Michael Scott

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Doctor Sleep


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Movie: :4stars:
4K Video: :4stars:
Video: :5stars:
Audio: :5stars:
Extras: :2.5stars:
Final Score: :4stars:



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Movie

A sequel to one of the most prolific horror movies of all time is bound to be controversial. Especially from a movie that was controversial to begin with. While many consider Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining to be one of THE BEST horror movies of all times (myself included), it was also loathed by it’s own creator. Stephen King hated the film so much that he actually went on record as saying he was disappointed he gave the movie rights away as Kubrick supposedly butchered his intents for the film. Even movie fans can be split on it. While most love Kubrick’s work, there are a vocal segment that side with Steven King, as there were some major tonal changes from the book.

King himself penned Doctor Sleep back in 2013, effectively creating a sequel to a book that had long been put on a pedestal for being a veritable masterpiece, and it was only inevitable that the book would come to the silver screen. I was very, VERY nervous going into Doctor Sleep knowing that a sequel to an iconic film is going to be met with huge preconceptions and the stereotypical “how it should be” type of mentality. I can’t say that I don’t appreciate decades long over due sequels, but that they can be a hard sell to an audience who has worshiped the original for so long, making any alterations or directorial changes to the tone an odious stench to it’s fans. However, Doctor Sleep actually ended up being a VERY fun and well made film. I still think Kubrick was the master for a reason, but Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep sticks much closer to King’s novel of the same name, and expands dramatically on the supernatural elements of the story.

Years after Danny’s (Roger Dale Floyd as a child, Ewan McGregor as an adult) escape from Overlook Manor with his mother, he is still haunted by the past. His mental powers that manifested fully in the ghost ridden Overlook Manor have plagued him his whole life, sending him down the path of alcohol to numb the voices in his head, and suppress his abilities. However, there are other forces at work out there, including a roving band of gypsy like “people” with abilities like his own called “The Knot”. These empowered folks find and hunt down children that “shine” like Danny did, taking their essence (which they dub “steam”) and use it to extend their own lives exponentially, as well as augment their own supernatural powers.

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The Knot ends up homing in on a girl named Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran as a teenager, Dakota Hickman as a little girl) who has powers that vastly dwarf anyone that they have ever seen. Abra’s powers are so immense that when she reaches out in panic and fear after psychically seeing the Knot murder another child, she accidentally connects with Dan, who has been getting himself clean and sober. At the behest of the spirit of Dick O’Halloran (Carl Lumbly), Dan must do what he can to keep the girl safe and out of the clutches of The Knot. This leads them back to the one place that they can use that is strong enough to overpower the combined forces of The soul sucking gypsies...where it all began at Outlook Manor.

Doctor Sleep uses flashbacks and recreations of The Shining intermingled with the new material, and creates a film that definitely tries to please everyone. Sadly it won’t exactly please everyone, but the good parts definitely outweigh the bad ones by a good margin. Some of the homages and recreations from the Overlook Manor are a bit cringey at times, but also extremely effective at bringing the story back full circle. Ewan McGregor, Kyliegh Curran, and Rebecca Ferguson all 3 do a masterful job at their roles as well. I was very surprised at how quickly the 152 minute theatrical cut was, and even more pleased that the 180 minute behemoth that is the Director’s cut turned out to be as well.

After watching the director’s cut and checking through the special features, it’s pretty obvious that said Director’s cut was more than just a simple afterthought. The cut was assembled and edited at the same time as the theatrical cut, and does more than just splice in a few scenes. It changes the pacing a bit, expands upon certain story points, and actually trims and re-arranges other scenes for a more streamlined effect. It IS a bit heavy at 3 hours and 14 seconds long, but I do fully think that the Director’s cut is THE definitive cut of the film, although it is a full 28 minutes longer than the already hefty 2 hours and 32 minute theatrical cut.

