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Blu-Ray : Recommended
Ranking:
Sale Price: $44.9 Last Price: $57.99 Buy now! 3rd Party 34.9 In Stock
Release Date: March 13th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1984

Firestarter Collection - Limited Edition 3D Lenticular Hardcase

Overview -

Blu-ray Review By: Matthew Hartman
Stephen King terrorizes Blu-ray collectors with the Firestarter Collection from Australia’s Via Vision. This limited edition two-disc set features the original 1984 feature film completed with the 2002 miniseries sequel Firestarter 2: Rekindled. With a solid A/V option for both discs, the set features an excellent selection of bonus features. Fans of the schlockier King entries will want to light this one up - Recommended

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Limited Edition 3D Lenticular Hardcase + 6 Art Cards! (2000 units)
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/TBA
Length:
115
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.35:1 / 1.78:1
Audio Formats:
English LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Release Date:
March 13th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

In the universe of Stephen King films and television projects, there are good films, mediocre ones, and some that are better left forgotten. Of the mediocre entries, we have Mark Lester’s Firestarter. An earnest enough effort, the film bizarrely lacks urgency and spectacle against the background of a little girl with pyrokinetic superpowers. Drew Barrymore and  David Keith play our father/daughter team of superhumans with Martin Sheen and George C. Scott stepping in as our government men on their trail. It’s a sharp-looking film, but it’s also frustratingly inert. Suspense is limited and thrills are few until the very end of the film. If the cast hadn’t given it everything they had, it’d been a lot worse off. I have a nostalgic love for this one since I saw it on TV a lot growing up, but it’s one that has not gotten better with age. I've always wondered what John Carpenter's version could have been if he hadn't been fired. 

But movie theaters aren’t the only ones to show Stephen King’s work some love. His books frequently find their way to television. Considering some of the tomes he’s written, a TV miniseries is often the best way to bring the work to life. It’s also a convenient way to craft a sequel!  For Firestarter 2: Rekindled, our story continues with Marguerite Moreau stepping in as an adult Charlie. Working to be a part retelling of the original while also acting as a direct sequel, the two-part miniseries is actually pretty good. Not amazing, it won't set your hair on fire, but it's entertaining. It has the trappings of a decently-budgeted miniseries with some effects work that doesn’t quite sell, but the cast is game, Malcolm McDowell is a fun stand-in for George C. Scott and Dennis Hopper drops by for a little extra psychic flavor. The miniseries is fun in a sort of Steven King meets X-Men vibe. 

If I’m going to knock Firestarter for anything it all goes back to the source material. King’s original novel is a fun pulpy read but it boils down to a cheaper less fulfilling version of Carrie by way of 3 Days of the Condor. Young women with powerful psychic abilities that can cause massive death and destruction when provoked is an interesting premise, but I feel like King said all he had to say with his breakout novel. Adding a secret government agency doesn't go anywhere interesting. At least Rekindled gave that aspect a little more direction even if it's still all a bit silly. It’s still a fun goofy book and the movie is entertaining. It’s not the worst King adaptation ever, but it’s far from the best. The 2022 remake was proof enough that the well for this idea has run dry. 



Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray 

Australia’s Via Vision gives fans of pyromaniac kids the ultimate double feature with the Firestarter Collection. A two-Blu-ray set combining the 1984 Firestarter and 2002’s Firestarter Rekindled, each disc is a Region Free BD-50 disc and both discs are housed in a two-disc case. Also included is a packet containing six art cards; three for each film. The whole package is held together with a hard card stock numbered lenticular slipcase. Only 2000 units are available. 

Video Review

Ranking:

Firestarter comes in for another Blu-ray release and if I were a betting man, I’d say this is the same respectable 1080p master that Scream Factory got to use for their disc in 2017. Aged it may be, but it still looks excellent with a nice cinematic appeal. Details are crisp and clean without any banding or compression artifacts. That first Blu-ray from Universal in 2014 was a real dog and I’m thankfully not seeing any of those problems on this transfer. Facial features, beard stubble, 80s fashions, George C. Scott’s dead eye are all on display. Skin tones are healthy and human without looking too pinked or peached. Colors are bright and bold with lovely primaries. Blacks are nice and inky giving the image a welcome sense of depth and dimension. 

Firestarter Rekindled makes its Blu-ray debut and it’s in very good shape. I think the last time I saw this was on DVD twenty-plus years ago so my frame of reference isn't exactly recent. A pretty standard made-for-tv production of the era, they’re making a lot out of little. Details are strong, and McDowell’s makeup work is particularly impressive and looks nice and gnarly. Colors are strong with good primaries and healthy skin tones. Where things get a bit dodgy is around the miniseries' use of CGI. Some of the burn effects really stand out against the more sharp and natural practical effects. Clarity and details slide the more effects-heavy the scene. Overall it looks pretty good.

Audio Review

Ranking:

This release of Firestarter shows with a well-balanced LPCM 2.0 mix. It’s not a very aggressive track, the film itself is rather sedate a lot of the time with only intermittent flourishes of activity. To that end dialog is the main focus throughout the film and it’s easy to hear everything being said. The Tangerine Dream score may not get the blood pumping, but it’s some beautiful music and is well-prioritized here. 

Like the first film, the miniseries enjoys an excellent LPCM 2.0 mix. Dialog is clean and clear without issue. A little more action-focused, the soundscape is more active and engaging. Scoring by Randy Miller is well-prioritized punching up the dramatic and action beats nicely. For an early 2000s miniseries before the television revolution really kicked in, this is a solid active mix.

Special Features

Ranking:

For bonus features, Via Vision does what they do best and loads up some nice new extra features for fans to digest along with previously available materials. All of the bonus features are on the first film’s disc. One could argue that Firestarter Rekindled is a bonus feature in of itself so I'm including it here. Of the first film, we get an excellent brand new audio commentary with Lee Gambin and Aaron Dries that’s well worth the listen. After that, we get all of the extras that Scream had on their disc giving you several hours of material to digest after the show is over. 

Disc One:

  • Audio Commentary featuring Lee Gambin and Aaron Dries
  • Audio Commentary featuring Mark L. Lester 
  • Playing with Fire: The Making of FIrestarter (HD 52:40)
  • Tangerine Dream: Movie Music Memories with Johannes Schmoelling (HD 17:07)
  • Johannes Schmoelling Plays Chalries Theme (HD 2:33)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD 3:42)
  • Radio Spots

Disc Two:

  • Firestarter 2: Rekindled (HD 2:48:00)

Firestarter was never Stephen King’s best work, nor was the film one of his greatest adaptations. However, it’s a fun one. It may be a bit slow and silly, but the big final climax delivers the goods. For Firestarter Rekindled the action picks up with all the flair of a 2000s-era miniseries event and it’s actually pretty good. Where else are you going to get to see Malcolm McDowell and Dennis Hopper square off? Via Vision gathers up both films for their Limited Edition Firestarter Collection. A/V for both films is solid with a nice selection of new and archival extras for the first film to pick through. If you love middling Stephen King adaptations (and who doesn’t) you’ll want to keep this set on your radar. Recommended

Order Your Copy of the Firestarter Collection Limited Edition on Blu-ray