The last time I saw Zac Efron he was getting torn apart by a pack of wild and hungry dogs but at least he was in a better movie the 2022 remake of “Firestarter”.
If you want to know what little faith Hollywood has in a remake, let Jason Blum produce the film and release it on Peacock, a streaming service that people only use because it comes free with their internet provider. Add in the fact that the original story was written by Stephen King and you can pretty much guarantee that you are going to have a bad time.
“Firestarter” begins as a story of an 11-year-old troubled girl named Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) who has the powers of pyrokinesis. With the fear that she may one day have the power to create a nuclear force explosion in her mind, the girl is forced to surpass her powers by her parents in fear that she will become exposed and abducted by scientists.
One day, Charlie unintentionally causes an exploding a bathroom stall due to anger at being bullied. This causes her to land on the radar of Captain Hollister (Gloria Reuben), the leader of the facility known as The Shop who wants to capture Charlie and use her as a blueprint to create superhumans.
Captain Hollister enlists fellow superhuman John Rainbird to help with this task to retrieve Charlie leading to a battle that is sure to be fiery and intense.
The only way to justify a remake is if you are going to take a bad movie and make it good. Universal Pictures takes a bad movie and makes another bad movie with better special effects. The setup in the opening act is by far the best part of the movie but when the film shifts to act 2, the plot gets ridiculous and by the final act, the film attempts to become a superhero origin story that it doesn’t deserve.
The film only works when the story is focused on Efron and his daughter. Gloria Reuben who plays Captain Hollister is shockingly bad in this film. While the film wants to set a serious tone, the performances of some of its secondary characters are over the top. The remake also tries to “redeem” the character of John Rainbird played by Michael Greyeyes towards the end by making him a pseudo father figure for Charlie after already killed multiple innocent people.
Scott Teems drops the ball with this movie the same way he dropped the ball with Halloween Kills. “Firestarter” isn’t even worth a watch on NBC Universal C tier streaming service.