Friday, June 10, 2011

Lit To Film: The Shining


Wow, 2011 has been a strong year for books on film. I mean Water For Elephants, Red Riding Hood, I Am Number Four, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows part two, and Beastly have made their appearance known already and it’s only June!! Books are almost destined to take a shot at the silver screen. Some maintain the heart of their printed counterparts while others…uh, try. Then there are some who outshine the book (stop laughing it’s possible). That’s what this segment is about: Books that have been turned into movies and which is better. The long standing debate of ‘can a film ever capture what is on the page’ will be debated here. So grab the film and the book, a bowl of popcorn, and a pair of boxing gloves because it may get fierce. :P
Let’s start off fairly easier as this is a new segment. So no Harry Potter, Twilight, or Lord of the Rings this week. How about one that is certainly a classic film and book, both crafted by masters, and one I think is better than the book.
The Shining.
Let me start off by saying I am a huge Stephen King fan. The bulk of my bookshelf is his work, and he is one of the few people that I would be struck speechless to meet one day. This is not bashing him in anyway. Oh and if you haven’t seen or read The Shining by now, shame on you. LOL Okay but there will be spoilers to both so *SPOILER ALERT*
The story goes Jack Torrence becomes caretaker for The Overlook Hotel, and takes his wife Wendy and his son Danny with him. As he watches over this historical and quite vast hotel he convinces himself that he will write his novel, and that the change of scenery is just what he needs to get the creative juices flowing. (sound familiar?) The general part of the beginning is captured wonderfully by director Stanley Kubrick although he did miss the true reasons from the book as to why Jack had no choice but to take the job.
In the book Jack starts as a teacher in a university, but after a night of drinking he accidently kills a colleague and dumps his body in the river. After that travesty he can’t concentrate on his job, quits, and turns to writing for a living. His writing can’t pay the bills and this job is a few months of having a roof over his family’s head.
This was missed but it didn’t really matter as from this moment on every last thing is painted onto the screen. Kubrick didn’t miss a syllable of King’s words through the middle. You got the mental breakdown, the haunting of the hotel, Danny’s finger friend, Wendy’s passiveness to her husband’s murderous tendencies. It’s all there in all in sparkling Techno-color. You are totally wrapped up in the story now. This is one of the best horror movies of all time, if not the best after all.
Then comes the end and here is where I find the movie is better. Stephen King is great at what he does…but my gripe has always been with his endings. Most of them suck. Seriously. They lack the punch that managed to drag you in at the beginning. In the movie the ending is Danny calls out to the old hotel manager with his Shining power, bringing the old man to the hotel. His arrival is short lived as he gets an ax to the back. Then Wendy and Danny run out into the snowy hedge maze outside with Jack chasing after them. They find their way out while Jack freezes to death. Wow! Bravo! Encore!
Now the book. The end consists of the old hotel manager comes back, knocks out the ax wielding Jack, and then he proceeds to overload the furnace which causes it to explode. Epilogue: Wendy, Danny and the hotel manager are in the tropics and sipping drinks. Ugh, really. That’s it? Yawn. To me the book ended really weak and when you stack the whole experience up to the movie I was left wanting more from the print.
So pick up the movie and book, if you don’t remember already, and add your two cents to the discussion. Which do you think was better? The Lit or The Film?

6 comments:

  1. I actually watched the movie before I read the book. I gotta say I'm a little torn on this one. I love S.King too, most of the time. I totally agree that he has a problem with his endings. Sometimes it's like he ends without caring...or maybe that's just what he likes to do. Idk. But when it comes to this (The Shining) I agree-the movie is better. There aren't too many movies out there that I can honestly say are better than their books. Most of the lack the detail someone can ony get from reading but not here.
    I think I'm gonna like this segment :) Is it gonna be a weekly thing?
    Great job in giving both sides. Now I kinda wanna watch The Shining again. Lol.

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  2. I liked the book better than the film but that's probably because the ending in the movie left me wondering what happened to the mom and son. I liked the tropics ending. Lol. You did a great job with this though--I like a select few of King's books. My normal taste is completely different than horror though. Though, I gotta admit that the movie did a better job of giving me goosebumps than the book. :)

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  3. I read the book before watching the movie. Actually, I didn't even know there was a movie until about five years ago. Yeah. *shamed face* I know. I was living under a rock...or something. Hmm. But I read the book long before that. I heart Stephen King. In this case, the director did so great at getting the book on screen. That doesn't always happen so well. It's one of my peeves about books that get turned in to film. But The Shining was really good. Yeah, the ending was way better than the books. I wonder why King chose to end it the way he did. It did lack that extra oomph. Kind of a letdown. Great post!

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  4. Although I like the Shining movie, I haven't read the book. I'm with you on Steven King's endings. He just plain doesn't end a lot of his stories.

    I usually like books better than movies with a few exceptions. Jumanji was just a cute little picture book with great illustrations, but the film took it to a whole new level. At the same time, I loved the novel Lovely Bones but detested the movie!

    I'm almost finished reading "Gone to a Handsomer Man" by Michael Lee West and was thinking it would make a great movie! If you haven't read that one, check it out.

    Joyce
    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

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  5. An excellent post. I liked the movie, and only read part of the book. LOL. I can tell from what I read I would probably like the book better than the movie until the end, then it would be the reverse. I agree, King's endings are always lame. Oh, with the exception of Misery. I loved both the movie and the book, but the book's ending was just slightly better.

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  6. Wow. Good turn out. LOL I agree Raven I thought Misery ended just fine. I don't know why I adore him so much when time after time I'm disappointed with the end. Which is why the majority of the time with his work I like the movie better. Take 'The Mist' for example te story had no ending...wait. I probaly should have saved that for another time. LMBO :) Anyhoo as far as the frequency of this segment I believe that is up to the head mistress here to decide. I would think bi-weekly to give time to read it first if the blogger hasn't. Especially for newer movies and books. But I may be speaking out of term on this one :) Glad the segment was liked though.

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