Firestarter Movie Review ***SPOILERS***

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Neil W

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May 27, 2008
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Firestarter - book and film - both hit the ground running (literally) by starting in the middle of a chase: Andy and Charlie McGee, father and daughter, on the run from The Shop, the covert government department which is responsible for both of them acquiring psi abilities. Andy has a mild ability to "push" people to do things against their will: using this ability causes him severe problems (nosebleeds, headaches). Charlie is pyrokinetic, an ability seemingly without limit. On the job for The Shop is operative John Rainbird who believes that, if he kills Charlie, he will be enriched by her spirit.

This is one of the better King adaptations. It follows the book quite closely and, where it has made changes, they are generally for the better. The cast is good, with George C Scott a very strong Rainbird.

The music by Tangerine Dream is less welcome, and the decision to have Charlie's hair blowing in the wind every time she uses her power is questionable.

The effects haven't aged well - this one could usefully be remade with contemporary effects serving it rather better. But it does explain why the climactic confrontation takes place at night rather than, as in the book, in daylight: darkness is better at covering up fireball wires etc.
 
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guido tkp

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Oct 1, 2009
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outside the dome
i've really wanted to go and track this one down...haven't seen it since it debuted in the theaters...all those years ago...

i remember liking it...but alot of the concerns you listed ring true...

thanks for the reminder...i'll have to get off my lazy tuckus and git er dun

without having seen it, the one thing that did stick out in my mind is that i thought, at the time, it was definately a 'close but no cigar' kinda vibe..so i'm up for a remake of serious intent
 
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skimom2

Just moseyin' through...
Oct 9, 2013
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I really liked the book, and thought the movie was pretty good. I do differ with you about Scott--to me, he seemed horribly miscast. David Keith was really wonderful as Andy, as was Art Carney as Irv.
 
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Grandpa

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Mar 2, 2014
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Maybe I'm ready to see it now. The hair blowing with the pyrokensis was offputting, as was David Keith putting his hands to his head when he "pushed." Not to mention George C. Scott didn't fit Rainbird.

So now that time has passed, maybe I should judge the flick on its own merits rather than my expectations.
 
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Dana Jean

Dirty Pirate Hooker, The Return
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Apr 11, 2006
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Maybe I'm ready to see it now. The hair blowing with the pyrokensis was offputting, as was David Keith putting his hands to his head when he "pushed." Not to mention George C. Scott didn't fit Rainbird.

So now that time has passed, maybe I should judge the flick on its own merits rather than my expectations.
I thought the book was very good, and I've only seen bits and pieces of the movie and by what I saw, I hated it.
 

Wedgeski

Member
May 19, 2014
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I really liked this adaptation, but haven't seen it in a long while. Drew Barrymore was (and still is) such a talent, she was perfectly cast, and contrary to skimom2, I loved George C. Scott as Rainbird!

Interestingly, I think Firestarter is one of those plots that hasn't aged well. "Super-powered kid on the run from sinister government agency" has become a huge cliche. I doubt any modern adaptation could quite get away with it.
 
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opundo

Active Member
Sep 25, 2011
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Derry, Maine
Firestarter - book and film - both hit the ground running (literally) by starting in the middle of a chase: Andy and Charlie McGee, father and daughter, on the run from The Shop, the covert government department which is responsible for both of them acquiring psi abilities. Andy has a mild ability to "push" people to do things against their will: using this ability causes him severe problems (nosebleeds, headaches). Charlie is pyrokinetic, an ability seemingly without limit. On the job for The Shop is operative John Rainbird who believes that, if he kills Charlie, he will be enriched by her spirit.

This is one of the better King adaptations. It follows the book quite closely and, where it has made changes, they are generally for the better. The cast is good, with George C Scott a very strong Rainbird.

The music by Tangerine Dream is less welcome, and the decision to have Charlie's hair blowing in the wind every time she uses her power is questionable.

The effects haven't aged well - this one could usefully be remade with contemporary effects serving it rather better. But it does explain why the climactic confrontation takes place at night rather than, as in the book, in daylight: darkness is better at covering up fireball wires etc.
I like George C. Scott, but he was too old for the part.
 

Rockym

Well-Known Member
Feb 11, 2012
77
236
I thought this was one of the best adaptations of a SK novel. For the most part, followed the novel very closely except for some minor changes that really didn't detract as much as changes in other adaptations. I also didn't mind George C. Scott as Rainbird, while he didn't look that much like an Indian, the novel gave me the impression that he was pretty old and ready to die. Drew Barrymore and David Keith were spot on as Charlie and Andy. And Martin Sheen was good too, though I also pictured Cap as being a bit older as well.

Apparently, there was a sequel released in 2002 called Firestarter 2:Rekindling Firestarter 2: Rekindled (TV Movie 2002) - IMDb

It doesn't sound very good, and if people didn't like George C. Scott as Rainbird, I can imagine what they would think about Malcom McDowell as him. Yes, it appears they brought him back.

