Review: Total Recall (2012)
What We ThoughtGenre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
What We Liked :Environment inspired by Blade Runner, Subtle nods to the original
What We Disliked:Does little to justify existence, When did Kate Beckinsale become Terminator?
Every once in a while a remake comes along and really adds a lot to the original concept. Total Recall is not that movie.
Every once in a while a remake comes along and really adds a lot to the original concept. Total Recall is not that movie. Director Lee Wiseman has done a good job coping the storyline from the original and concept from the Philip K. Dick short story, but he has left out everything that made it good. The science-fiction and action works well enough, but it can’t stand on its own.
For those unfamiliar with Total Recall, Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a typical salary man. He has a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) at home and things seem steady enough, but something is missing. This is a new company entitled Rekall that will allow a person to enjoy memories that aren’t necessarily their own. Quaid is interested in the idea of living a different life even for a little bit.
Something unexpected happens during the procedure at Rekall and Quaid finds himself in a difficult situation. Apparently he is some kind of spy who has had his mind wiped previously and Rekall has allowed him to start remembering his past. He’ll have to do so quickly since there’s a trail of synthetic soldiers trailing him at every turn, as well as, a wife that might not be what she seems.
While most of the focus of this review should be on the remake, there’s no way the original can be forgotten during this mess. The original Total Recall film had a lot substance to go with it’s style. The characters were memorable and the violence was extreme. It also helped that the puppetry in the original film was spectacularly creepy. The new film tries to bring a lot of the moments back into play by including a three breasted alien, a woman going on vacation, and even specific ways that characters died. It’s appreciated that Len Wiesman brought back some of the iconic moments, but he didn’t make any new ones.
A Philip K. Dick adaptation isn’t a new concept. His novels and short stories have been made into films for years including Blade Runner and Minority Report. Total Recall borrows a lot from those films as well. The world that Quaid inhabits is a new concept of the world of Blade Runner. The influences are numerous and for good measure Len Wiseman mixes in the magnetic cars from Minority Report. There’s very little new ideas Total Recall brings to the table.
The best way that Total Recall can be summarized is that it isn’t a disaster, but it isn’t much of anything else either. The movie moves along briskly and the action is able to entertain. There’s plenty of disappointments including that now instead of humans, Quaid is fighting endless raids of robots and the first Total Recall had an hard-R rating and this feels tame comparatively. The wife character also gets a boost of importance since Kate Beckinsale becomes like the Terminator throughout the film. Total Recall doesn’t do much to make it special and it really needed to be to justify its existence.