The Shining is essential Kubrick - he immerses you into a bizarre world where nothing is quite right, and you always get the sense that you don't belong. With its haunting story and phenomenal acting, The Shining is one of the most excitingly horrifying movies ever created. This is the stuff that film classics are made of!
The worst part of The Shining on DVD is the picture. In stark contrast to the crisp clean film transfers which have become the norm, The Shining is a grainy print littered with artifacts including dust, specs and even an occasional scratch. Kubrick was reported to have supervised the transfer, so one can only think he embraced these imperfections as a part of the motion picture experience. The picture is presented in full frame, something pretty standard for Kubrick films, and would have been fine had it not been for the state of the print.
I'll never fully understand why Kubrick loved Mono (almost all his movies were released in Mono). It's easy to get hooked on 5.1 Dolby digital audio and it feels strange to sit and watch a movie only through your lonely center speaker. You do get used to it after a while, but it still leaves you longing for better sound.
The only DVD in the Kubrick Collection to have any extras (aside from the original trailers), The Shining has a truly unique behind the scenes look at the making of the film. Unlike many of the tightly produced behind the scenes featurettes on other DVD's, The Making of the Shining takes a rough informal look behind some of the film's more memorable scenes.
It is very rare to see images of Kubrick, especially at work, so this behind the scenes look is a special treat. Like the rest of the disc, I was left wanting more. Kubrick's films cry out for analysis, so it's a shame that there isn't some sort of commentary to accompany this DVD.
As with many of Kubrick's films, I am left with the sense of unfulfillment but appreciation. There's no arguing that the DVD version of The Shining could have been better, but in the end it's the way Kubrick wanted it to be shown. From that perspective it's interesting to wonder why and maybe appreciate all the flaws which historically make each film unique. Maybe in five years I'll pull out this DVD to remember how film looked before the Digital Cinema age.