I don't get why people try to make sequels to SK novel adaptations, they are never good.
 

morgan

Well-Known Member
Jul 11, 2010
29,353
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North Dakota
Apparently, there was a sequel released in 2002 called Firestarter 2:Rekindling
This movie was so painfully horrible I couldn't even watch more than 30 minutes of it (and it's 168 minutes long!!). So bad it makes me wanna cry. :down:
 

Rockym

Well-Known Member
Feb 11, 2012
77
236
This movie was so painfully horrible I couldn't even watch more than 30 minutes of it (and it's 168 minutes long!!). So bad it makes me wanna cry. :down:
Yeah, that's what I figured. Just the fact that they brought back Rainbird in it says that. Hopefully, SK will give us a real sequel one day. There's so much potential on what could have happened with Charlie after the ending.
 
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Blake

Deleted User
Feb 18, 2013
4,191
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You have four beers and read Firestarter this afternoon and who said there's no God.
 

Grandpa

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Mar 2, 2014
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I had a certain look in mind when I read the book, but now with the passing of decades, I think an aged Scott Glenn could play Cap.

If Danny Trejo was over six feet tall, he'd fit more my mental image of Rainbird.

Drew Barrymore wasn't bad - I think a 12-year-old Natalie Portman would fit. I don't know of anyone like that, though.

You know who I think could pull off Andy? No, of course you don't. You're not telepathic. Joseph Gordon-Levitt. If you think he can't act, you haven't seen Lookout. Just not James Franco, please. And for that matter, Karl Urban can play just about anything.
 
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Keith Richie

New Member
Mar 21, 2017
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Firestarter - book and film - both hit the ground running (literally) by starting in the middle of a chase: Andy and Charlie McGee, father and daughter, on the run from The Shop, the covert government department which is responsible for both of them acquiring psi abilities. Andy has a mild ability to "push" people to do things against their will: using this ability causes him severe problems (nosebleeds, headaches). Charlie is pyrokinetic, an ability seemingly without limit. On the job for The Shop is operative John Rainbird who believes that, if he kills Charlie, he will be enriched by her spirit.

This is one of the better King adaptations. It follows the book quite closely and, where it has made changes, they are generally for the better. The cast is good, with George C Scott a very strong Rainbird.

The music by Tangerine Dream is less welcome, and the decision to have Charlie's hair blowing in the wind every time she uses her power is questionable.

The effects haven't aged well - this one could usefully be remade with contemporary effects serving it rather better. But it does explain why the climactic confrontation takes place at night rather than, as in the book, in daylight: darkness is better at covering up fireball wires etc.
Interestingly, the music by TD is what sold me (Made me a fan of theirs, and made me instantly seek out the book to read it).
I could be wrong, but I think this is what got me into King novels to begin with.
 

Doc Creed

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Nov 18, 2015
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I haven't seen the movie in quite a while, but I thought it was okay. I did like the book.
From the very first chapter we're off to the races. I read feverishly until about midway (Tashmore Pond) and then things changed.
It is at this point that Charlie and Andy are in the Shop's custody so the excitement of the chase is over. Now it is a waiting game to see how Charlie will escape.
As for the film, I liked it somewhat. Drew's acting was mediocre and forced in parts but it didn't ruin the viewing experience for me. The special effects were surprisingly well done for this time period.
 
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Keith Richie

New Member
Mar 21, 2017
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After I saw it the first time, for many months I could literally quote every line. Absolutely fell in love with the book.
Sure the film, it hasn't stood the test of time as much as I would have liked it, and it has it's problems, but I still love it.
Of special note, the opening theme in the film (Crystal Voice) is a distinct version that is a bit different than what was delivered on the OST. I prefer the version actually used in the film, but unfortunately all the sources for it are in mono :(
 
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Deviancy

I go Boo.....
Mar 20, 2019
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If Danny Trejo was over six feet tall, he'd fit more my mental image of Rainbird.
Edward James Olmos back when Firestarter was released was who I kind of pictured, probably because of his role in the Wolfen (totally underrated flick and the book should still be in print.. I lost my copy and the used copies always look like trash when I come across them).

As for the film, I can't remember what Stephen King film I saw first, I think it was Firestarter or Christine. But Firestarter is on my top 5 Stephen King film list for a handful of reasons. Casting was pretty solid and Drew did fine, especially at the end when she got revenge, I wanted to cheer her on as she burned it all down. Score wise, using Tangerine Dream, that was rare since most studios didn't use that genre of music back then and TD nailed it and really added more to the film. Yes, there were scenes where things were a bit corny but it was the 80's.

However, as much as I enjoy the film, I'm not against a remake as long as they don't try too hard to be edgy. I remember reading they wanted it to be super edgy but that would be silly since the book wasn't edgy, it was just a good story about a father and daughter trying to survive and stay away from a corrupt secret government agency.
 
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