Firestarter: Rekindled (Sci-Fi Channel Movie)
IMDB entry: 

Directed by: Robert Iscove
Writing credits: (WGA) Stephen King (novel) Philip Eisner (written by)
Cast: Marguerite Moreau .... Charlie McGee / Skye McCole Bartusiak .... Charlene 'Charlie' McGee (child) / Dennis Hopper .... Richardson / Danny Nucci .... Vincent / Malcolm McDowell .... Rainbird / Dan Byrd .... Paul

One can only expect that this the pilot for a Sci-Fi channel series, but if so, it's not all that hot. If you were expecting to pick up the Firestarter story a couple decades after where the Stephen King based movie left us back in 1984, it does, and it doesn't, which is par for the course. 

Marguerite Moreau isn't Drew Barrymore all grown up, that's for sure. In fact, watching the flashback sequences, we quickly discover that she never was...more's the pity. The film's characters have been replaced with new actors so that they can add flashbacks whenever they want. Malcolm McDowell, another of those wonderfully twisted Brit characters, picks up where George C. Scott left off. Poor Malcolm can't get a break though, because in every Sci-Fi project we see him in, they decide to mess up his face. In Star Trek: Generations, it was a diagonal gash to remind us of how he was yanked back from bliss by the well meaning Enterprise B...and here he's had half his face burned off to remind us that his history with Charlie McGee isn't just's personal.

Frankly, I liked Dark Angel a whole lot better, and it took me a while to warm up to her. Still, this Charlie isn't always a good girl, and she's almost as sexy as she tries to be. If this runs as a series, we might find out if she ever gets to sleep with anything more interesting than her the fire extinguisher she keeps next to her to put out the blazing blankets that her dreams ignite.


IMDB entry: 

The original Firestarter was Drew Barrymore, and it turns out that her shoes are pretty hard to fill. 

Back in the late seventies, Andrew and Vicky were both earning some extra cash for college taking psychotropic drugs for science. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time.

Aside from some hazy psychic abilities, the drugs didn't seem to hurt them any, and they discovered warm feelings towards each other that led to marriage and ultimately, to the birth of their daughter, Charlie McGee.

Unlike Carrie, Stephen King's first successful story adapted to film, Charlie didn't wait for the onset of puberty to heat things up with her own psychic abilities, but started setting things on fire with her mental powers as a tender tot. This set off alarms at the government, and "The Shop" run by George C. Scott, decided to take Charlie off the McGee's hands to turn her into a cold-war weapon. Of course, they forget to make sure her Dad is sufficiently dead, and get there fingers burned when they underestimate her powers...but that's par for the course.

Barrymore has the knack of being pretty compelling as Charlie, and she carries the movie on her shoulders fairly well.  

There's a whole genre of kids/college students in government institutions with special powers that are being turned into weapons movies and TV shows, predated by a considerable number of science fiction short stories and novels about much the same thing. 

You have to wonder a little bit why we eat this stuff up, but over the years Hollywood has churned out buckets of it. Was it the McCarthy era that pissed off Hollywood so badly that we're still paying for it in anti-establishment propaganda half a century later, or are there really mutant prodigies trapped in secret installations doing the bidding of a paranoid military?

Over time, the inability of the military to accomplish anything without massive high altitude bombing seems to debunk the notion that they have access to secret superpowers, but maybe I'm just sheltered.

2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu