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Opinion: Why Doctor Sleep can not be a real sequel to the film version of The Shining




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Stephen King's legendary horror story The Shining finally gets a sequel. The first trailer for Doctor Sleep has been released on the internet, showing horror fans a look at Ewan McGregor's much older and tired Danny Torrance. Surprisingly, the trailer shows that Doctor Sleep is a sequel to the 1

980s movie version of The Shining. Clips from Stanley Kubrick's film are reused and even recreated one of the most famous images of this film with McGregor instead of Jack Nicholson. But as exciting as the prospect of a direct sequel to one of the most famous horror movies of all time may be, for Doctor Sleep it makes little sense to build on Kubrick's The Shining.

There are a number of fundamental differences between King's novel and Kubrick's film adaptation. King has distanced himself from the movie over the years and complained about some of the changes Kubrick made to the source material. Some of these changes are understandable. Kubrick would have faced a difficult challenge in 1980 to depict the murderous hedgehogs from the book. And it goes without saying that a two-hour film can not contain all the character development and background story of a novel.

However, there are some key areas in which the plot of Kubrick's The Shining conflicts with the novel and its sequel. The character Dick Hallorann is killed in the movie by Jack Torrance as he survives in the book and helps Danny and Wendy escape the doomed Overlook Hotel. This is important because Dick also plays a role in King's Doctor Sleep novel. At the beginning of the novel, he serves Danny as a father figure, helping him to recover from the trauma he was faced with in oversight and teaching him how to better control his "brilliant" power. This training will again be the highlight of Doctor Sleep.

Strangely, Dick will star in the movie adaptation of Doctor Sleep. Carl Lumbly will take on the role that made Scatman Crothers famous in the Kubrick movie. If Dick is not just a long-lasting ghost, it's hard to see how his involvement matches the events of the first film.

The most fundamental difference between The Shining's book and film versions, however, is the nature of the Overlook Hotel and the threat to the Torrance family. Kubrick brought a deliberate sense of ambiguity into the story. Much of the horror is psychological rather than overtly supernatural. The film creates a sense of discomfort as he examines the scary and sometimes physically impossible layout of the overlook. Even with iconic moments of anxiety such as the Grady Twins, the blood-soaked elevator, and the woman in room 237, the film never makes it clear whether these are indeed ghostly manifestations or just terrible hallucinations. There is not much in the film that can not be explained as a side effect of a really bad cabin fever.

In comparison, King's novel makes it pretty clear that the Overlook is really haunted and has become a dead end of supernatural things activity. It is also out of the question whether Danny Torrance actually has psychic powers. This simple approach translates to Doctor Sleep. There is little room for subtlety in a story where the villains are a convoy of senior vampires who feed on the psychic energy of small children. The atmosphere of the Kubrick film while retaining the storyline of the novel. Reviewing the movie is all well and good, but why make that connection when Doctor Sleep can not repeat the psychological, ambiguous approach of Kubrick's work? At some point, the film itself seems to hurt itself by sticking to Kubrick's work instead of getting involved in his differences.

The sequel could have been better if you follow the example of the 1984 film: the year in which we make contact. Although Kubrick is said to be a sequel to Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, in 2010 he made no effort to recreate the look of this film. Instead, it remained on the path indicated in Arthur C. Clarke's novel, leading to unwanted comparisons with one of the most seminal sci-fi films ever published, Doctor Sleep novel and The Shining film version are not fully compatible. Flanagan recently said, "It's an adaptation of the novel Doctor Sleep, which is Stephen King's sequel to his novel The Shining, but it also exists in the same cinematic universe that Kubrick created in his adaptation of The Shining For us, Flanagan may find a way to combine book and film and create an adaptation that connects the two worlds.

But from what we've seen so far from Doctor Sleep, it may have made a mistake to make such a strong connection to a beloved horror movie.

Jesse is a gentle writer for IGN. Allow him to impart a machete to your intellectual jungle by following @jschedeen on Twitter or kicksplode on MyIGN

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