Firestarter (Keith Thomas, 2022, USA)

Following the immense success of Andy Muschietti's 2017 adaptation of Stephen King's IT, studios began to once again realize the enduring power of Stephen King as an IP. Studios began dusting off old King properties and rebooting them, with the hopes of creating successful franchises. Notably, we got adaptations of Doctor Sleep, a remake of Pet Sematary, and several Netflix films. We also got a remake of The Stand. Of all King properties, Firestarter is not a bad choice to reboot. The original film was not a masterpiece by any stretch, and the film's themes have been mimicked in recent superhero movies as well as Stranger Things

This Blumhouse remake is a bit odd - ostensibly it was set for theatrical, but as most have noted, it feels more like a product for TV or a streamer (it was released simultaneously on Peacock). Compared to the original's great practical effects, the special fire effects here look mostly cheap. But this isn't the main problem with the film. In transplanting the film to the present day, the film essentially strips a lot of the context out of the story. It seems to do this for no good reason, as there are barely any references to the present day.

The resulting film feels odd - it seems as though large portions of the film were left on the cutting room floor. Charlie's origins as a firestarter are not even really made clear. We only get the very briefest background on the telekinetic origins. Efron does his best with the material, but there is not much there. Carpenter's score is awesome, but it does not suit the material and feels as though it was pulled from another movie. The resulting film feels somewhat flavorless and TV-movie-ish, the aesthetic sensibilities seeming to come from over a decade ago.



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