Customer Reviews: The Shining
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VINE VOICEon October 23, 2007
I own both the 2001 and 2007 DVDs of this film. I really don't have any interest is who is 'right' with the aspect ratio argument, I compared both versions and found that you're missing some of the video image regardless of which version you buy. I took screenshots of both DVDs and overlayed them on top of each other. I found that with the 2001 release, you get the 1:33:1 aspect ratio where the far left and right of the screen image is clipped. With the 2007 release, you get the 1.78:1 aspect ratio where the top and bottom of the screen image is clipped off. You can see what I mean by viewing the 'customer image' I posted, above. The blue border is for the 2001 release and the red border is the 2007 release.

Both DVDs are 'digitally restored and remastered', however the 2007 release is noticeabley brighter and more vivid. The 2001 image seems faded and dull.

This release has all the other special features of the 2001 DVD release, with the addition of optional commentary by Garrett Brown and John Baxter and three new featurettes.
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on August 26, 2003
It's tough to believe that Stanley Kubrick received a Worst Director Razzie nomination for "The Shining." While "The Shining" may not be given the classic status of some of his other films like "Dr. Strangelove" and "2001", it's actually the least polarizing of this highly-praised and atypical filmmaker's work.
This atmospheric thriller is sure to creep you out with its pacing, eery editing and cinematography (those tracking shots are highly effective), and Jack Nicholson's powerful performance as Jack Torrance. Horror films often tend to divide audiences into genre fans who follow the gore and those who laugh in the face of so-called scares, insisting their own resiliancy to cheap thrills and lamebrain plotting.
Fortunately, "The Shining" doesn't make you take sides, because its chills come from plotting and character study as much as they do from odd sights that will make you jump. It may stray from Stephen King's book and not all of it may make sense, but "The Shining" has so much going for it that you won't mind. It's a gripping and satisfying film experience, and in my opinion, one of the best films of the '80s.
This Warner DVD re-release is definitely the version to get. The fullframe presentation comes at the wishes of Kubrick and the video and audio offer significant improvement over the drab initial release. (Unfortunately, the original Mono audio track has been dropped altogether in favor of an effective 5.1 remix. They could have included both with no problem.)
In the way of extras, there is an engaging half-hour on-set documentary, filmed by Kubrick's daughter Vivian. It provides a candid experience of the film's creation, and interviews with some of the actors. In addition, this DVD re-release includes an audio commentary on the documentary (sort of a "making-of the making-of") by Vivian Kubrick. There's also the spooky trailer, which shows how a movie preview can perfectly pique one's interest in a film, without spoiling (or even saying) much.
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on October 24, 2007
The Shining is one of the horror genre's most notable films. Made in 1980 by the late, legendary Stanley Kubrick, the film stands out as not only one of his best but probably the best Stephen King adaptation as well. Though not nearly as true to the book as the later TV-movie would be, it is undoubtedly darker, more macabre, and ultimately superior to that version. Kubrick was a genius behind the camera, giving us long, beautiful shots, allowing us to take in both the beauty and the horror of the Overlook Hotel. For those who have yet to see the movie (and honestly, who hasn't at this point?), do yourself a favor and buy it today! Disappointment is impossible.

As for the transfer of the film, it is unbelievable. While clearly not as visually stunning or breathtaking as modern day flicks, this HD DVD version of The Shining boasts a virtually flawless transfer and cleans up many of the blemishes that were present on previous VHS and DVD versions. Black levels are deep, clean, and ungrainy and the majority of the film offers a surprisingly clean look. Detail is not as strong as it could have been, but Kubrick intentionally shot this film softly. The images won't pop and shine like modern movies will, as this is an old film, but for the price of the disc you are without a doubt getting the highest quality transfer this film has ever seen.

Audio has been upgraded from a mono to a TrueHD soundtrack, but for the most part audio will be very front-heavy. Most of the peripheral speakers are used only for music, to intensify the sound of it (and it is effective).

Special features are slim: the old making of documentary (with or without commentary), theatrical trailer, and a few small featurettes that delve deeper into the making of The Shining, as well Stanley Kubrick's "Visions." All pretty standard fare, all in 480i/p standard definition.

