Book Reviews

“Sometimes human places, create inhuman monsters.” ― Stephen King, The Shining (Comparison with Movie)

Stanley Kubrick, Stephen King, The Shining, Adaptation, Movie and book comparison.

Tech Summary: Read from February 07, 2018, to March 07, 2018.

Hello, book dragons! This time, this review, for this book, for this specific author… I will do it differently! I will do a comparison and contrast, and I guess you already know what I will compare.

Stanley Kubrick and Stephen King had a different vision of the text “The Shining.” Whereas the novel has a narration time of 16 hours, Kubrick’s adaptations compress the novel in two and a half hours of heavily loaded camera work and audio effects. We understand the multiple elements that a film has compared to the novel, and we understand that total fidelity is impossible; however, the major differences between the adaptation and the text are mainly seen in the characters, the setting, and the overall resolution of the events.

King’s work is well priced and known for his efforts to help the audience understand the outside and inner world of the characters. Most of the text and the development of the characters happened during the 200 pages of exposition, roughly. During these pages, we understand the family mechanics, the character’s struggles, family history, and, believe it or not, we also get the hints of what will trigger the total destruction of the nightmare. Jack Torrance’s personification by Jack Nicholson was marvelous based on Kubrick’s interpretation of the novel. King’s Jack had little bursts of violent reactions and no hint of pure madness or evil intentions. However, Kubrick’s Jack had an evil demeanor and expression from the beginning of the film. Kubrick’s Danny and Wendy, through the poor performance of Shelly Duvall and Danny Lloyd, lacked soul and energy, King’s characters were more alive and eager to hang on to dear life.

The setting is close enough to the book’s setting, with a small difference between an unnecessary maze and the topiaries, which could have been hard to accommodate on a film in the 80s. Primordial elements of the novel are not present in the film, such as the boiler room and the playground. At the beginning of King’s novel, we can adjudicate Jack’s slow ride to madness by the isolation of the snowy mountains and the emptiness of the hotel; however, as the novel builds up, King changes that perception and justifies Jack’s madness with the negative power and energy that has impregnated the hotel throughout the years; whereas Kubrick’s Jack has been a madman since the beginning and no poisonous influence from the hotel seems to be needed to reach the climax of the film, contrary to the novel.

Finally, we get the resolution of the events. King’s novel has knitted setting, characters, evil influence, and other happenings to reach the climax of the novel. Every single superficial and “unnecessary” element seen before, boiler, topiary, elevator, all the exposition of the novel was worth it for the conclusion of the events. As a puzzle, all hints King gave fit into place. King’s ability to disturb the reader through gore events and actions are absent in Kubrick’s version of the climax; however, Kubrick’s film created one of the most iconic images of madness, haunted places, and “divine” punishment of all times. In conclusion, whereas I do not believe that Kubrick’s film is the best adaptation that King’s novel could have, I can accept that his camera work and imagination created a decent non-horrific film. After a few bad experiences of King’s endings for novels, I am satisfied that this whole month that I spent reading the book was totally worth it.

So, the kingdom has given this book:

4 coronas

It seems that your majesty is kind of pleased and the knights have spoken!


If you wish to check the Goodreads profile, hey! Feel free to go there! I have added below the link to the review and the rating I gave to this book.

GoodReads – My profile

The Shining

If you liked what I wrote and/or if you wish to comment or discuss, come and do it!

Thank you for reading!

“Find your peace, find your joy, find your book, and never let go”.

If you wish to check me out on other platforms, we are literally everywhere! XD


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