The plot of Firestarter is simple: a young girl with pyrokinesis powers is on the run from the people who created her. The tale is told chronologically rather than shifting between current events and flashbacks in the 2022 version, as opposed to the original 1984 film.
Charlie McGee (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) is a young girl with a special ability: she can start flames with her thoughts. Throw fireballs, not just create fires. She also possesses psychokinetic abilities (though this is not explored much; after all, the movie is called Firestarter). Andy (Zac Efron) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon), her parents, were college test participants for an experimental medicine. It endowed them with psychokinetic abilities. Vicky no longer uses hers; it is unclear whether the abilities are underdeveloped or Vicky has chosen not to utilise them. Andy, on the other hand, regularly employs his abilities.
He has the ability to “force” individuals to do what he wants, such as shooting someone or “forgetting” to breathe. Andy’s abilities, on the other hand, are wearing him down. When he uses them, he bleeds from his eyes. Vicky wants to teach Charlie how to utilise her powers so she won’t be afraid of them and can control them, but Andy is concerned that it will give her the same anguish that it has caused him, so he teaches Charlie to bottle up her powers and hide them.
Captain Hollister (Gloria Reuben) is the new guard at The Shop, the secret government facility where Andy and Vicky received their superpowers, which they passed on to their daughter. She enlists the services of Rainbird (Michael Greyeyes), a former Shop employee and test subject, to kidnap Charlie and return her to The Shop, where she would be tested and eventually turned into a weapon. Rainbird pursues them and kills Vicky in the process. Andy and Charlie manage to flee, but he tracks them down again, this time in a farmhouse.
Rainbird captures Andy here, but Charlie manages to flee into the woods. Soldiers from The Shop arrive and grab both Andy and Rainbird. Then Charlie has go save her father.
In Firestarter, there were no surprises. The story’s format was the most significant adjustment. In the original film, Charlie and Andy are on the run, and flashbacks tell what brought them there. The events are linear in this version. There was no twist, and nothing unexpected happened. Even if you’ve never read the Stephen King novel or seen the 1984 film adaptation, the film is quite standard. It goes in the exact direction you anticipate it to go.
The main issue with Firestarter was that some of the character development was a little inconsistent. Charlie uses her time alone in the jungle for a few hours to train herself on how to use and control her skills on her own. This was displayed in a few sequences that lasted less than a minute and came off as incredibly suspicious. Rainbird also has some inconsistencies in comparison to the original picture. I won’t give anything away for those who aren’t familiar with Rainbird’s past incarnations, but even if you are, Rainbird’s portrayal felt odd at the end.
I haven’t read the King novel, but this film feels more like a remake of the feature picture than a novel adaption. I swear, several bits of language from the 1984 picture were plagiarised for this one. This film was trimmed down from the original, removing a solid half-hour of unnecessary running time. The gore content in the 2022 version was also increased — just enough to justify the R rating. And, of course, John and Cody Carpenter’s score is unsurpassed.