The Shining

29 Oct

Welp, I have been kinda in the dumps lately, nothing awful, but just a little blek with the fall raininess and also my skin is just being crazy, so I have been staying in and watching movies.  The big Halloween movie I just watched is The Shining.  I have some things to say about it.

1.   Forget the book.  I’ve read the book and the movie only has a passing acquaintance with it.  Yes, they have the same general items, family staying in a secluded hotel and whatnot, but the point is completely different.  Stephen King has a true horror masterpiece in his book, where the hotel is a malevolent force that is a character in itself.  In the movie, the hotel is a place where dark things happen, but I didn’t get the sense that the hotel is meant to have an active consciousness.   In fact, the hotel seems to bring out the craziness in Jack’s character, but Jack is the one with the problems–he makes a series of terrible choices which  results in him going completely crazy.  This is the major difference–in the book once the family is stuck in the hotel, they really have no choices whatsoever.

2.   Watch out for overanalysis.  Because this is a Kubrick film, there is w-a-a-a-y more posted about The Shining than virtually any other horror movie.  You can find discussions about the outfits people wear, the books that Shelley Duvall was reading, the lighting, the production drama, everything.  Honestly, if you put all this aside, the story is pretty self explanatory, with a couple of crooked parts, but really it’s about Jack completely losing control–everybody else reacts to him.  Why Jack is in the picture in the end is the only mystery, but even that fits as this is a place where events of the past replay themselves, like movies from time to time.

3.  I like that Jack’s son acts age appropriate (in King’s book Jack’s son is like a genius child who thinks things that no child would ever normally think).  I also like that the events of the past make no real sense to anybody who sees them–they’re snippets detached from their stories, and essentially make no sense in and of themselves.  This is why the personality of those who witness them is key–if Jack was sane to begin with, he would have never gone off the deep end–he probably could have resisted.

4.  In the movie, the hotel mirrors what’s going on in Jack’s head.  As his sanity deteriorates the hotel becomes more alive.  In fact if the hotel could be said to have any aim at all it would be to bring the past back (the picture at the end indicates there’s a place where the past continues indefinitely vs. the “now” in the film.)  Jack is meant to go to that place, perhaps to return there, while the other characters are clearly secondary to this aim.  The big thing about the end is that the hotel gets what it wants–Jack all by himself and the rest of his family out of the way.

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