We are sailing
Oh God not the vampirates not now I just need
WE ARE SAILING
the torch for God's sake find the
shit shit shit batteries
ACROSS THE SEEEEAAA DANNYYYYY THE SEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
There's a lot to like about it. But it's a great big beautiful Cadillac with no motor inside, you can sit in it and you can enjoy the smell of the leather upholstery - the only thing you can't do is drive it anywhere. So I would do every thing different. The real problem is that Kubrick set out to make a horror picture with no apparent understanding of the genre. Everything about it screams that from beginning to end, from plot decision to the final scene - which has been used before on the Twilight Zone.
I think there are two basic problems with the movie. First, Kubrick is a very cold man—pragmatic and rational—and he had great difficulty conceiving, even academically, of a supernatural world. He used to make transatlantic calls to me from England at odd hours of the day and night, and I remember once he rang up at seven in the morning and asked, "Do you believe in God?" I wiped the shaving cream away from my mouth, thought a minute and said, "Yeah, I think so." Kubrick replied, "No, I don't think there is a God," and hung up. Not that religion has to be involved in horror, but a visceral skeptic such as Kubrick just couldn't grasp the sheer inhuman evil of the Overlook Hotel. So he looked, instead, for evil in the characters and made the film into a domestic tragedy with only vaguely supernatural overtones. That was the basic flaw: Because he couldn't believe, he couldn't make the film believable to others.
The second problem was in characterization and casting. Jack Nicholson, though a fine actor, was all wrong for the part. His last big role had been in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, and between that and his manic grin, the audience automatically identified him as a loony from the first scene. But the book is about Jack Torrance's gradual descent into madness through the malign influence of the Overlook, which is like a huge storage battery charged with an evil powerful enough to corrupt all those who come into contact with it. If the guy is nuts to begin with, then the entire tragedy of his downfall is wasted. For that reason, the film has no center and no heart, despite its brilliantly unnerving camera angles and dazzling use of the Steadicam. What's basically wrong with Kubrick's version of The Shining is that it's a film by a man who thinks too much and feels too little; and that's why, for all its virtuoso effects, it never gets you by the throat and hangs on the way real horror should.
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