Carrying on after a long time can be a daunting task, people change, ideas evolve, and generally, life does move on. However, if you’ve got an intriguing way to carry on a long-concluded story, and the resources to do so, what is stopping you? In 2002, a television network known for its cost-efficient but captivating sci-fi content branched off the concluding story of Firestarter into a two-parter miniseries, further illuminating the world of the Firestarters, in Firestarter 2: Rekindled.
18 years after the incident of the first film, Charlie is now fully grown and trying her best to keep up her grades at College, while keeping her powerful abilities way behind her. When a lowly laboratory investigator, Vincent, is tasked with tracking down the participants of an experimental drug trial for alleged compensation. Charlie is also on the list of recipients, and Victor sets out to track out the orphaned, while this payout may not be as it appears. Charlie will have to get back in touch with her roots, as a scarred Rainbird re-emerges on the scene, fueled by a taste for vengeance.
While, like a lot of Stephen King adaptions, the original film wasn’t as widely received. On paper, it may seem like an odd choice to dedicate a two-part miniseries to returning to such a property. Yet, Firestarter 2 does have some inspired directions for the franchise to take. As a sequel, it does assume some prior knowledge of the events of the first film, yet does its best to fill the audience in on the fundamentals, even if they retcon a detail or two. As a two-part miniseries, the show does boast a long runtime, and the early 80s thriller aspects have had a makeover for a very distinctive early 2000s look. One that not only feels heavily inspired by shows like the X-Files, and if it could have continued, I could see the show evolving into weekly adventures for the new Charlie.
Unfortunately, the Sci-Fi Channel could not manage to bring back Drew Barrymore for the role of Charlie, and for the early adulthood incarnation, they use, Marguerite Moreau. She is a good choice, outside of appearing in roles in Wag the Dog and Third Rock from the Sun, considering the newer story that is being told. Aside from bringing Dennis Hopper, who feels like a good fit, as those who have had the good fortune of seeing him in films like Apocalypse Now, will see why. As hinted in the plot recap, acclaimed British actor Malcolm McDowell does fill in as John Rainbird, and it is a delight to see an actor of such calibre fully embrace the potential that comes with a role like this.
With some notable additions, that make for some captivating viewing on a network that is known for its unique calibre of entertaining sci-fi action, Firestarter 2 is a surprisingly intriguing addition to the King adaptation collection. The early 2000s has a good aesthetic that does wonders to help a show like this blossom, and what with the Dead Zone show around the same time, could have lent itself to a season or two for the network. For a continuation of a film that may have been overlooked as the famous hotel created by King himself, Rekindled does live up to its name, in more ways than one.
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