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Review of The Shining mini-series

Discussion in 'The Shining (1997)' started by Neil W, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. Neil W

    Neil W Well-Known Member

    Let's face facts, this miniseries suffers simply by virtue of being a miniseries. It is underbudgeted, underdirected, and to some extent watered down by virtue of the fact that it is intended for TV transmission. Kubrick's version has much greater production values and is more slickly produced.

    But Kubrick's version tells Kubrick's story, and that is about a man on the edge of madness, who hates his family, tipped over the edge by the malevolence of the Overlook.

    The miniseries tells King's story, the tragedy of a good, sane, but weak man, who loves his family, corrupted into betraying them - possessed, even - by the malevolence of the Overlook.
    It is this central relationship between Jack and his family which marks the difference between the two versions, and it is of such vast significance that, quite frankly, the two different versions are actually different stories which share some of the same trimmings.

    King's story has a poignant beauty. Kubrick's story is hateful.

    Unfortunately, the child playing Danny is simply indescribably unsuitable for the part.
  2. Shoesalesman

    Shoesalesman Well-Known Member

    I thought the '97 series was pretty darn good.
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  3. DanishReader

    DanishReader Well-Known Member

    I prefer the miniseries over Kubrick's version anytime. I also think that this miniseries is Mick Garris' best work, at least when it comes to King material.
  4. skimom2

    skimom2 Just moseyin' through...

    I agree that the weakness of this movie was it being a miniseries. Presumably shot to make up even episodes, it felt like there was at least a half hour of pointless atmosphere shots. Not loving the child actor either, but kids are notoriously terrible to work with (the kid on Kubrick's version was just as grating).

    This was a stronger script than Kubrick's version, however. The tension builds at a more even pace (despite the obligatory time-eating atmosphere shots), hitting the notes it needed to hit with more realism.

    I can't say enough good about Rebecca DeMornay and Mario Van Peebles--both played their characters much truer to Mr. King's headpeople--but the highest praise has to go to Steven Weber. He nailed the character of Jack; his pain, his hope, his deep love for his family. It's excruciating, yet beautiful, to watch the way his character evolves from beginning to end, as the Overlook tightens it's grip on him. The scene near the end where
    he has Danny trapped in the upstairs hall, right before he has his last flash of the real Jack
    is one of the most unsettling and scary things I've ever seen on TV. I'm a pretty laid back mom about what my kids watch, but The Shining is still verboten for my LilMan, largely based on that scene.
  5. RichardX

    RichardX Well-Known Member

    I had remembered this one as being bad but had largely forgotten it. Watched a few minutes of it on Encore this weekend and couldn't believe just how awful this was. Elliot Gould may have been the biggest ham in the history of TV in his brief scenes. They should have a cult following. It was fall on the floor and laugh material. A total disaster. Time has not been kind to this one. I realize a lot of King fans, including King himself, had issues with the Kubrick movie. But comparing the two is brutal. That is not an entirely fair comparison due to budget and actors, but this miniseries was like an Ed Wood film. I did like Rebecca DeMornay although I thought she was Traci Lords from her Tommyknockers period until I looked it up. They look almost identical.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2014
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  6. Dana Jean

    Dana Jean Dirty Pirate Hooker Moderator

    I thought Steven Weber did a brilliant and equally terrific job as Jack Nicholson. I loved him. Rebecca left Shelley in her dust.

    Mario and the kid bugged me. But Scatman and Kubrick's kid drove me nuts too.

    I liked the mini-series.
  7. RichardX

    RichardX Well-Known Member

    I re-watched the first two parts and admit I was a bit harsh. I stand by the assessment, however, that Elliot Gould must have had a lobotomy before his bizarre scene. And what is with that kid who played Danny? He talks like he had some type of sinus blockage. That was so annoying I was pulling for the woman in room 217. And even the shape of his head was distracting. Second only to the "Dougie" kid in "Satan's Little Helper." That kid was so annoying I was pulling for Satan (but the movie is good). Was that the Gage Creed Orchestra on the invitations?
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  8. mal

    mal Well-Known Member

    Loved the book. Like Kubrick's treatment better than the mini-series. Book was best though!
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  9. OldDarth

    OldDarth Well-Known Member

    It's funny, the mini-series hews so much closer to the book but it ultimately falls flat because, like the movie, their success lies on the shoulders of the actor cast to play Danny. And in both adaptations that casting was a failure.