Whether you're a long time fan of the film, or new to it, this is a must-own if you own an HD DVD player and HDTV! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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on October 18, 2013
The Shining is a wonderful story about Danny Torrance, a lovable little boy, and his family who are trapped in a haunted hotel for the winter. They soon discover that the combination of Danny's (previously hidden) psychic abilities and an ancient curse set on the hotel summons forth the ghosts of its former guests. The Torrance family quickly finds themselves face-to-face with a motley crew of hilarious and mischievous ghosts. But with the big help of Lloyd, the hotel's former barkeep, Danny's Father Jack may just figure out a way to control the chaos and become a hero in his son's eyes. Can Jack restore order to the hotel before all the ghosts destroy it?
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on February 14, 2002
In 1975 King stayed with his family in a hotel in the Colorado mountains, and there "The Shining" was conceived, to be published two years later. Already famous, with this book King entered the hall of fame where he resides to this day. In 1980 Stanley Kubrick directed a bone-chilling silver screen adaptation of "The Shining", starring Jack Nicholson. A breakthrough in cinematography, the film defined the modern horror as it was. Strangely, it does not diverge from the book as much as the author claims it does. With one slight irrelevant exception of an ending, there was only one issue that enraged King, and created animosity between the two giants ever after. Whereas Kubrick put emphasis on madness, King wanted the film to have dealt more with the alcoholism and the wreckage of personality. Therefore in 1997 we had a chance to see the TV miniseries directed by Mick Garris, "Stephen King's The Shining", which appeared to be a complete failure compared to its silver screen predecessor, although produced in cooperation with the author, and slavishly faithful to the novel. In my humble opinion, the infinitely longer King's version didn't create anything close to a frightening, suffocating atmosphere of Kubrick's version. Moreover, I can't possibly imagine anyone coming ever so close to Nicholson's interpretation of Jack Torrance, the haunted alcoholic from the novel. Nicholson was born to play such roles, and certainly, if you have seen this film at least once, you won't be able to forget it ever. I also claim that the wretched fate of a failed man, an alcoholic, was adequately and sufficiently portrayed in the original film version. The book is slightly repetitive in this respect, and the great virtue of Kubrick's vision is that he was able to get rid of the redundancy apparent in King's novel.
In the mid-seventies, "The Shining" must have been a lightning of prophecy. A rich novel, which combined fantastic storytelling, and portrayal of alcoholism and hopelessness of the young marriage - "The Shining" was an instant success. Of course it might be a flagship example of an intelligent horror novel, but there are better accounts of haunted houses out there. Second, after a third novel crossing the genre territory, King was pigeonholed as a horror writer, and thus ever after his works were ignored and ridiculed as not worth reading. I agree that half of the time his books do not deserve mentioning and fall well into usual, categories, there are volumes to which there is more than it appears at a glance. The Shining is a best example of a novel where horror is used as a starting point for good old storytelling, where the crucial element has little in common with the supernatural, and much to do with mainstream portrait of the society and ordinary individuals faced with extraordinary circumstances.
It's worth to read the book, and then see Kubrick's and King's film versions. This way, you will be able to approach the same grand story from three different angles, and none of them weak, quite to the contrary.
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on August 20, 2001
"The Shining", despite being based on Stephen King's novel, is Kubrick's work, not King's. So many elements have been changed that it is pointless to compare the book to the film. That said, it is a brilliantly crafted film. Kubrick has created something that is creepy the whole way through and truly terrifying in parts. It isn't a slasher movie, despite the fact that Jack Nicholson is running around with an axe for the last twenty minutes. Kubrick spends almost two hours establishing the atmosphere, then finally allows all hell to break loose. The long tracking shots through the massive hotel are terrific. A scene in which Jack Torrance talks to Delbert Grady takes place in a bathroom decorated in bright red and white, the culmination of a series of rooms and hallways that are less and less subtly decorated in the same colors, is suitably chilling. Probably the most admirable thing about the film is the way completely mundane images seem frightening. The image of the two little girls, wearing nice little dresses and with their hair in ribbons, is one of the scariest things I have ever seen. The sight of the ball rolling down the corridor is also terrifying, showing as it does that the things in the house are not just "pictures in a book", the phrase the young Danny uses to comfort himself, but are actually real entities capable of affecting the real world. The simple sound of the lock turning as the long-dead Delbert Grady unlocks the storage room door is frightening for just the same reason. Nothing in "The Shining" is stale - when it tries to be scary it is. The word "REDRUM", scrawled in blood-red letters across a door, is scary just because of the context. If you look at the word out of context and puzzle over what it means, it is easy to figure out that it is "MURDER" backwards. Yet this is not evident in the film until Kubrick wants it to be evident. The famous scene in which Shelly Duval's character reads her husband's "book" is still frightening. The hundreds and hundreds of pages of "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" tells us that this man is quite mad, and has been for some time. It is then that we realize that these two people are trapped in a house with somebody who cannot be reached, and who is perfectly willing and capable of chopping them up into little pieces.
"The Shining" uses the deep-rooted fears that we all have - the fear of isolation, the fear of insanity, and most of all, the feeling of helplessness that we get when we find that the father figure, the person whom we rely upon when we are frightened, is the person whom we should be frightened of. All of these are used by a film that has one primary purpose - to frighten you. And it accomplishes this purpose more effectively than any other movie I've ever seen.
As an endnote, I should say that the DVD isn't the greatest. The picture is still scratchy, and it's Kubrick, which means that we're not getting widescreen. It does have a "Making Of" film that Vivian Kubrick shot, which is great fun and perhaps a lot more revealing than the average making-of fare on DVDs. Watching Jack Nicholson say "Now I have to get into my character. Arr - axe murderer! Kill!" is great.
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on March 19, 2000
This film is one of my all time favorites...I watch scenes of it all the time. I think that every actor and actress does a great job, especially Danny Lloyd, the son. Stanley Kubrick takes a different route with horror by giving the audience a psychotic twist and who better to deliver it than Jack Nicholson. The movie is scary and suspenseful and in some scenes, Nicholson goes so crazy it's hilarious. I bought this on DVD so it would last a long time and have great sound & picture. The picture is grainy and has black spots that flicker every so often. Some scenes are better than others. The sound is awful, I had to turn up the volume all the way to hear it comfortably and it's in mono audio. (I would have given this movie 5 stars but because of the disappointing DVD format.) It does have a plus though, a quite long and interesting Behind the scenes documentary made by Kubrick's wife that has up close interviews with everyone and you even get to see Kubrick work with the actors. Great movie, but could have been done a lot better on DVD. (Try reading the book.)
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on August 3, 2007
I personally wouldn't re buy every film that comes out on Hd-dvd especially seeing as how the prices haven't really come down. That said a film like this is an exception, I believe horror fans are some of the most die hard film fans out there, and should and will pick this one up.
For Audiophiles there is a new 5.1 track as opposed to the mono you got on the previous release. The beginning score when Jack is driving to the Overlook hotel is amazing cranked up with a Dolby digital plus track in 5.1.
The transfer on this is beautiful.
The Shining is the greatest Stephen King film adapation and is one, if not the greatest of all horror films. Also one of the greatest films for any genre and right in time for Halloween you can't go wrong.

