Drew Barrymore stars as an eight-year-old girl with the amazing ability to start fires with just a glance. Can her power and the love of her father save her from the clandestine government agency, "The Shop," that wants he... more »r destroyed? From the Stephen King novel.« less
"I had first seen this film in bits and pieces when I was four. I thought it was okay. Recently, I rented the film and found that I really, really like it. I just bought the book and was shocked to discover how faithful the movie stays to it. I love little Drew Barrymore. Watching her in this movie when she was eight years old, I wish that she was my little sister. David Keith is excellent as Charlie McGee's father. I've never seen him in anything else besides this film. George C. Scott portrays John Rainbird very well. He steals every scene he's in with a wonderfully twisted performance, whether it be trying to be friendly with Charlie, or talking to Martin Sheen about disposing of her. I've heard many comments about laughable dialogue and acting. I'll admit that I have chuckled once or twice at some of the lines, but that's because I like those lines; I don't hate them. I especially chuckled a lot at the scene in which Rainbird fakes that he is afraid of the dark. My most favorite line is spoken by Freddie Jones (Dr. Wanless), which regards Charlie's power and how it could destroy the earth. After reading comments by people in which they say that the film is silly and laughable (especially Leonard Maltin's review), I cannot understand that these people do not feel any emotion towards Charlie McGee. What I mean is, after all the trouble she's been through, her parents are both dead, you just can't help feeling sorry for her. Every time I watch the film, I am in tears at the end because nothing left in her life. The music during the end credits is what really gets me. It's a beautiful, sad tune that makes you think of Charlie's face. I wonder exactly how this film was received upon its theatrical release in 1984. I was only two at the time, and I don't remember a thing from 1984. I really wish I had seen it in the theater. How did the film do at the box office? I imagine that it was not a big hit, given the fact that it is so underrated and virtually unheard-of today. I imagine this is the reason why Universal gave the home video rights to Image Entertainment. Image produced the DVD, which unfortunately is a simple re-packaging of the 1997 letterboxed laserdisc. The transfer is not anamorphic, and the audio remains mono. It just does not do justice for the film. I feel that the film would greatly benefit from a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, especially in scenes where Charlie blows things up. I had also hoped for deleted scenes and outtakes. Stephen King's novel offers many scenes that may have been filmed and cut, given the fact that the film stays nearly 90% faithful to the novel. I have always felt, as do some other people, that the ending in the movie was too brief. The book's ending is much longer. I would be really interested in seeing footage cut from the ending. In closing, I recommend this film to all Sci-Fi buffs. Try to look past the so-called "laughable acting and dialogue" and try to let your emotions through. I hope that this film regains its popularity. It is very good, but it is too underrated."
Movie and book are underated and misunderstood
Natalie | Thousand Oaks, CA, USA | 09/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What I think people don't understand about this story is that in
the year 1984, alot of the "Big Brother" theories were coming to life, meaning there were alot more authors writing stories about the secret factions of the United States Government. The Shop is the faction that Stephen King created, and the novel Firestarter takes you on the complete ride of what it feels like to have nowhere to hide. The movie is terrific, but in some parts I do feel like it may have been quickly knocked together, so they left out some important parts in the script. In the novel, Andy and Vicki McGee naively take part in a government experiment in college, but have no idea what they've gotten themselves into. The Shop is portrayed as diabolical, cold, and heartless. 'Either you be brainwashed, or you'll be exterminated. It's your choice.'
And THAT was what made it scary. Charlie and her power was not meant to be the frightening part at all (even though it is at times (: ) The frightening part is that a little girl is born into a situation in which there is no way out. So that's why I think that the movie and the book are underated by most critics.
But Firestarter is my all time favorite King book next to The Shining."
I enjoyed this movie, but it had some weaknesses.
Indiana Jeff Reynolds | Indianapolis, IN USA | 12/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was a decent though not perfect adaptation of the book. One problem was it tried to be heavy on star power. The cast includes Drew Barrymore, David Keith, Heather Locklear, Martin Sheen (in a role that Burt Lancaster was to play), George C. Scott, Art Carney, and Louise Fletcher. For the most part, this was not a problem, but can I picture George C. Scott playing a one eyed native American? Wasn't there a good native American to play that role?
The story is more a true science fiction story than a horror story. The government has secret experiments toying with paranormal activity. Two of the guinea pigs fall in love, get married, and . . . no, they don't live happily ever after. They have a daughter, and the government thugs kill the mother and try to kidnap the daughter, until the father intervenes. There are no supernatural evil creatures; just people with abnormal abilities up against bad human beings.
The movie can drag at points. It is not as effective as the book, which is nothing new. It was rated R due to the violence primarily. The acting on the part of Barrymore was not the greatest, either. But I found it an entertaining picture."
Indiana Jeff Reynolds | 10/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Book Firestarter is great and so is the movie. Though some of the stuff from the book wasn't in the movie I feel that it was pretty faithful to the book and I can understand why they didn't include the garbage disposal incident, it just would have been too gross! Drew Barrymore was great as Charlie and even at around 8 years old you could tell what a wonderful gifted actress she was, she really inherited the famous Barrymore acting skills! Well, really at around 5 or 6 years old she proved what an amazing actress she was in E.T.! David Keith was very good as her father Andy and I also really liked George C. Scott he was a perfectly creepy Rainbird. I didn't find the book or movie very scary, I found both as more mystery/suspense which is what I like and it also had Drama. I too found it sad what was done to Charlie and her father, especially Charlie she was just a little girl and what The Shop did to her was despicable, and afterall they made her what she was, because of an experiment they did they caused her to be born with the ability to start fires with her mind and she couldn't always control it! I highly recommend this movie!"
"goodness gracious great balls of fire" great movie !!
Indiana Jeff Reynolds | 07/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My name is Steve by the way , Firestarter is one of my favorite movies , wonderful, and great movie starring a young Drew Barrymore from 1984 who does a amazing job at for a 8 yr old girl at the time, she was always starting out her acting career. Her name in the movie is Charlie in the movie and possess special extraoridinary power from telekineses and set things on fire she also can see things before they happen , like ESP ,which she got from genes mixed from a experiment before she was born from her parents. her mother died and is only with her father. Now the Shop, some kind of special organization or government wants her for testing and experimentation in the Shop and wants to keep her there.And What a CAst , ArtCarney ,MArtin Sheen and George C. SCott stars as Rainbird. Rainbird captures her and her father and brings them there and asks for their cooperation. they go through tests. Charlie does'nt want to be there at all. She only wants to be with her father. The ending is wicked and Explosive and very good. Nothing like movies from today so if you want a good fun thriller id get this one."