Fortunately, he has an ace up his sleeve with 9-year-old actress Drew
Barrymore: the movie might easily be retitled The Scene Stealer.
Barrymore's performance as Charlie McGee has something of the pint-sized
coquetry of a Shirley Temple, and something of the shoulders-back, chin-
in-the-air hauteur of a Bette Davis, but she seems incapable of hitting a
false, precocious or calculating note. She virtually acts her co-stars off
the screen. [14 May 1984]
Drew Barrymore stars as a little girl in the film Firestarter.. I think the film tries to be a horror but it's not scary, it's not creepy or anything but the explosion and fire scenes are impressive. Drew Barrymore can set things on fire or blow things up just by looking at them and even more so if you make her angry lol. Not the worst film, I'd say it's average but it could of been so much better.
It's a ridiculous story to be sure, filled with holes and not remotely plausible, but director Mark L. Lester knows enough to keep the speed up, and the dumb stuff is flattened by action. It's the kind of movie in which the audience waits happily for the little heroine to be cornered by villains, all to cheer at the inevitable roast. Lester, at least, is stylish enough to get away with it. [12 May 1984, p.C1]
Lester manages to maintain a fair level of suspense, and he is greatly helped by Scott, giving his best performance in years as the demonic CIA man sporting a sneer and a pony tail, but King's supernatural ideas need a human focus or they seem nearly idiotic. And, unlike the central figures in Carrie or The Shining, the heroine of Firestarter is just a rather wet little girl who happens to throw fireballs.
Even before it begins laying waste to the reputations of cast members, Firestarter is promptly exposed as a derivative embarrassment of a conception. What could be better calculated to illustrate King's recent decline than a "new" thriller whose devices have been poorly cribbed and patched together from "Carrie" and "The Fury"? As a matter of fact, "Charlie's Fiery Fury" would be a catchier bad title than Firestarter.
A fire too cold to be surprising.
This film is an adaptation of a novel by Stephen King, where a young girl with pirokinesis and his father, with powers of mental manipulation, are seeking to escape government agents that want to kill them. Directed by Mark L. Lester, has David Keith and Drew Barrymore in the lead roles.
This film is neither good nor bad. It is exactly in the middle. Drue Barrymore still manages to enchant us, as it was still far from the bad roads that ran through adolescence, years later. The story is also very interesting and covers a topic that always knew intrigue people. However, it's not, by far, the best film adaptation of a King book: the actors are sometimes too theatrical, especially Keith, every time it uses its powers; the script also has some obvious flaws and lack of logic. If the father imagined, as the film suggests, the danger in which he lived with his family, why he didn't use his powers to flee abroad earlier? And what is the purpose of that rampant police harassment against a man able to control minds and a girl able to set fire to everything?
Not being very good, this film is still able to perform well with its role: entertain the public. Therefore, it is still interesting to see, although it is not surprising.
I chose to analyze the adaptation between the book by Stephen King and the movie. King has many telltale elements that are prominent throughout his novels. King pays special attention to detail by focusing on establishing every scene and the specific attributes of every character. King also relies on the use of flashbacks throughout to help build background for the plot line. While reading this novel, I was able to feel a deep empathy for the characters, and felt the scariness Stephen King was trying to achieve in this psychological thriller. Sadly, I felt a lot of the defining elements and the true intent of King’s purpose was lost in the film adaptation. The movie focused too much on the action of the fire rather than the dangers of a human mind that King was showing. There was constant non-diegetic sound almost through the entire movie, never really letting the audience immerse themselves into the story. I understand the director made the choice to keep the music to add suspense, it more or less covered up the real scariness. It also felt as though the director completely disregarded King’s use of symbolism in the movie. The main antagonist, Rainbird, was supposed to have grotesque scares across his face, and missing an eye. Yet, in the film adaptation, Rainbird, played by John C. Reilly, had nothing more than a light blue contact in to make him look blind. While the movie did have some high points, like keeping the flashbacks very prominent and filling the main climatic scene with low-key light, close shots, and both non-digetic and diegetic sound; I believe the movie still didn’t do justice to the book. While I was sitting there watching the movie, I became bored. I never felt as though I was with the characters or could empathize with them like I had in the book. I think this had to be because the movie took no time to establish time or setting, so everything seemed to elapse in a span of days when in the book it was over 2 years long. There was only one establishing scene throughout the whole movie to start the movie in Washington D.C. which wasn’t even the same setting as the book. King used pages upon pages to set up every chapter; every scene so the reader knew what was happening. The movie never once showed a change in time or even having an actor say it in the movie. Stephen King has had some marvelous film adaptations of his books, including: Shawshank Redemption, The Shining, Misery, and Stand by Me. But as I have read many Stephen King novels and watched the movies too, I do not believe Firestarter should be included with the others. It turned a wonderful, puzzling thriller novel into a cheesy, action-centered film that has since been forgotten.