We are about to have DOCTOR SLEEP in cinema. This is the sequel to the 1980 Stanley Kubrick masterpiece THE SHINING. Which helpfully is now available on a 4K HD release. Wait, I hear you scream! I already have this. But wait a second, that is not all. This release has the longer, American version. Filled as it is with 25 minutes of footage that many film fans knew about and even a few have seen. You have the enlongated start and the weird additions to the ending, which has gone down in film legend. Those few of us who have either purchased the US releases on DVD or Blu Ray (or even VHS in that widescreen NTSC version), love to see a newer version of a classic. Lots and lots of words have been spent on this film. So I will hasten not to be another mouthpiece, saying the same thing. I will ingore how the films popularity rose slowly, I will ignore that Stephen King hated the film and I will of course ignore the UK portion of the film (covered by the documentary footage from Kubricks daughter.)
The Overlook Hotel needs a new winter caretaker. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is the man for the job. He fancies taking his family to Colorado, one to get away and the other to work on his novel. He has writer’s block and the fresh air, remoteness and isolation might help. His wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his son, Danny (Danny Lloyd) are less comfortable. Tales of evil and tragedy have circled the hotel and its occupance for many years. Infanticide, death and the past, come alive in the quietness. That and an Indian burial ground below the Hotel. Danny has psychic premonitions that are both terrifying and monsterous. As Jack’s writing stalls and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, the hotels evil might take control.
Ok so the quick review. A horror film that masquerades as a haunted house film but is really about a mans mental decay and enclosing insanity. Thats that. Now, drumroll please…. The time you have been waiting for… The Disc
So both discs have the 4K. Firstly the 4K UHD disc.
This is Stunning. Some reviewers have said it should be manditory and I would agree. 2001 was a standout of the 4K revolution, a peak in Kubrick cinema of home format and of course it made many people excited for once about the promise of technology. The best bits. The cinematography sings off the screen. Kubricks more harsh colours, like the whites of snow, browns of wood and the blood splashing from a lift, encapsulate the best points of the technology. Red is also given layers and range that the pallete lost before. Making it unique and visually attractive. Then you have the light that holds the frame and image. The to camera shots of Jack (like right) is deep, textured and you feel ‘in the room’. Living the moment more. This is the first time since I was scarred by the film as a child, because it really conncets across the screen. I cant help but be eager to see the next releases.
The Blu Ray has this on a 1080p transfer and it is pretty solid. Until you get to the bathroom scene and a collection of fizzing pixels and light glare. I dont mean to sound mean but those of you with have a certain standard of TV and Blu Ray player, will see a substandard quality in certain scenes. It looks good and stands up for say 90% of the film, nicely transporting the 4K resonance to the 1080p standard. Its just that it shows its flaw. Richness of colour and tone is lost. It however, like the 4K transfer, keeps the grain, that might have saved it…not for me….