May 13, 202240/1005 min
Zac Efron, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Gloria Reuben, Kurtwood Smith
Written by
Scott Teems (screenplay by) Stephen King (novel)
Directed by
Keith Thomas
Run Time
1h 34min
Release Date
May, 13th, 2022
Overall Score
Rating Summary

          The works of Stephen King have been adapted in one form or another roughly two years after his first published novel Carrie in 1974. Now it seems that some of those adaptations are getting a second visit after their initial 80’s run. Having already revisited Pet Sematary, the next remake on deck is Firestarter, the1984 box office bomb that stared Drew Barrymore. While there wasn’t much to remember from that first go around, Director Keith Thomas and writer Scott Teems hope you won’t feel the same way about their version.

 Andy ( Zac Efron) and Vicky McGee (Sydney Lemmon) as college kids took part in a study that did more than pay them for their time. It seems during the experiment they both developed special abilities and when they had a child those abilities elevated in Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong). She knows she is special, as when she gets angry things really seem to heat up, something that is becoming harder and harder for her to control. While with great power comes great responsibility, for Charlie and her parents they are just trying to stay hidden form a secret group that wants to harness and control their power. When their cover is blown the group sends Rainbird (Michael Greyeyes) to get Charlie, as he handles things like this with the upmost discretion. Things though don’t go smoothly and soon Charlie and Andy are on the run, trying to stay one step ahead of the secretive group that is pursuing them.

Even though the original Firestarter was nothing to write home about, the story itself still had enough that someone thought it would be good to remake it. With a little over twenty minutes shaved off its runtime, the version has plenty of narrative plot holes that leave questions without many answers and half-assed resolutions. There is not much exploration of the abilities and what it means to have them. The original movie opened with Andy and Charlie already on the run, Teems’s script does provide more complexities on her family life and answers some of the questions raised. And it does add some clarity to the story with the first act, it is after that where things start to get muddy.

 Firestarter definitely deserved a remake, but this is not the one. While the performances are fine, the film lacks personality and with its flat and bland color palette, it doesn’t give you much to want to remember. The best things about it are the opening sequence and the score by John and Cody Carpenter and Daniel A. Davies. What you get beyond that is not going to set the world on fire and this version unfortunately gets some cold water thrown on it. Maybe we will get the movie version of this story that is deserves one day, but until then this would have to be considered, strike two.

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