While fans of Steven King's "THE SHINING" were generally disappointed in Kubrick's version, it stands the test of time as a genuinely creepy, effective thriller. Sure, the ending sucks, but the slow, deliberate pacing of the film, builds tension with great impact during just the right moments. As far as King's fans, the mini-series, available on dvd, and made for tv, is actually better in many ways, and much more faithful to the material. But, "STANLEY KUBRICK'S THE SHINING" ranks up there with the best thrillers, and Nicholson's performance, while intentionally "over-the-top" is still outstanding!
Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, a "recovering" alcoholic, aspiring writer, who believes he's finally found luck, by obtaining a seasonal position as the caretaker of the overlook hotel, a beautiful, palatial resort, closed down for the harshest part of winter, and needing someone to maintain its boilers and more. Jack will be holed up there with his wife and young son, without tv, radio or general communication with the outside world. His son, Danny, has a gift, "the shining," an ability to psychically connect with the supernatural around him, and may be able to use it to save his family from a horrible, pending death.
Kubrick, as always, uses composition after composition with striking effect. All images, even terrifying ones, have a semi-beauty to them and one knows right from the opening credits, Kubrick has elevated this horror film, above most horror films in terms of class.
WARNER BROS. has provided a 1080p/VC-1 transfer with 1.78:1 aspect ratio(for the first time). It's notably better than all previously available dvd versions. While colors are intentionally restrained in select scenes, the image has ridden itself of the softness plaguing previous versions. Depending on the given scene, hues are actually vibrant, and this is a solid looking, colorful transfer. Detail is striking in select scenes, although it's still not up there with the best(BLAZING SADDLES)blu-ray releases from WARNER BROS.
WARNER BROS has provided a PCM 5.1 mix for the blu-ray. Sound is disappointing. While Kubrick never focused on "surround mixes," it's too bad WARNER BROS didn't opt to include the original mono mix. The re-processed mix, for 5.1 suffers from dynamic range limitations, and surround utilization is virtually non-existent, save for some minor music involvement and effects. It's not an impressive mix.
WARNER BROS. has included a sensational documentary made by the filmmaker's daughter, as well as new featurettes and a new, surprisingly entertaining audio commentary with the film's steadicam operator.