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Does anybody like the Film better than the Book?

Discussion in 'The Shining (1980)' started by TheKaijuProphet89, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. blunthead

    blunthead Well-Known Member

    Despite my being a major Kubrick fan, imho The Shining is a seriously flawed effort, its departure from the novel notwithstanding. Its message seems to be that Nicholson's ability to act crazy is enough.
    mal and kingricefan like this.
  2. SutterKane

    SutterKane Well-Known Member

    It fits right into the Kubrick world, for better or for worse. When people say the Nicholson performance was "Over the Top", your missing the point. Everything Kubrick ever did was over the top. From the Drill Instructor in "Full Metal Jacket" who just CAN'T STOP SCREAMING!!!!, to the Prison guard who looks and acts like Adolf Hitler in "A Clockwork Orange", to the Monkey destroying things with a bone to the tune of epic classical Orchestra music in "2001", every performance I ever saw in a Kubrick film was over the top. That was what he wanted it to be. Kubrick didn't deal with emotions or the heart of a piece, the only film he ever did that even could halfway be considered dramatic was "Paths of Glory" and that was back in the 50's, other then that he wanted to make films that were Darkly comedic and looked great visually. King should have viewed "A Clockwork Orange" or "Dr. Strangelove" before he agreed to let him do it in the first place (although I'm not sure how much say so he had in such things back then).

    King just picked the wrong movie to stand up and go against because Kubrick's legacy in film is Iconic and has only grown since his death. Whether you loved or hated his work, it was incredibly unique, there was never nor will there ever be again, a director that made films like this, so when you see King take a stand and say he hates this while approving of the Mick Garris TV version, it rubs people the wrong way.
    mal likes this.
  3. prufrock21

    prufrock21 Well-Known Member

    The book is so brilliant, the characterizations so vibrant and textured, that not even Jack Nicholson and Stanley Kubrick could do it justice.
    mal and kingricefan like this.
  4. Walter Oobleck

    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    Could be worse...I just read Heartsnatcher by Boris Vian (1920-1959)...and in the About the Author at the back: ...Vian's greatest success--and greatest curse--was J'irai cracher sur vos tombes (I Spit on Your Graves)...in 1959 Vian was involved in a project to adapt the novel into a movie, until a series of artistic differences led to his removal from the project. Tragically, Boris Vian attended the movie's premiere, where he reportedly stood up during the opening scenes and yelled, "These guys are supposed to be Americans? My ass!" just before dying of a heart attack. He was 39 at the time of his death. I believe Vian had heart issues from a young age. We'd have no Black Thirteen.

    I found Jack as King Lear in both novel and movie...a man more sinned against than sinning...misunderstood by family...the spiral down...The Shining was my first exposure to anything King, the movie, way back when...and I left the theatre satisfied, as I believe everyone felt who attended that showing. A movie can tell things a story cannot and a story can tell things a movie cannot. Seems silly to compare and contrast the two...they're not the same thing.
    mal, Neesy and FlakeNoir like this.
  5. Flat Matt

    Flat Matt Deleted User

    I've just watched the film for the very first time (yes, really) and I can see why Stephen King dislikes it.

    Don't get me wrong, it's a good horror film, but it is very much of its time. It's a little corny and the overacting is spectacularly bad in places. I must give a special mention to Wendy for her open-mouthed/bulging eyes goldfish impersonation. The only performance I really liked was that of Delbert Grady (you can always rely on us British to play the slightly eccentric and unhinged bad guys).;-D

    The one positive of the film was the omission of the topiary animals. They were the only part of the book that I didn't like. I'm scared by things that seem plausible, and Stephen usually does that really well, but hedges coming to life is a step too far for me. That's not a criticism, it's just a personal taste.

    The real problem with the film is that it deviates from the book far too much and the characters are as flat as my grandmother's tits. Stephen summed it up perfectly when he said that Jack Torrance is supposed to be a sane man driven mad by the hotel, but Kubrick's Jack Torrance starts off mad and stays mad. There is almost no character development at all, and in allowing that to happen, Kubrick completely misses the point of the story. Again, the relationship between Danny and Hallorann is almost non-existent in the film and I didn't find the film version of Tony particularly convincing either.

    As two stand-alone works, the film and the book are both very good, but when you compare one against the other, Stephen King's version of The Shining is a class apart.
    mal, Maddie, SharonC and 3 others like this.
  6. CriticAndProud

    CriticAndProud What's wrong with Idris?


    I need to use that phrase more in conversation.
  7. Damocles

    Damocles Member

    The Kubrick movie based (very loosely) on The Shining is watchable. Nicholson did not descend into madness, he was a section 4 right from the off. The heart of the book is Jack`s slide into madness. Now this is my first day on this site and I hope the following will not make it my last. The remake with Weber and DeMornay Jesus wept! Neither can act and they do it so well. Nicholson would have nuked those wasps and that would be that. Weber and DeMornay nuked whatever plot the movie had. Doc goes missing an alarming amount of times in the first 15 minutes at the Overlook. Each time Jack, Wendy and Halloran look more an more surprised. Doc is on the sh**er with locked door and foaming mouth. When Doc comes round Jack bashes his son`s head off the porcelain. There is no need for an Overlook with Weber. He is a natural disaster with or without booze. When shown the freezer Wendy thrall all with her acumen by announcing "Enough to feed an army" Its a hotel you stupid blonde bitch! OK folks, rant over.:beat_chest:
    mal, Flat Matt and kingricefan like this.
  8. not_nadine

