Summer 1984, I took my 13 year old self off to the cinema to see Firestarter, the new Stephen King adaptation starring Drew Barrymore, and David Keith as Daughter and Father on the run from the government agency ‘The Shop’ who are hunting them down to make use of their supernatural powers and turn them into bioweapons. My 13 year old self loved the movie and over the years I have revisited it dozens of times on various formats (TV, VHS, DVD and Bluray) and its a film that happily sits in my Top 100 list of my favourite films
In the past couple of years, the rumblings of a Firestarter big screen remake started heating up (pun intended) and earlier today I ventured to my local cinema to check out the film. I have a knack of going into a viewing experience with no expectations, and I’m not against remakes, although remakes can sometimes make me a little nervous. But one thing to remember is that even if you don’t like a remake, the original film is still there for you to see whenever you wish to see it. Its not a major disaster if you dislike a film. Its just something that can happen.
So what did I think about Firestarter, well in short I had a lot of fun with it and really enjoyed watching it. I wont go into major comparisons with the 1984 film but for those who have seen the Mark Lester version (the director of the 84 version just in case you didn’t know) The 2022 film is not a carbon copy remake of that film. Whilst there are a lot of similarities, there is also a lot that is very different to the film you may be familiar with, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Its just a thing. If the film were a carbon copy of the 1984 film then it wouldn’t really be bringing anything new now would it. New is what we get, and I liked it.
Casting wise, the choices are excellent with Zac Effron as Andy McGee, and Ryan Kiera Armstrong as Charlie McGee being the main characters in the film, and they play those roles wonderfully, especially Ryan Kiera Armstrong who not only of course brings her own style to the role of the title character but also somehow channels the young Drew Barrymore from the 1984 film. Not sure if Ryan has seen the 84 film though but her performance of Charlie did give me a nostalgic view for my first viewing of the 84 film those many years ago.
Of course with a film called Firestarter, this film does require a lot of visuals and they are fine, there arent too many fireballs as the 1984 version but in this 2022 update, the firestorms are great to watch as they perhaps more accurately portray the heat radiation from the young pyrotechnic child rather than somehow managing to conjure up huge fireballs that fire off like missiles. Also with some other effect shots, in the 84 version they are signalled by a nose bleed, whereas in the 2022 film, blood pours from eyes which looks far more uncomfortable than a nosebleed.
So to sum up. I have seen the 1984 film 20 or so times over the years, most recently a few months ago and loved this 2022 film, Its a clever updating of a great novel by Stephen King and well worth checking out. It will leave you with a question at the end though and Im not sure how to get that one answered. But youll know what the question is when youve seen the film.