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Book Versus Movie – The Shining by Stephen King/Stanley Kubrick


This will contain spoilers for both the movie and the book you have been warned.

Book vs Movie became husband vs wife for this round. Hubby (who has not read the book) believes Kubrick made a brilliant horror film. Wife (who has read the book) believes King wrote a brilliant book whose true meaning was lost in the movie. We agreed to agree that the story works differently in different mediums.

What surprised me most when comparing the book and the movie was the iconic scenes from both that don’t make it to the other:

Book scenes missing in movie – the hedge animals nowadays that would be a movie must have

The ending – why would you change that ending? It had everything.

Movie scenes not in the book: That iconic tricycle and the two girls.

Jack’s book that is just pages and pages of nonsense.

The maze – honestly unless I totally missed it there is no maze in the book.

What the book does well – the book shows you the dangers of addiction, how hard the fight to stay sober can be, the illusions that can pray on a susceptible mind, the strength of a mothers love and protective instinct. It also leaves you with a clean resolution and redemption for the central characters. And for me the major thing the book does is explain why in the hell Jack Torrance would want a job at the Overlook in the first place.

What the movie does well – plunge you straight into a snowbound, isolated world where things deteriorate rapidly. It shows how easy it was for a seemingly normal man to be consumed with hatred and murderous rage as a result (perhaps) of cabin fever. Unfortunately Wendy is shown as a hysterical woman not the protective mother she really is. The ghosts and images are visually captivating and Jack’s descent into madness is entertaining? to watch. But it never explains why Jack has to be there and the ending leaves too much unresolved to be satisfying.

Verdict on this one? Read and watch and see if you agree with hubby or with wife. Both strong in their own rights.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. I really enjoyed both the book and movie. It’s not a surprise that the book explores more depth of character, but I thought the movie could’ve done a better job of showing Jack’s struggle with addiction. I suppose Kubrick wanted to focus on other things, and he made a film full of vivid scenes.


    May 14, 2021

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