review by Bobby Blakey
Back in 1984 Stephen King’s novel Firestarter was brought to life starring Drew Barrymore. Since then there has already been a remake, but now it is getting the big budget remake starring Zac Efron, Sydney Lemmon, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Kurtwood Smith, John Beasley and Gloria Reuben from The Vigil director Keith Thomas and iconic director John Carpenter and his fellow Halloween franchise composers Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies are teaming up to do the score. Could this new take bring something hot to the story or will it burn up to early?
Firestarter follows parents Andy and Vicky who have been on the run for more than a decade, desperate to hide their daughter Charlie from a shadowy federal agency that wants to harness her unprecedented gift for creating fire into a weapon of mass destruction. Andy has taught Charlie how to defuse her power, which is triggered by anger or pain. But as Charlie turns 11, the fire becomes harder and harder to control. After an incident reveals the family’s location, a mysterious operative is deployed to hunt down the family and seize Charlie once and for all. Charlie has other plans.
Let me just say that I am not a big fan of the original film so headed into this one with pretty low expectations. Now that I have sat down and rewatched them both not much of my original opinion has changed. The original has more story to it and drags more of it out, but still works for what it is. The new film isn’t good by any means, but I didn’t find it horrible either. In fact it just felt more like a Lifetime movie vibe than anything else. Obviously this isn’t a good thing for something that is supposed to be a supernatural horror as well as adapting King’s work, but it is what it is.
I feel like they were trying to streamline the story in hopes to get to the point faster which I appreciated since the original dragged on many times, but at the same time it also made it feel like there were things missing that were needed for the story to work. It’s that double edge sword that requires more to work, but not so much that it gets lost on itself. The performances were fine I guess, but nothing that really stood out. I think Efron was really trying to bring something to the role, but didn’t have much to work with. There is moments though were they seem to just get over things way too quick when there should be more depth and emotion, but they just move on.
It’s far from a perfect movie and if you go into it with very low expectations you might find something you like. As mentioned before I didn’t hate it, but it did nothing to make it stand out like it could have. This is a lot of the same issues of the original for me as well and I have never read the book so have no opinion in that connection.
In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including a gag reel, extended and deleted scenes, commentary, featurettes and an alternate ending. Grab your copy of Firestarter available now on digital and then on Blu-ray and DVD on June 28th from Universal Home Entertainment.