REVIEW: ‘Firestarter’ is a disaster from start to finish

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“Firestarter” is a non-starter. If you have fond memories of the 1984 version or even the original Stephen King novel, hold on to them and don’t sully those memories by watching this new 2022 adaptation.

King remains a competent and popular novelist, and adaptations of his work are in spades. Sometimes adaptations are instant classics loved by millions. And sometimes it’s that new “Firestarter” remake, a boring, lifeless, poorly made excuse for a movie. I’m surprised they even bothered to release it in theaters.

The movie is about a little girl named Charlie who has the super power to generate fire when angry. She and her parents, who also have mental powers, are being pursued by a mysterious government agency and their dangerous agents.

“Firestarter” was originally a novel published in 1980, which was quickly followed by a film adaptation in 1984, starring a very young Drew Barrymore as Charlie. I’ve never read the novel or seen the original movie, but I know some people have fond memories of both. And I’m sure those fond memories and some amount of money spurred Hollywood on to embark on another adaptation.

Why not? Recent “It” films – also remakes of King adaptations – have been a huge hit. And people like movies with superpowers, don’t they?

But man, oh man, “Firestarter” is a failure on almost every level. It’s barely a movie. It’s the kind of movie that should go straight to DVD or be buried on late-night cable TV. It feels flat, like no one bothers to add layers or complexity or character development.

Even the cinematography is lifeless, not to mention the barebones performances and special effects. The movies have used fire from the very beginning, but “Firestarter” can barely create a decent-looking spark to show Charlie using his powers.

The film doesn’t bring anything new to the adaptation either. There are no notable performances or characters. No great moments to tie the film together. No real drama or much of anything of entertainment value.

“Firestarter” is a dud from start to finish. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and energy. Why did anyone even bother to make this movie?

“Firestarter” is available in local theaters and can also be streamed on Peacock.

For more, check out this Sentinel Cinema podcast: https://romesentinel.com/stories/firestarter,134706

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