Firestarter (2022)
May 13, 2022 11:32 AM - Subscribe

Parents Andy (Zac Efron) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon) have been on the run, desperate to hide their daughter Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) from a shadowy federal agency that wants to harness her dangerous telekinetic powers. Andy has taught Charlie how to defuse her power, 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.

Currently in theaters and streaming on Peacock Premium. Directed by Keith Thomas (The Vigil) and written by Scott Teems (Halloween Kills). Score by John Carpenter, his kid, and that other guy they take around with them.

Teetering precariously at 14% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, far worse than even 1984's unloved original adaptation with Drew Barrymore.
posted by DirtyOldTown (7 comments total)
From the trailer, it seemed that they were making this like an X-Men film, which it's really not. Charlie wasn't feared and ostracized outside the home, she didn't get revenge on bullies. Her parents--though well-meaning and loving--taught her to repress her power through shame and fear, and when her dad died, the dam broke.
posted by praemunire at 1:18 PM on May 13, 2022 [2 favorites]

I haven’t seen this, though I’ve read a couple of negative reviews, and it’s a damn shame it’s apparently so bad since The Vigil was so good.
posted by ejs at 4:21 PM on May 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

Sounds like I shouldn't bother, which is a shame. It's one of King's books that delves deep in his seventies/eighties paranoia regarding the government (The Stand and The Tommyknockers being a couple of others), and if someone realized that it's basically "what if The Men Who Stare At Goats, but if that shit actually worked" and run with that. Maybe less the mainstream X-Men, more Wolverine, who to some extent was also a government experiment run amok.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:14 PM on May 13, 2022 [2 favorites]

Damn shame. I read this book when I was around 20 years old, and I remember liking and being affected by it it way more than I thought I would. The government experiments stuff was genuinely horrifying yet intriguing (I think about those scenes from the book to this day), and I remember the parental stuff with the very young girl to be strangely emotionally powerful. Scared parents trying to keep these weird powers under control with toilet-training kinds of methods. It all fell very personal and raw to me, like real, genuinely private family stuff I was reading. And overall, the book was mostly tragic and sad. With pyro-kinesis!

Of course, I was only 20, and I don't think I'll do a re-read. But someone could make a good movie out of the source material. Too bad this isn't it.
posted by SoberHighland at 5:36 AM on May 14, 2022

This was unbelievably dull and slow-moving, there was no character development at all and most of the special effects were really bad. There's a scene where the kid blows up a building, but the camera happens to be pointing away from it so we only see some reddish-yellow light reflecting back on her, and if you're not going to spend a lot of time blowing things up and setting them on fire on camera, why are you remaking Firestarter in the first place?

There were a few fairly gruesome shots of burned-up / shot people and pets, which sort of seemed out of place with the rest of the movie but it never did seem to be able to figure out what tone it was going for.

I actually sort of like the 1984 version as a bonkers 80's schlock piece, it was directed by the same guy who did Class of 1984 and has kind of a ridiculous cast. George C. Scott as the government's psychic assassin: awesome! George C. Scott in red-face playing a Native American character: pretty hard to take!

In comparison, the new movie substitutes a bunch of grim 'n' gritty stuff for the melodrama of the original (which may be in the book, I haven't read it) but as an attempt to make the characters deeper it fails because we basically know nothing about them apart from what happens in the plot.
posted by whir at 11:38 AM on May 16, 2022

Finally saw this.

My review:
Whereas other sleep aids take as long as 30-60 minutes to take effect, Firestarter works almost instantly. The sleep produced was deep and restful. No apparent side effects or grogginess after the fact.

As a film? One and a half stars.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:26 AM on June 12, 2022

The director's other work clearly shows talent. Not sure what happened here.

The first film is so (mostly justifiably) maligned that I think virtually no one took into account one thing it did very well that would be somewhere between tricky and impossible to match, let alone top: the practical fire FX were great. Safety standards have changed so much that any new film could hardly hope to touch that, and would always be starting out doomed with small scale practical fire FX or CGI instead.

In 1984, it did not seem like a big deal to Hollywood to have the world's favorite young child star walking through extensive fire rigs. You'd never do that today.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:47 AM on June 12, 2022

« Older Hacks: Hacks - Season 2...   |  Movie: The Texas Chain Saw Mas... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments