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Keith Thomas
Zac Efron, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Sydney Lemmon
Writing Credits:
Scott Teems

A young girl tries to understand how she mysteriously gained the power to set things on fire with her mind.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 6/28/2022

• Audio Commentary with Director Keith Thomas
• Alternate Ending
• Deleted/Extended Scenes
• Gag Reel
• “A Kinetic Energy” Featurette
• “Spark a Fire” Featurette
• “Igniting Firestarter” Featurette
• “Power Struggle” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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Firestarter [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 15, 2023)

Stephen King’s 1980 novel Firestarter first hit movie screens via a 1984 adaptation that starred Drew Barrymore in her first role after 1982’s ET the Extra-Terrestrial made her a star. 38 years later, 2022 brought a new version of King’s tale.

As an infant, Charlie McGee shows the ability to create fire solely from her thoughts. Now on the border of adolescence, Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) manages to keep this under control via calming techniques taught to her by parents Andy (Zac Efron) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon).

However, a threat arises when a secret governmental agency called “The Shop” tries to abduct Charlie to use her for their ends. The McGees go on the run to escape this fate.

Given my age and viewing habits at the time, I assume I saw the 1984 Firestarter. However, if so, I maintain no memory of the experience, so I can’t compare the two versions.

I can say that I must assume the original fared better than the 2022 adaptation. Not that this becomes the worst supernatural horror tale I’ve seen, but it sure seems dull and plodding.

Of course, with a movie based on a novel, I always encounter the question of how many issues stem from the source and how many come unique to the film. I never read King’s book, so I can’t determine how closely the 2022 flick hews to his work.

I can’t imagine King – especially a King in his prime – created a novel this boring, though. Despite some intriguing notions, the 2022 Firestarter never sparks a flame.

At its core, the story comes with plenty of potential drama. Charlie’s powers offer obvious room for excitement, and other plot points show the ability to create a compelling thriller.

Unfortunately, the product on the screen never shows a pulse. Of course, it tosses the usual jump scares and horror tactics at us in the pursuit of tension, so expect an urgent score and various ominous moments.

These just lack a punch. Firestarter waddles along across its 94 minutes without the slightest hint of actual scares or dynamic action.

Efron seems wooden as Andy. Armstrong looks and sounds a lot like a young Barrymore, but she shows little personality.

All of this leads to a bland, forgettable 94 minutes. Firestarter never rises above a level of bland mediocrity.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Firestarter appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a decent but erratic presentation.

Sharpness turned into one of the inconsistent elements, as some aspects of the movie looked oddly soft. While most of the movie seemed fairly well-defined, these less precise moments created minor distractions.

Most of these elements came from low-light shots, which tended to appear mushy. Blacks also seemed milky. I assume the filmmakers intended the movie to look this way, but the end result still felt iffy.

I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and the image lacked edge haloes. The film showed no print flaws.

Colors opted for stylized tones that mixed the usual orange and teal. The transfer pulled them off in a satisfactory manner. This was a watchable image but strangely flat at times.

While not overly ambitious, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack worked well. A few more action-oriented scenes used the spectrum best, as some violence packed a punch.

Most of the soundfield emphasized the film’s moody score as well as environmental elements. These broadened the mix in a compelling manner.

Audio quality seemed good, with speech that comes across as natural and concise. Music appeared vivid and robust as well.

Effects offered solid clarity, with nice range and low-end impact. This turned into a worthwhile mix.

The disc comes with some extras, and we open with an audio commentary from director Keith Thomas. He offers a running, screen-specific look at the source and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, stunts and effects, music and audio design, sets and locations, photography, editing, and related topics.

From start to finish, Thomas delivers a strong commentary. He touches on a good variety of domains and does so in a crisp, engaging manner that allows this to become a solid view of the flick.

In addition to an Alternate Ending (2:43), we find seven Deleted and Extended Scenes (20:14). The “Ending” lops off footage from the theatrical finale and provides a darker conclusion.

As for the rest of the clips, most offer basic character additions, but some more dramatic material appears as well. I can’t claim these shots would’ve improved the moribund movie, but at least they deliver more substance than the average deleted footage.

A Gag Reel runs one minute, six seconds and shows the usual goofs and giggles. It seems forgettable, but at least it’s brief.

Four featurettes follow, and A Kinetic Energy lasts six minutes, four seconds. It brings notes from Thomas, producers Akiva Goldsman and Jason Blum, writer Scott Teems, and actors Ryan Kiera Armstrong and Michael Greyeyes.

“Energy” covers the decision to remake the story, characters, cast and performances, and Thomas’s approach to the material. This becomes a fairly superficial overview.

Spark a Fire goes for three minutes, 43 seconds and involves Thomas, Blum, Goldsman, Teems, Greyeyes, and Armstrong. We get story/screenplay notes in this fluffy reel.

Next comes Igniting Firestarter, a three-minute, 38-second piece that brings notes from Thomas, Armstrong, executive producer Ryan Turek, SpFX coordinator Mark Ahee, SPGX shop supervisor Kristy Hollidge, stunt coordinator Daryl Patchett, stunt performer Jamie Jones, and actor Vas Saranga.

“Igniting” gets into various effects used in the movie. It leans toward the puffy side of the street, but it comes with a few insights.

Power Struggle lasts three minutes, 28 seconds and delivers notes from Thomas, Greyeyes, and Hollidge.

“Struggle” gets into stunts and action. Expect another mediocre featurette.

The second cinematic adaptation of a Stephen King novel, the 2022 Firestarter turns into a dud. Despite the standard horror tropes, the movie fails to find anything dramatic or tense to sustain the viewer. The Blu-ray comes with good audio and a fairly nice roster of bonus materials, but visuals seem oddly flat. Nothing about this sluggish thriller works.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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