The Shining (1997)

The_Shining_(miniseries)Bet you thought I was going to talk about the 1980 classic directed by Stanley Kubrick, nope. Like Stephen King I don’t care much for that film due the severe liberties taken with the source material, mostly when it comes to Jack Torrence’s character and the interjection of outside themes.. The Shining is my favorite King novel to date. For those that are interested, The Long Walk is my second favorite. I have vivid memories of the novel from my childhood, and when the TV Miniseries aired, I was very excited to see it and came away a little underwhelmed.

Recovering alcoholic, Jack Torrence (Steven Weber) accepts a new job as the winter caretaker of The Overlook Hotel in Colorado. Jack takes his wife Wendy (Rebecca De Mornay) and son Danny (Courtland Mead) with him to work out family tensions. At the hotel, Danny meets Dick Hallorann (Melvin Van Peeples) The Overlooks cook, who reveals to Danny  knowledge of his psychic power “The Shining” and warns of the dangers of the Hotel. He also instructs Danny to call for help should he need, and he would come running. After everybody leaves the hotel starts waking up around them. A malevolent force resides in The Overlook and starts to manipulate Jack, slowly driving him back to drinking and pushing him into the realm of insanity. Eventually possessing him. Which is dangerous as The Overlook has a deep desire that Jack’s son Danny become a permanent resident.

As far a book to film this miniseries is pretty spot on, even referencing small parts of the novel in ways that would make sense only having read the book. That said the altered ending does leave a lasting taste in my mouth and it ain’t a good one. The happy, feel good ending feels insanely forced. It’s a let down that the uncertainty of the future that the novel ended on was excluded as it made for a much more poignant ending.

But something that I do love is Steven Webers job as Jack Torrence. While I do admit that his performance did feel strained at points to an almost comical level. Although his performance in the final half really redeems it. Melvin Van Peeples delivers the best portrayal of Hallorann to date, as when I ever I read the novel he’s the man I pictured. The only person who’s performance I didn’t enjoy was Courtland Mead. It’s not really his fault though, Danny Lloyd didn’t do any better.

Final thoughts, my favorite thing about this miniseries is that some of it was shot on location at the hotel that inspired The Overlook, The Stanley Hotel. I don’t know why, but I just love that. Also the inclusion of the hedge animals over the maze that was nice. Of course the CGI parts are rather terrible, but I’m cool with bad CGI. No harm, no foul. So while close to the novel, certain alterations do upset me. So even with heavy favoritism towards the novel, I still give the miniseries 6/10. It’s not bad, it’s not great either. It hits that fun blend of the two that only King adaptation can do.

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