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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Firestarter Rekindled

This post should have gone up a while ago but I spent a little over a week without any 'net connection and things got lost in the shuffle when that elusive connection was re-established. Anyway...

Well, after Friday 13th and Freddys Nightmares, I come to the third of the shows horror has graced me with these past couple of weeks. Namely, Firestarter:Rekindled, the belated sequel to the Drew Barrymore starring adaptation of Stephen Kings novel. Not the follow up to the novel you understand, the follow up to the adaptation. This is an important distinction to make because as we all know, King fans more than most, when it comes to page to screen transfers, the end result is oftentimes borderline unrecognisable. So this is billed as a sequel to the events as depicted on screen, not on the page.

How big is the difference in this case? I'm going to be honest here and say that I don't know. I read Firestarter well over a decade ago and have distinct memories of disappointment but little else, plotwise or otherwise. I don't think that I'm alone in this; it does seem to have the reputation of being some distance short of Kings best work. As far as the move goes I have to hold my hands up and say that I've never seen it. I suppose it could be a Shawshank/Stand By Me level classic but I'd be surprised.

All of which means that I'm coming to Rekindled at something of a disadvantage. I of course recognised the characters of Charlie and John Rainbird, and the whole concept of Lot 6 and its aftermath came back to me quite readily but beyond that I had nothing. Which, perhaps surprisingly, didn't matter in the slightest. The plot of the movie was quite succinctly summed up in a few nicely staged flashback sequences and the thrust of the new story was sufficiently different that it was well able to stand alone. I found that I had no problems at all grasping what was going on.

The basic idea is that an investigator for a law firm is tracking down the participants in a long ago Drug Trial (Lot 6) in order to furnish them with cheques for their share of a big class action compensation claim. He discovers that when he finds them they are in fact being killed and so he goes on the run with Charlie, whom he bumps into while she is running her own investigation of her origins, as the sinister blokes try to track them down to stop them causing any bother in the run up to the launch of their new project; a bunch of creepy kids with various powers, which they intend to market to the military.

Don't you just wanna slap him?
Of course it all ends with Charlie confronting Rainbird (badly burned after the book and presumably movie climax) and his psycho sprogs, preventing their big 'kill loads of people in a mad way' plan from coming to fruition and killing Rainbird once and for all. Surprisingly though, Rainbird does kill the investigator blokey, inevitably now Charlies lover. Even though he had just promised to visit his dying estranged father. No teary reconciliation for him, he gets a blade through the ear into the brain. Shocking, but somewhat cathartic for the viewer, due to the fact that he was played by the pathologically annoying Danny Nucci.

Laura San Giaco... Sorry, what?
Charlie herself is played by an actress called Marguerite Moreau. A woman I'd never heard of but who looks a hell of a lot like a slightly smaller chested Laura San Giacomo. The internet tells me that Moreau is fairly well known as an actress in her own right but I'm afraid I just got flashbacks to Just Shoot Me whenever she was onscreen. Not that she was in any way a bad actress, managing to hold her own in scenes opposite noted scene stealers Malcolm McDowell and Dennis Hopper. Slightly weirdly, Hopper showed up halfway through this, from out of the blue (I'd not noticed his name in the titles but it was there when I rewound the tape) not 5 minutes after I heard the news on the day of his death. Spooky.

Anyway, this is a miniseries which I've been wanting to see for a while now, ever since I managed to miss every single showing on the notoriously repeat friendly Sky network. I forget whether it was Sky One or Movies but I remember it seemed to always be on and life just insisted on getting in the way. I'm glad to finally be able to put it to rest and also that after such a long wait it didn't turn out to be a disappointment.

Next : ????

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