One thing to note. The Blu-ray set has both the Director’s cut and the theatrical cut on separate Blu-ray discs, while the 4K UHD disc has the theatrical cut on 4K UHD, while the Director’s cut is on the Blu-ray in the combo pack. However, if you’re looking for the Director’s cut in 4K, you can get it via the digital copy. But, being that the 4K UHD disc is only a moderate upgrade over the incredible Blu-ray disc, the ire of not having the Director’s cut in 4K UHD dis is slightly satiated, and makes the buying of the 4K disc a little more palatable than when I first learned of the issue.




Rating:

Rated R for disturbing and violent content, some bloody images, language, nudity and drug use.




4K Video: :4stars: Video: :5stars:
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Doctor Sleep was shot with Arri Alex 65 cameras and finished at a native 4K master for the home video release. This naturally leads to an excellent looking transfer than handles the wild color arrangements of the film spectacularly. The film has no shortage of strange locals and different color gradings dependent on where it was at that point in the film. Cool blues, deep greens, and hazy ambers are just a few of them. The 4K UHD disc is slightly darker than the Blu-ray as well, taming the overly hot sun drenched outdoor shots a bit, and handling the inky black levels of Overlook Manor with ease. The film itself is given a very specific “hazy” look at times, making things appear a bit dreamlike in nature. This can limit the textural and detail level increases from the Blu-ray to the 4K UHD, but that can’t really be helped as it was a very stylistic choice by Flanagan vs. something wrong with the transfer itself.

One special note. This review is based upon the Theatrical Cut viewing, as the 4K UHD only contains that cut. I naturally would have LOVED to have seen the Director’s cut in 4K UHD , but like The Crimes of Grindelwald, The theatrical cut is the one we get in 4K (except in the digital format, which IS included with the package).








Audio: :5stars:
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The Dolby Atmos track found on both the Blu-ray and the 4K UHD disc is absolutely superb, and another demonstration of perfect audio. The track gets right to the point with a focuses assault on your senses with the various supernatural elements in the movie’s story. Rumbling windows, throbbing bass line and crazy environmental nuances make for an awe inspiring experience. The overheads aren’t used all the time, but when they are they really stand out, especially in the scenes where Rosie the Hat invades Abra’s mind. Surrounds are used to the max, with all sorts of forest and supernatural noises shifting directions and tenors at the drop of a hat. The vocals are never at fault once, and the dynamics shift from soft whispers to shrieks without ever sounding imbalanced or awkward.







Extras: :2stars:
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• DIRECTOR'S CUT OF THE FILM - featuring nearly 30 minutes of new, alternate and extended scenes, selected by director Mike Flanagan, not seen in theaters.
• Return to the Overlook
• The Making of Doctor Sleep: A New Vision
• From Shining to Sleep













Final Score: :4stars:


As I said above, I really enjoyed Doctor Sleep. It has some really nifty narration mystery boxes, and the ending was more than satisfactory for wrapping up Danny’s story line. The acting was superb, and while I would have liked to have had them dial back the homages and recreations a bit, bringing everything back full circle was more than satisfactory for this fan of The Shining. The 4K UHD disc looks solid, with a moderate upgrade over the Blu-ray, and the director’s cut is easily the most meaty and streamlined of the two cuts. My rating of 4/5 stems from watching the Director’s cut, as I give the theatrical cut a 3.5/5 rating. Well worth picking up though.



Technical Specifications:

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis, Zahn McClarnon, Emily Alyn Lind
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Written by: Mike Flanagan (Screenplay), Stephen King (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), English, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian DD 5.1, English DVS (U.S.), English DVS (U.K.) DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, French (Canadian)
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: R
Runtime: 152 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: Own Doctor Sleep on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD on February 4 and Digital on January 21.
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Recommendation: Good Buy

 

Todd Anderson

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Bought it. Can't wait to see it
 

Michael Scott

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I think you'll like it Todd. It's not a Kubrick movie, but it's really close to the novel and still an excellent movie IMO.
 

Todd Anderson

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I really liked this flick... a lot! Sound is insane. Off the charts amazing. I was disappointed to find the film shot in 16X9... and found the overall image to be uninspiring most of the time.

BUT... great story topped with a dazzling audio presentation!
 

Grayson Dere

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Thank you for the review! I've been wanting to watch this and will get to it asap. I'm excited to experience the superb sound, too : )
 
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