3 A cult classic that still deserves a better Special EditionLeonhart | 14/03/2008 | See all Leonhart's reviews (30)From this 'Special Edition' of The Shining you would expect a definitive version of the cult horror classic. But sadly this is anything but. For a start, in my eyes it is not the best version of The Shining. Again, we are only given the UK Theatrical release (previously released in 2000), that is a full thirty minutes shorter than the US Theatrical release.Apparently when the film was first released in the US in 1980, audiences were not impressed with Kubrick's now cult masterpiece. They saw it as overly long, and felt it strayed too far away from the plot of the popular Stephen King novel. Fearing the same would happen in the UK, the film was re-edited for the UK release, and although none of the pivotal key scenes were lost, an awful lot of the back story, especially for Jack Torrance's character was cut from the film. It is only since that the film has gathered such cult status among film and horror fans alike.The fact is that I would probably never have been aware of these changes if it wasn't for the original UK TV premiere in 1989. The channel accidentally showed the US version, apparently much to Kubrick's dismay. Having recorded this onto VHS, this was the version I owned for many years. When The Shining was eventually released on DVD in 2000, I rushed out to buy the 'remastered' version of one of my favourite films, and was dismayed at how much of the film was missing. After much research I finally discovered why. But it left me feeling somewhat cheated having just paid nearly £20 for the DVD of what I regarded at the time as only half a film.Now it looks like the same thing has happened again with this Special Edition. It is a mystery why Stanley Kubrick has never allowed the US version to be shown or sold in the UK, when other directors seem to jump on the band wagon at every given opportunity. Just look at the number of versions of Ridley Scott's Bladerunner that are now available to buy (five at my last count). Now that's a Special Edition! As Kubrick sadly died a few years ago I guess we never will know the answer.To make matters worse with this re- release, the special features on disc 2 are anything but special. The best of these is the 35 minute Vivian Kubrick documentary made during filming. However, this was already on the original release of the DVD back in 2000. As for the other 'Special' features. These consist of one of those made for TV documentaries that talks about why the film has become so popular, and an interview with the composer about her music in the film. The interview is in actual fact about music that was not used in the film (don't really see the point), and for much of the interview she is talking about music 'not' used in A Clockwork Orange. They must have got the DVDs mixed up or something.Frankly though this is still one of Kubrick's best films, even in (dare I say) its UK edited cut. The isolation, the terror and the eerie steady cam shots. And unlike in the book, nothing is as clear cut or explained, which deepens the mystery into Jack and the Overlook. In a way it's just as well Kubrick steered away from the Stephen King novel as anyone who has ever seen the made for TV version will probably agree. I mean what's creepier - the ghosts of murdered twins stalking young Danny Torrance or a few angry bees? Probably the best thing about this re-release is the remastered quality of the footage, now for the first time in proper anomorphic widescreen so that it fits the TV screen properly and clear as a bell.Overall then it's still a great film, but not such a great DVD (I've seen better special features on a run of the mill romantic comedy). If you want my advice, buy the Region 1 US version through Playtrade and forget the UK cut.