    Weber and especially DeMornay were excellent. The Danny/Tony scenes - especially in the closing scene - were technically and artistically subpar.
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  10. not_nadine

    not_nadine Comfortably Roont

    I liked the mini-series (see my avatar?) :rapture:

    Coulda done without Flagg's Mullet hairdo, though.
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  11. stacy270

    stacy270 Keep On Floatin' On

    The kid in this totally ruined what otherwise probably would have been a good version of The Shining.I could not for the life of me get past him:(
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  12. not_nadine

    not_nadine Comfortably Roont

    Ugh, that kid.

  13. RichardX

    RichardX Well-Known Member

    That is a hilarious picture. Like some of my school pictures. They probably forced him to watch Elliot Gould's scene to generate that expression.
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  14. Dana Jean

    Dana Jean Dirty Pirate Hooker Moderator

    I loved Stephen's mini series.
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  15. CoriSCapnSkip

    CoriSCapnSkip Well-Known Member

    Thank you for saying that and sparing me being the first. Courtland Mead, I saw in other programs and a commercial. A good enough actor, but too old for Danny and I always thought he had the creepiest looking mouth. I loved Danny Lloyd as Danny and could not like Courtland Mead at all. As far as Kubrick's film telling Kubrick's story, I believe Danny Lloyd was chosen for his ability to portray unease and terror and though he may have been capable of more the director simply did not ask it of him. In the book, Danny had a very wide range of emotion, which neither film does justice. Both movies are all right, I liked Kubrick's better, but neither of them touches the book.
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  16. I, myself never saw the mini series. Like some of you, I couldn't stand Duvall or the boy in the original movie. It was totally miscast. I, personally, hope for a more modern remake of the movie. With computer graphics as good as they are today it would be entirely possible to create the hedge animals-instead of that stupid maze they settled for. To this day I still am wary when viewing topiary creatures-that scene in the book totally freaked me out!
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  17. not_nadine

    not_nadine Comfortably Roont

    You should really give the mini series a go. They did a pretty good job with the hedge animals. And it stuck to the book.

    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015
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  18. Doc Creed

    Doc Creed Well-Known Member

    I agree. This is the version that I imagined when reading the book. With that said, I think the scares are few and not as menacing as they feel in the novel. I think the one thing Kubrick actually got right was the claustrophobia and isolation of the characters. The mood should have been darker despite the restrictions for television. I've been to the Stanley Hotel twice and that elevator is exactly like the book. It creaks and hums from floor to floor and can barely hold 4 people. I could hear it in my room at night and my imagination went wild!
  19. César Hernández-Meraz

    César Hernández-Meraz Wants to be Nick, ends up as Larry

    I have yet to read the book, so I can only talk about the two filmed versions.

    I admire the technique used by Kubrick in all the films I have seen of him. I can like his film because he tells the story skillfully. I know now (and will know personally once I read the book) that this is not the "real story" as meant by Mr. King.

    I really liked the series (except for Danny, it was as if they consciously chose the worst option, although Tony made up for it). Some other people talk about pacing, saying it was slow. It must be I am pretty okay with "slow" things, as long as what I see is good and I get more and more details about the world, characters and plot (two of my favorite movies are "2001" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", and both of them are "slow").

    I loved Wendy's strength, Jack's love and weakness, Dick's entire self (although I really liked him in the movie), and Danny's SHINING (even if used by that kid). I think something called "The Shining" should place a big enough focus on the shining. The movie felt more like "Ah, yes, the kid can feel things and LOOK OUT! A ghost! Ah! A crazy man is trying to kill you!", focusing more and more on the craziness, instead of what brought those bad feeling in Jack (the Overlook) and what woke up the Overlook (Danny's shining).

    So, I think I got more of the characters, more of the story, more of the shining, more of the Overlook, and more of the original story with the series. I can honestly say the only I dislike from it is Courtland Mead (perhaps the visual FX, since computer graphics with that budget were not specially good, and more real-world FX could have been good, but I can forgive those FX every time a story is good).

    Also, how Danny can go from this:


    to this:


    I will never know. :D
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  20. Doc Creed

    Doc Creed Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that kid was too old. I understand the quandary of needing a child actor old enough to read script, learn lines and endure rigid rules on the set, however young actors (age appropriate) have been used to great success in many films past. It was distracting in the mini-series.

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