Firestarter Review - IGN

Firestarter Review – IGN

Firestarter premieres Friday, May 13 in both theaters and streams live on Peacock.

Blumhouse’s new adaptation of Stephen King’s innovative Scarebook Firestarter book, from 1980, features solid performances from Zac “He Plays Dads Now” Efron and young Ryan Kiera Armstrong, but the end product is a nice retelling of a story that here in 2022 needed an extra jolt to bring it back and make it stand out. Among today’s rabble with superhuman strength.

Not only are superhero stories now the meat and potatoes of our mainstream multiplex fabric, the ‘youth discovery abilities’ are well overflowing. Firestarter, as King’s story, is more naturally sinister than other children’s fables, which tend to lean toward a family-friendly adventure, but reworking this story without adding anything particularly new or making it terrifying leaves it defenseless, feeling completely unoriginal in Mutant Despite being one of the first stories of its kind.

Armstrong plays Charlie McGee, a girl born with tremendous powers thanks to government experiments on her parents (which gave them various telepathy/ telekinesis abilities). While escaping from The Store, the mysterious scientific thought center that stuns them in the lab, Charlie’s abilities are far more dangerous than those of her mother and father, as she possesses not only both gifts but also the skill of combustion. It can release large areas of flame or, you know, heat only one spot until someone burns. Armstrong is very good at this role, not only showing deep emotion but also it coincides well with Charlie’s use of powers, angry face, and the CGI effects associated with them.

Efron is also a powerful part of this story, as Charlie’s father, Andy, has the ability to “push” people’s minds, getting them to bend to his will. Efron and Armstrong are believable as a loving duo, and the movie’s best moments happen when they’re together, but the story itself is weak and doesn’t serve them well. So, despite Firestarter flaws, which also affected Gloria Reuben and Kurtwood Smith, who landed Baddie roles in “Oh my God, it’s Jason Bourne” style, Efron and Armstrong left their mark with a good dramatic show.

On the bad guy front, Michael Gray isn’t Like Short like the others, but still feels like a ghost presence rather than a full figure. Like Rainbird, the super strong fixer sent after Charlie (played by George C. Scott in the 1984 movie), Greyeyes gets some notable standoff moments, but his character’s final decision is meaningless and only adds to the more awkward limp. something for this anecdote.

Firestarter is 90 minutes of waiting for the water to heat up, but it never goes lukewarm.


One story move here—a nice paraphrase of the book—is to give more screen time to Vicki McGee, Charlie’s mother (played by Sidney Lemon). Rather than only appearing in flashbacks, we see the co-parenting of Vicki and Andy, as Vicki has been the advocate for teaching Charlie how to use her powers. This slight change isn’t a revamp of the story that needed to come up, but it does give us one of the best encounters in the movie when Rainbird comes along.

Well, I made it this far without the fiery puns, but since I’m only human… Firestarter doesn’t have a visual spark. The story is muted and dry—as Charlie and Andy’s life on the lam seems to last one day (and the epic feel elements are shattered into something a lot like a short story)—and the look of the movie washes out of the blue, with the allure and dynamism of a TV movie. It’s such an eye yawn that one can’t wait for the barbecue brutality to finally unfold, but then even that feels condensed. Firestarter is 90 minutes of waiting for the water to heat up, but it never goes lukewarm.

2022-05-13 16:40:13

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