Special features

- Audio commentary by Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown and Kubrick biographer John Baxter
- The Making of The Shining, with optional commentary by Vivian Kubrick (from the previous DVD)
- New View from The Overlook: Crafting The Shining featurette
- New The Visions of Stanley Kubrick featurette
- New Wendy Carlos, Composer featurette
-Theatrical Trailer - This was one of the most effectives and eeriest trailers I've ever seen and it was so simple.

I'll go more in depth of the special features as I watch them.

Technical Specs:
- Aspect Ratio: 1080p HD 16X9 1:85:1
- Audio: Dolby true HD: English 5.1 Dolby digital plus
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on November 7, 2007
SO exciting! This Kubrick film on Blu Ray is just superb! The music is remixed into Dolby Digital 5.1 and is just amazing. I've now seem all the Kubrick films on Blu Ray except for "Full Metal Jacket" and this is one of the very best (with "2001" being the ultimate home video ever!)

I could go on and on about the film, which has NEVER looked this good, even upon it's initial release.

Kubrick's attention to detail and the fact that this is a masterpiece of set design, cinematography and lighting. A masterpiece! The entire Overlook hotel was built inside a soundstage in England and shot with existing light. (Barry Lyndon time...hopefully that will be coming up in high def). It was all shot in England. This was the first film to use steady cam. The shots of Danny riding his tricycle through the creepy hallways of the Overlook are just about as effective as they were at Hollywood's Chinese Theatre back in 1980.

It is a stunningly superb transfer to digital and should bring a whole new generation to this incredible achievement.
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on March 6, 2000
First, a special message to all the fools who are chastising the DVD video for being full-frame and the sound for being mono. If you folks had the SLIGHTEST clue, you would be aware that THIS IS HOW KUBRICK WANTED HIS MOVIES TO BE RELEASED! In theatres, The Shining was matted to 1:78 to 1, I believe, so the home video actually shows MORE of the screen than you've seen in the theatre. Full Metal Jacket was the same way - have any of you complainers ever seen a widescreen version of that? Duh!
As for the movie itself, what can you say? It's one of the best horror flicks of all time, and the only people who hate it are usually those who are unable to THINK. With every repeat viewing, you can find some new food for thought. For example, when Jack yells at Wendy for breaking his concentration, after she walks away you'll notice that he suddenly starts typing on a new piece of paper which he DIDN'T put in the typewriter. Is this a blooper? With well-known-perfectionist Kubrick, I doubt it...seems to me like the hotel is giving him paper! And when Scatman Crothers and Wendy are touring the kitchen, how come Wendy is leading the way, even though she's never been there? Watch the scene and you'll see what I mean.
The steadycam shots, and the camera angles in general, especially the one where the camera is looking UP at Nicholson in the storage room, are incredible - it's plain to see that Kubrick was a genius.
As for the DVD, the print used is pretty worn, with reel-change marks, hairs, and who knows what else, but it's still better than the videotape. To me, The Shining always had a grainy, old-looking appearance which is part of it's charm - but the film (hell, ALL of his films) is due for a full restoration.
The only extra on the DVD is Vivian Kubrick's documentary, which is a treasure and well worth the price of the DVD alone...the only other extra I could have asked for is the original theatrical ending, which is probably long-gone.
A must-have!
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