Firestarter - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Firestarter Reviews

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August 12, 2017
I do like the idea of Stephen King multi-verse. all the movies are their own worlds were other stories connect, and the "dark tower" is supposed to separate and protect them all from this "dark outer realm" that these creatures that infest and,plague most of the king stories example: the mist, it, the stand etc. but because of the man in black "who by the way is Randall flag" is attacking the towers and letting these monsters slip into those worlds. And that is why Pennywise the dancing clown is actually a giant spider. Our heroes with the "shining" ability like Charlie McGee and her father have been put through out king's stories to help protect the the dark tower. I would have liked these movies to have put more emphasis on that. possibly leading to a much larger story.
June 4, 2017
Definitely the BEST film based on the Stephen King books, although there were pieces missing in the movie, overall it is deserving of a 5 star rating.
April 18, 2017
You're all crazy, this movie is fantastic!
½ April 15, 2017
One of the best Barrymore films and King adaptations.
Super Reviewer
March 29, 2017
Stephen King's story gets a once over but very little more as this adaptation is all about the fireworks. But once it's time for that ... hooboy, do things heat up plenty fast. George C. Scott is a smoothly contemptible villain as well.
March 16, 2017
Probably one of the worst adapations of a stephen King novella!!
February 22, 2017
Really more of a 2 1/2 but the special effects were probably pretty cool in 1984 and you've got Martin Sheen and George C. Scott. I guess even in the 80's the book is always > movie.
February 4, 2017
A bit of a bore, just like the novel, but it can't really help that. Well shot and a good performance from George C. Scott.
½ November 5, 2016
A man and his young girl are on the run from a powerful corporate entity. They both possess mental powers that others want to control, weaponize, study, and sell. The father can control his, but his daughter lacks the ability to control her gift. When the little girl gets angry and scared, bad things happen all around her. It has a compelling science fiction concept. Good acting performances and a fitting score offer a lot to appreciate here. There are fragments in the story that do not get the full level of development they deserve to make everything come together. There is an ominous Native American figure that wants to kill the little girl, but his motivation is vague for most of the movie. He is a major character, but his reason for being there and his position within the corporation is not clear. A mysterious dark character can be good but as things unfold, his character should be clearer. I hate to see a good idea for story crumble, but this movie does not finish well. Drew Barrymore is cute in this, just do not make her mad.
Super Reviewer
½ September 10, 2016
Despite the nice special effects and musical score, this is more a mere excuse for pyrotechnics instead of a story made to offer us anything close to real drama or character development, and it doesn't even understand the character's power enough to make it consistent.
½ August 19, 2016
A very cheesy premise, but a surprisingly interesting and fun movie.
½ July 7, 2016
An 80s classic But unfortunately the acting was only sub-par.
½ June 28, 2016
Daughter of government guinea pigs starts fires with her mind in this weak adaptation of Kings best-selling novel.
May 21, 2016
Not the greatest Stephen King adaptation, although the fiery ending was memorable. There was some suspense, but the story wasn't developed enough. (First and only viewing - 5/19/2016)
½ April 19, 2016
Volunteer test subjects are given medication that kills most of them and brings out certain powers in the others. Including a young girl thaat can start fires with her mind.
½ March 14, 2016
Thought not necessarily based on one of the Stephen King's better novels, the casting of Drew Barrymore was enough to warrant a viewing.