    not_nadine Comfortably Roont

    What Neil said.
    mal and kingricefan like this.
  9. not_nadine

    not_nadine Comfortably Roont

    mal and kingricefan like this.
  10. krwhiting

    krwhiting Well-Known Member

    I love the movie. A lot. I find it terrifying. Not scary, as in it makes me frightened for myself (the book It did that to me and a few short stories did too, and only a couple of movies in my entire life have done that to me), but terrifying in the sense that I feared for the characters in the movie and was fully invested in their survival. I read the book before I'd seen the movie. And I firmly remember thinking at the time, years ago, late 80s, that the book was superior. But I also find it hard to compare them. In fact, I have trained myself, over the years, to not compare them. For example, I love Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. I've read them through twice and many of them multiple times. They are little masterpieces. No visual representation will ever equal to me the experience I've enjoyed reading them. But, the Jeremy Brett films are also wonderful little masterpieces of film-making that I thoroughly love and enjoy (so much so that I have them on dvd; and an added benefit is that my wife, who will never read Doyle also loves the dvds). They are different pleasures to me. I've taught myself to enjoy books as, to me, a vastly superior art form, but not to let that keep me from fully enjoying movies and shows as a different art form. To me a lesser one. But to most people that isn't the case. They see it differently and I'm ok with that. I enjoy both.

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  11. Ceefor

    Ceefor Well-Known Member

    I like both of them.
    mal, kingricefan and GNTLGNT like this.
  12. Connor B

    Connor B Well-Known Member

    I'm still reading King's novel. I know, I'm a slow reader, so sue me. I agree that both the original novel and Kubrick's film are worlds apart in many respects, but on the other hand, I love them both to death. I actually saw the film before I began reading the book, so my conception of the characters may be more than a little tainted; as radically different in personality as he is from the novel's version of the character, Jack Nicholson's performance is so iconic and memorable that I can't help but see him in the novel.

    As a director, Kubrick didn't really like people much, and it shows in his filmography. It's a telling moment that the first thing an ape does with his newfound intelligence in 2001: A Space Odyssey is to utilize a bone as a weapon for hunting and killing. That tendency towards misanthropy carries over to Kubrick's Shining. With many of his sympathetic qualities downplayed or removed altogether, the central question regarding Jack Torrance is not if he's going to descend into madness, but when. There are hints to the troubled, moody alcoholic from the novel, but Kubrick's par-for-the-course detachment keeps us away. There is a dearth of warmth in the film in the treatment of the Torrance family and their plight. We never or hear from Tony. We never delve into Jack or Wendy's backstories, which I think are critical components of their personalities. People in Stanley's movies are usually just cyphers. Don't get me wrong, I love Stanley Kubrick. He's one of my biggest influences, alongside King, but he's definitely not for everyone's tastes. He's very cerebral, his films, like David Lynch, often puzzling, and at the same time captivating.
    mal, Maddie, doowopgirl and 2 others like this.
  13. not_nadine

    not_nadine Comfortably Roont

    I'm sorry that you read the novel with Jack Nicholson character in your head.
    Have you ever seen the mini-series with Steven Weber as Jack? It's quite good and more true to the novel , once you get over the kid playing Danny.
  14. mymaria

    mymaria Sower of discord

    I can't really compare the 2. I saw the movie first and as a horror movie, without comparing, it was really good. The book was also quite good.

    Somehow, it seems that seeing the movie first and then reading the book is a better for me. I seem to be better able to enjoy each on it's own merit that way.
    kingricefan, mal, Spideyman and 2 others like this.
  15. doowopgirl

    doowopgirl very avid fan

    I used to think the film was scary as hell. Different from the book, but scary in it's own way. Sadly, after e recent viewing of the film, it just didn't hold up. Jack Nicholsons mincing just annoyed me.
    kingricefan, Doc Creed, mal and 2 others like this.
  16. mal

    mal Well-Known Member

    If you are connecting the book and the movie then I like the book better. On it's own, without comparing it to the book, I loved that movie and think of it as one of the great celluloid classics! It was visually stunning and scary as hell. IMHOTEP.
  17. Doc Creed

    Doc Creed Well-Known Member

    :rofl: So true.
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  18. mymaria

    mymaria Sower of discord

    All I have to say about the miniseries vs the movie is that while the series was definitely more faithful to the book, I watched it more recently than the movie and I hardly remember it, but I remember the movie quite well.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...understandable...the movie has some, by now, iconic imagery and acting....it just wasn't a very good adaptation.....
    kingricefan, Doc Creed and 80sFan like this.
  20. 80sFan

    80sFan Just one more chapter...

    Kubrick's version is one of my favorite movies ever. King's novel is one of my favorite books ever.
    The film does not do the book justice (then again, movies so rarely do) but in its own right, I consider it a classic masterpiece.
    I have not seen (and will not go out of my way to see) the TV version so I can't offer an opinion on that.
    kingricefan, Doc Creed and GNTLGNT like this.

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