A couple who participated in a potent medical experiment gain telekinetic ability and then have a child who is pyrokinetic.
Andrew and Vicky McGee met while earning money as guinea pigs for an experiment at college. The experiment was shrouded in suspicion and mystery, and seemed to be related to psychic abilities. The two were married and had a daughter, Charlie, who has the ability to start fires by merely thinking about it, also known as pyrokinesis. Naturally, the government takes a great interest in Charlie, and operatives from the secret department known as "The Shop" want to quarantine and study her.
The adaptation of one of Stephan King's better novels comes across as positive if only for the screen presence of Drew Barrymore. She holds the film's improbabilities together with a mixture of innocence and grit that no other child actor could possibly have given.
Tangerine Dream's electronic score, starting with the haunting title theme, "Crystal Voice", carry the story very well, moving from times of cool mystery to frantic panic to the driving beat of the demise of the Shop at the hands of Charley's awesome, unleashed pyrokinetic power.
The ending is not as good as the book's, opting for Charley to be escorted to the newspaper building rather than seeking it out on her own.
As for the casting, David Keith came across as perhaps a little too tortured, Martin Sheen as slimy as they come, along with good bits by Art Carney, Louise Fletcher, Heather Locklear, Freddie Jones and Moses Gunn.
A major bit of miscasting was in the choice of George C. Scott hamming it up as the shop's Native American (?) assassin. The part, originally offered to Edward James Olmos, was refused because of political protest from the Hispanic actor over casting him rather than a true Native American. So they went to George C. Scott? Absolutely bloody awful choice, as is the choice of Malcolm McDowell in the same role for the upcoming sequel, "Firestarter:Rekindled". What are producers and casting agents thinking? That we won't notice the British accent? I saw this movie for the first time the other night and must say I was quite taken. Slow at times but the cast was strong. George C Scott is terrific as the Rainbird character. An unusual choice for him but played so well. You knew he hated what he was doing for the government. When Martin Sheen warns him about what will happen to him if 'Charlie' finds out, he laughs and welcomes the confrontation. Barrymore was excellent and so sincere in her part. Stereotype government agents were so effective you found yourself rooting for the 'Charlie' girl to burn them all and their evil ways. See it. 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. Nine-year-old Charlene "Charlie" McGee (Drew Barrymore) has the ability to start fires with her mind thanks to an experiment in which her parents were given a chemical called LOT-6 when they were in college. The experiments were conducted by a secret governmental organization known as the "Shop", and the Shop is super interested in studying Charlie's ability for use as a military weapon. When they go so far as to kill Charlie's mother to get at Charlie, her father Andy (David Keith), who has the ability to influence minds, takes Charlie on the run. Not to be deterred, the Shop sends "exterminator" John Rainbird (George C. Scott) to apprehend and bring them in, at any cost. Firestarter (1980) was written by American horror novelist Stephen King. The novel was adapted for the movie by Canadian-born screenwriter Stanley Mann. Firestarter was followed by a made-for-TV sequel, Firestarter 2: Rekindled (2002) (2002). In the novel, Dr. Wanless (Freddie Jones) describes Lot Six as "a synthetic copy of a pituitary extract, a powerful painkiller-hallucinogen that we did not understand then and that we don't understand now." One thing they do know, he says, is that "Lot Six somehow changed the physical composition of the pituitary glands of those who participated in the experiment" and that "Lot Six was responsible in some way for the occasional flashes of psi ability that nearly all human beings demonstrate from time to time." According to the novel, the Shop is really the Department of Scientific Intelligence. They claim to be involved in domestic scientific projects related to national security, e.g., electromagnetic energy and fusion power, but they're also conducting secret experiments on people with certain parapsychological abilities that might be useful as weapons. Andy forces Captain Hollister (Martin Sheen) to get a message to Charlie, telling her to meet him in the stables at 8 PM. Charlie shares this good news with her friend John. When Andy and Charlie meet in the stables, John is already there, hiding in the loft. Charlie is glad when she finds that John is there, but Andy has been warned by Hollister that it was John who shot them and who has been tricking Charlie to cooperate. Charlie threatens to burn down the stables, but John warns that she'll kill the horses, so she backs off. Charlie begins to climb up to the loft but Andy pulls her down. He then forces John to jump, but John shoots Andy in the shoulder as he lands. He then turns the gun on Charlie, but she burns bullet, gun, and John. With his dying breath, Andy tells Charlie to burn down the Shop so that they can't do anything like this again. As the barn begins to flame, Charlie frees the horses and heads outside where she sends fireball after fireball, burning everything cars, helicopters, and buildings. Shop agents try shooting her, but Charlie burns the bullets before they even reach her. When the entire compound is on fire, Charlie walks away, saying, "For you, Daddy." In the final scene, Charlie arrives at the Manders' farm. Norma (Louise Fletcher) takes Charlie into her arms and Irv (Art Carney) is shown accompanying Charlie into the New York Times building, presumably to go public with her story. No. This is one movie in which Stephen King does not have a cameo. a5c7b9f00b
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