Here’s a Stephen King adaptation I hadn’t seen since the days of the VHS rental. My main reason for another look after all these years is very simple. GEORGE C. SCOTT! Is that loud enough?
I can’t sit here and compare this film with the novel as I haven’t read it and probably never will. So whether or not it is faithful to the source, you’ll have to ask someone else. Back when this film hit the big screens, King movies were “events” due to the success of films like Carrie and The Shining. Subsequent films automatically attracted attention and to a certain degree still do to this day.
For those not familiar with the plot we have a little girl played by Drew Barrymore who has the ability to start fires by a form of telekinesis. She is the offspring of David Keith and Heather Locklear. Both of whom carried special powers of their own that were gained through experiments conducted at “the Shop.”
The Shop is run by the unsavory Martin Sheen who here is playing the government agency representative that isn’t to be trusted. He and his group are after Barrymore and her powers. Drew is on the run with her father Keith and is desperately trying to stay one step ahead of Sheen and his suit and tie group of agents. Enter George C. Scott
Scott is an assassin here who handles things that Sheen’s men continue to blunder. Under his command, Drew and Keith are quickly taken into custody and the experiments begin. The further Drew is pushed, the scientists under Sheen’s command are getting more nervous and twitchy with each of her demonstrations.
This is where Scott shines as the assassin with the warped mind who has an uneasy alliance with Mr. Sheen. When Drew wants nothing to do with Sheen and his scientists, Scott befriends her under the guise of a caretaker. He slowly gains her trust which of course leads to the inevitable clash between our leading characters.
The film is sprinkled with many well known faces including Oscar winners Art Carney and Louise Fletcher as a kindly couple living on a farm who help Drew and Keith along their way. Hammer film graduate Freddie Jones and Moses Gunn turn up as a couple of Sheen’s head scientists as well.
Mark L. Lester of Commando fame was the director here and our producer was Frank Capra Jr. There are plenty of pyrotechnics throughout the film and I would imagine the effects were quite impressive on the big screen back in 1984.
The film itself is choppy in plot and believability but let’s look beyond that. Enjoy the power of George C. You have to love his look in this film. Long hair in a pony tail and one eye is dead. All he does is breathe in Sheen’s direction and Martin trembles. So would I if confronted with Mr. Scott in character.
George has such powerful presence, makes him watchable and scary when called for.
He commands the screen just like Patton on the field.