The premise in Firestarter was always fairly thin, but the way Mark L. Lester depicts it makes this all the clearer because it stays very true to the source material but moves along at an extremely fast rate. As the film feels rather rushed, viewers not familiar with the novel might be confused as to the motivations of characters and the actual occurrences in many scenes. In an effort to convey this to viewers, Stanley Mann's screenplay profusely simplifies things which ends up revealing just how little happens. The novel unfolded by providing us the paranoia of the characters in dealing with a character like Charlene "Charlie" McGee from the perspective of people on both sides of the law which gave readers the motives of both heroes and villains, but the simplistic path of the film adaptation's narrative leaves it as being simply black and white.
You would think that a film adaptation of Firestarter would have greater cinematic power due to its ability to depict Charlie McGee's powers in a tangible form, but it doesn't compare to how Stephen King originally envisioned it. The film merely cuts between shots of Drew Barrymore staring silently and fires getting sparked up. There is no feeling of tension in these scenes because the technique is so mediocre; there isn't a sense that the fires are uncontrollable creations of Charlie's anger but rather that they are small-scale stunts which are very controlled. Due to Firestarter's low-budget it can only do so much, but given the nature of the original novel it would be easy to get away with this. Still, the film emerges as no flaming extravaganza. The entire visual style of the film is a little to amateur since it relies on a generic collection of medium shots and shot-reverse shots, but that's to be expected from Mark L. Lester as his style is too distinctive of the 80's era to carry lasting value, particularly since his adherence disregards the nature of a Stephen King text.
Firestarter does not carry the Stephen King feel. While the novel maintained his distinctive language and deep examination of psychological darkness, the film is very much a watered-down imitation of his work. Rather than being a dark and sadistic depiction of a young girl with violent powers, Mark L. Lester turns it into a gimmicky 80's science fiction film which is practically a family-friendly film. It's clear from the beginning that Firestarter is a little too 1980's for its own good as the musical score by Tangerine Dream starts the film out on its narrative path. As well-composed as it is, the musical score carries the synthesized feeling of the decade which is trippy at some moments yet never appropriate to the story. It's the kind of music more fitting for a Dario Argento film than a Stephen King-penned text, and it's a key factor in the film's inability to establish atmosphere. Other reasons include the inability to establish the depth of the story's father-daughter relationship or the mystical attraction shared between Andrew "Andy" McGee and Victoria "Vicky" McGee and the actual cognitive dissidence of carrying powers. In the end, Firestarter is just not a scary film and lacks both visual panache and genuine characterization which leaves it faltering on every major level.
Still, Firestarter does manage to absorb some flair from the inherent talents of its cast.
Drew Barrymore's leading effort is surely a solid one. Being the flavour of the month after her breakthrough in E.T. the Extra-terrestrial (1982), Drew Barrymore carries over her innocent childish charms into a far more dramatic role. In the role of the titular Firestarter, Drew Barrymore incorporates an introverted nature that contrasts her outgoing friendless, easily capturing her ability to oscillate between being a little girl and a troubled soul. Drew Barrymore is easily likable, but she also takes the part very seriously despite the limitations of filmmaking around her. Though the script may oversimplify her character, Drew Barrymore manages to hone the role into being her own and finds an accurate pursuit of the source material. She offers both childish charms and genuine intensity which keeps the mediocre drama of the script with at least some life in it, ensuring that she is an active and engaging presence consistently throughout the film. And her chemistry with David Keith is powerful because the two appear to really share a bond in their time together on screen, relaying a strong effort to capture the sentimental intentions of the original story. Drew Barrymore is, in all essence, the greatest thing about Firestarter.
David Keith also proves a strong leading man. Andrew "Andy" McGee was hardly much of a distinctive character in the novel and so it would take little more than star power to carry the role. Given that actor David Keith was fresh off his Golden Globe nominated performance in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), he carries the correct appeal. As a lead, David Keith constantly remains focused on his goal to protect his character's daughter and remains in a state of constant intensity over his fatherly ambitions. This is the source of his character's strength, yet he also carries the vulnerability of Andy McGee's state that comes as a result of him using his powers. David Keith makes an effort to capture the clear themes of the story through both internal dedication and physical ambition, effectively leading Firestarter into powerfully-acted territory.
Martin Sheen's instinctive charisma gives him a commanding presence which easily presents antagonism to viewers, and George C. Scott is a convincing John Rainbird.

Firestarter maintains strong performances from Drew Barrymore and David Keith, but in remaining faithful to Stephen King's original story it brings over the thin story without the psychological thrills that kept it engaging, leaving it short on narrative and too reliant on 80's filmmaking tropes to offer any kind of visual experience in the process.
November 2, 2015
With mind-blowing visual effects and a well-written script and story, Stephen King's Firestarter benefits solidly from a scene-stealing performance by Drew Barrymore and the film's supporting cast including George C. Scott and Martin Sheen.
August 15, 2015
what a classic movie
½ July 24, 2015
Drew Barrymore's finest performance. She does such a stellar job.
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