for saying the guy from Wings gives a better performance than Jack Nicholson, I'm not; I'm saying Weber's Jack Torrance is closer to the novel's Jack Torrance. Given this to work with, Weber makes us care; and therefore, when Jack begins to lose his shit, Weber is able to dig into a disturbing and saddening downward spiral. Nicholson's performance, highly entertaining and iconic on its own, was stylized from the get-go and offered little or no contrast between Sane Jack and Axe-Swinging Jack.

There's nothing in the Garris version to top the peerlessly bone-chilling "Come and play with us, Danny" bit in the Kubrick film. Doesn't even come close; hardly even tries. There are many, many cameos to tickle horror fans, though, including King himself. And if Weber and De Mornay make a more credible book-Jack and book-Wendy, the others in the new cast falter. Courtland Mead, who plays Danny this time, is more outgoing and verbal than Kubrick's Danny, and is also borderline annoying. I prefer Danny Lloyd's grave, near-catatonic performance in the original. And Melvin Van Peebles as Halloran doesn't make us forget Scatman Crothers, who had a genuine, unforced warmth that the one-time director of Sweet Sweetback's Baad Asssss Song can't duplicate.

ABC's reward for springing for this miniseries was relatively low ratings, plus a gag order on King preventing him from dissing the Kubrick film in promotional interviews for the miniseries. It's believed that Kubrick (and by extension, I presume, the Kubrick estate) did not care for the idea of The Shining being done again, and that this may be why the miniseries took so long to see a home-video release in the U.S.

"Shining '97" is best seen if seen at all as a curiosity, an alternate-universe take wherein bad old Stan never existed and good ol' Steve was allowed to adapt his novel exactingly. But it's not a "Shining" you're likely to watch more than once.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6687&reviewer=416
originally posted: 12/29/06 15:12:59
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Horror Remakes: For more in the Horror Remakes series, click here.

User Comments

4/18/14 Bridget I could understand Danny Lloyd when he spoke at least! 3 stars
4/04/14 Bridget Hainline I couldn't understand Danny because actor Courtland Mead sounds like he has a bad cold 3 stars
12/11/12 Nellie Better than the 1980 version! 5 stars
8/18/10 Jason more true ot the book, but boring alot of the time.. shouldnt have been 6 hours 3 stars
6/14/10 randy h Hey everybody, what's-his-name is right: This Is Not A ReMake. It's a separate version. 3 stars
1/14/09 Shaun Wallner Very Boring! 1 stars
12/05/08 Rich This is what the film should have been all along. The other one was made up crap 5 stars
7/16/08 Farnsy BORING 2 stars
3/20/08 Ocrilat It would be difficult to make a spoof of the original Shining more (unintentionally) funny 2 stars
12/14/07 Phantom Lord Kubrick is an over rated WANK! Apart from the absence of Nicholson this is the better movie 4 stars
6/08/07 Simon Mc It's not a remake. It's an adaptation of the novel, and as such works pretty well. 4 stars
6/07/07 Tom Briggs A travesty of a film, entertaining like a car accident 1 stars
12/29/06 Jennifer Raven not as good as the first, some remakes are good, not this one 2 stars
12/09/06 Ron not a bad remake, but how do you really replace Jack Nickolson? 4 stars
11/20/06 chris. how can you expect much from one of the worst actors on wings?? 1 stars
9/17/06 JLRoberson "Piece. Of Shit. That's all you need to know." --Bill Hicks. 1 stars
7/14/06 David Cohen Jack in AA? Tony is a teen-ager? And Courtland Mead garbbles his lines. A big mess! 2 stars
6/08/06 Peggy Doty scary but good 5 stars
11/04/05 Meryl I love this movie way more than the original, perhaps because King is cooler than Kubrick. 5 stars
9/12/05 Total Crap Scary Bathtub lady. But that's it. Nothing compared to Kubrick's. 1 stars
9/01/05 Eden Either watch Kubricks brilliant but unfaithful version, or read the book. Forget this 1 stars
12/07/04 gerbilerba Well, Wendy is much hotter but this reeks of all that is unholy 2 stars
10/23/04 Mephisto Bwahahahaha.... 2 stars
10/20/04 bridget williams It's not his best but it was still good I give it a 4 4 stars
7/10/04 JLRoberson Awful, awful, oh my god so awful. 1 stars
4/22/04 Lord Durvok 2 Why does everyone hate this? 4 stars
3/23/04 Trannon Goble It's ok-- the original smokes this turkey. 3 stars
2/13/04 Dr.Lecter A complete, sappy joke. Pathetic 1 stars
1/26/04 Eric Except for Jack I like the cast and story bettethan the First one.Worth having both 4 stars
11/27/03 John a soap opera in a deserted hotel and not a horror film 1 stars
11/07/03 Samuel Didn't even come close to Kubrick's 3 stars
11/06/03 American Slasher Goddess Not as scary as Kubrick's film, but it is much more faithful to King's book. 4 stars
10/19/03 Jen Good film. 4 stars
10/10/03 Erik Van Sant Danny became a wood-chuck. That kid is un-watchable. Fucking terrible. 1 stars
9/22/03 Darryl Respectable performance from Weber. What rock was that hideous kid pulled out from under? 3 stars
7/03/03 Dr. Isaksson Crappy TV Movie of week stock, but Kubrick's wasn't too good either. So... 2 stars
7/03/03 John Linton Roberson Boring. Redundant. Long. Pointless. 1 stars
3/08/03 Jack Sommersby Better realized and acted than Kubrick's folly. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  27-Apr-1997 (NR)

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