Firestarter (1984) (Collector’s Edition) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Mark L. Lester
Starring: Drew Barrymore, David Keith, Freddie Jones
Rated: R/Region A/2:35/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Scream Factory
Firestarter, based on the unforgettable best-seller by esteemed horror author Stephen King, chronicles the extraordinary life of Charlene “Charlie” McGee. Eight-year-old Drew Barrymore stars as the child who has the amazing ability to start fires with just a glance. Can her psychic power and the love of her father save her from the threatening government agency, “The Shop,” which wants to control her… or destroy her? Filled with blazing special effects and featuring an all-star cast including Martin Sheen, Heather Locklear, Art Carney, Louise Fletcher and George C. Scott, Firestarter is directed by Mark L. Lester (Class of 1999, Commando) and driven by a pulsating, thrilling score from Tangerine Dream (Legend, Sorcerer, Risky Business).
When I first started watching Firestarter I felt a strong John Carpenter vibe. Now after not only seeing the film but watching the making-of documentary in the extras I found out that Carpenter was actually the first director set to make the film, but his version would have been nothing like the Stephen King book. In stepped Class of 1984 director Mark L. Lester who along with writer Stanley Mann constructed a film that followed right along with the book. Add in a cool theme by Tangerine Dream and Firestarter ends up being a very moody and atmospheric film above all else. At the start of the film, we have a father and a daughter on the run. We soon learn what is going on from some flashbacks and then we are right with the dangers awaiting them and the danger they can bring themselves. While everyone loves Drew Barrymore in this film as the young girl, Charlie, who can set things on fire with her mind; I also think credit needs to be given to David Keith who plays her Dad, Andy. You won’t find a bad actor in the bunch really, but once the stuff hits the fan the effects for 1984 are probably what is the highlight of Firestarter.
I happen to think Stephen King is a horror genius and I feel keeping with the source was a wise move for the film. The movie in a lot of ways reminds you of some tragedy. It is a story of family, loss, betrayal, and keeping someone against their will. If you don’t want to put that much thought into the darn thing, then you still have a really fun film with some cool effects to keep you watching. Scream Factory brings this to Blu-ray with a new 2K transfer. As you can see from the screenshots I’ve added with this post, I feel it looks REALLY good. You’d probably be hard-pressed to really find anything wrong with it. The extras come with a making-of as well as an interview about the music and a performance of them main theme. You also can top that off with a new commentary by director Mark L. Lester and the old extras you might have seen before. Overall it is a very solid release for a very solid film.
– NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive Film Element
– NEW Audio Commentary With Director Mark L. Lester
– NEW Playing With Fire: The Making Of FIRESTARTER – Featuring Interviews With Director Mark L. Lester, Actors Freddie Jones, Drew Snyder, Stuntman/Actor Dick Warlock And Johannes Schmoelling Of Tangerine Dream
– NEW Tangerine Dream: Movie Music Memories – An Interview With Johannes Schmoelling
– NEW Live Performance Of “Charlie’s Theme” By Johannes Schmoelling Of Tangerine Dream
– Theatrical Trailers
– Radio Spot
– Still Gallery
Quality of Transfer: 91%