Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Shining and Doctor Sleep

I finished The Shining today on my day off. You might say to yourself, "My word! The man never saw the movie of The Shining at the very least?" To that I would say, "Why yes I have, Random Reader. But if you think they are one and the same then you are really missing out."

Some time ago when Doctor Sleep was released, I ran out to get it and started tearing through it. About half way through I started feeling guilty about never having read the book. I heard that Mr. King originally hated the adaptation due to the creative changes and the casting of Jack Nicholson, but never really thought much of it.

The movie adaptation, while a good movie in its own right, doesn't do much justice to the original concept of the novel. Far be it from me to fault Mr. Kubrick's film for that though. The book has very little action to it, being a psychological thriller, and therefore wouldn't adapt well in its original form. For example:

1) There are no creepy twin girls who haunt the Overlook.
2) "All work and no play..." or any semblance of that line does not appear.
3) Danny Torrance/Tony does not talk through his finger (although very infrequently speaks in Tony's voice).
4) Jack's famous "Heeeere's Johnny!" never occurs.
5) Nor does he wield an ax.

The most memorable imagery from the movie is almost completely absent from the book (including the ending). You might think that this would make the book dull by comparison, but it doesn't. At least not for me. I felt that the film actually spoiled the book by making me expect an outcome that wasn't going to happen. Plus I read the book hearing Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall's voices the entire time. Those actors aren't even blonde, for chrissake!

Anyway, time to wrap up Doctor Sleep which takes an extreme left turn departure from the nature of  The Shining. It follows the son, Danny, as an adult as he exorcises his drinking demons and uses his 'shine' beyond the realm of the Overlook Hotel.

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