Shining, The 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 246, December 2019

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Bros . Home Entertainment
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Stanley Kubrick
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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In "The Shining," Jack Torrance (Nicholson) becomes the winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer's block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy (Duvall), and his son, Danny (Lloyd), who is plagued by psychic premonitions. As Jack's writing goes nowhere and Danny's visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel's dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell bent on terrorizing his family. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary by Steadicam Inventor Garrett Brown and Stanley Kubrick biographer John Baxter; four featurettes: "View From The Overlook: Crafting The Shining" (SD 30:22), "The Visions Of Stanley Kubrick" (SD 17:17), "The Making The Shining" with commentary by Director Vivian Kubrick (SD 34:59) and "Wendy Carlos, Composer" (SD 07:31); and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

The 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed on Eastman film stock in spherical 1.85:1 using the Arriflex 35 BL and Arriflex 35-IIC camera system and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. The 4K remastering was performed using a new 4K scan of the original 35 mm camera negative with filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick's former personal assistant Leon Vitali, working closely with the team at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging. Extremely light film grain has been preserved with virtually no signs of excessive noise reduction, for an impressive filmic presentation. The photography has been exceptionally captured by Stedicam operator Garrett Brown. Kubrick composed the film for 1.85:1 but protected for 1.33:1 TV broadcast. The Shining is not presented in its theatrical aspect ratio but in the television widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio.

Resolution is superb with fine textural detail exhibited throughout in facial features, such as lines, pores, beard stubble and hair, fabrics and objects, as well as the cavernous old-world reddish interiors of the Overlook Hotel and the grounds maze and Dick Hallorann's Miami apartment. HDR contrast is excellent with excellent shadow delineation, bright but natural highlights and light filtering through the hotel's windows. Color fidelity exhibits a wide color gamut with nuanced hue shadings. Hues are rich and warm throughout. The red-and-white bathroom scene is effectively contrasted with Mr, Grady's black tuxedo and Jack's lumberjack attire.

WOW! segments are rare but there are at least three, such as from 01:22:19 to 01:31:44, 02:01:54 to 02:04:32 and 02:10:40 to 02:12:09.

Overall, this is a spotless and unquestionably filmic picture that exhibits hypnotic cinematography. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack has been repurposed from the original monaural source, which is not provided as a listening option. The sonics are nicely weighted as in dialogue and the electronic synthesizer score. The score, including its orchestral and choral elements, is extremely spacious with an aggressive surround presence. Deep natural bass enhances particular sound effects such as the continuing "heartbeat" effect. Of course, dialogue segments retain the "monaural" characteristics of the original soundtrack. Dialogue is clean and intelligible throughout with generally good spatial delineation.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised of the electronic synthesizer score extended aggressively to the height layer, ambience within the Overlook Hotel on closing day and thereafter, Jack throwing a ball against a hotel wall, exterior mountainous ambience, Forest Service office ambience, Jack swiping silver drinking vessels in the kitchen, orchestra and audience ambience in The Gold Room, Jack's typing, a Continental jet landing, airport ambience, blizzard winds, voices, gasps and crying, an axe breaking the door, snow vehicle engine and other minor effects. The impact of these elements is dramatic and enhances the sense of spatial dimensionality.

Overall, this is perhaps the best sonic presentation of a classic Stanley Kubrick work. (Gary Reber)