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When the original Total Recall came out, it had a lot of really cool special effect, a truly engaging storyline, some of the hottest actors/actresses in the business, and was basically a decent movie. Years later some dumb ass producers and some brain dead director thought it would be a good idea to remake this movie and market it to the 2012 movie goers. Lets hire some decent actors, some hot babe actresses, get a flunky to rewrite the script and by the way don't even remotely follow the original script that was a success, these brain dead idiots thought they should rewrite the story so it would make no sense to anyone who has half a brain and tries in vain to watch and understand a fraction of what he or she is watching. So that all being said I ask you this, would you consider this a good idea? Would you spend your hard earned money to watch this crap? Is your life so void of any measure of worth that you would waste 2 hours of whatever time you have left on earth watching this trite? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then quit sniffing those paint flumes, put down the crack pipe, get a day pass from the sanitarium you reside in and enjoy. For the rest of us, carry on and forget about it.....
I just came back from watching this awful movie and let me just say it was a total waste of time and and insult to the original. No story line and for god sake adding a touch of Australia when referring to down-under as a colony would have been a little respectful to the country. The colony felt like hongkong ... well what can be expected from some American director who made such hideously mind numbing movie. Also, I think it was made for Kate Beckinsale, by her husband, as in not one scene did she look unattractive, despite of the grotesquely never ending action scenes, and Jessica Biel looks not so attractive in most of the scenes. Sorry for venting as this movie gave me a massive headache.
The 1990's version of Total Recall was a solid sci-fi adventure despite
of its silly moments, especially the remarkable scene when Arnold
Schwarzenegger's eyeballs are popping out. But those unhinged moments
are the reason why the first film is so charming. This remake tries to
be more serious and wants to take away the silliness from the first
film. The result is it looks cool. It looks so cool, it looks like that
is the only ambition of the movie. Anything else is just bland
characters and a series of chases, and action. When it becomes
suspenseful, it fails to deliver the tension. Total Recall seemingly
doesn't care about anything else but to play around the futuristic
world that is set in.
It's a total gloss. The film is nothing but a series of action set pieces and cool looking visuals. The world of the film looks intriguing but we don't get to know much of it. We know its origins and nothing else. Aside of its Blade-Runner-esque world, the story is still there, but it loses focus by the overlong sequences of action. There's nothing wrong with too many action, except if you don't care about the characters, you wouldn't feel the thrill and just watch these soulless beings run.
The characters are incredibly bland. Colin Farrell ends up being a boring generic hero. Kate Beckinsale is just doing her action swagger. Bryan Cranston is the only one who is fun to watch among the cast. The rest, Bokeem Woodbine and John Cho are both pretty awkward with their short roles. The worst is Jessica Biel who basically embraces the blandness of the script. She may not be the right one for this role but she could've at least gave some personality to the character.
For its fan service, the film recaptures some scenes from the original, but they're just there. It doesn't make any difference. There are scenes that tries to be suspenseful, but they somehow fail to work because, once again, the looks has more attention. Its fortitude is replaced by the excessive amount of shoddy lens flares. The only merit here now is the visuals. They sure look good even though we've seen most of them before. It's still pretty eye candy.
To be honest, I'm actually optimistic about this remake, but unfortunately, it is really disappointing. It does succeed to be less sillier than the original but it is also less interesting. Too much action and explosions may sound fun, but most of it is just stale and empty. Years from now, if someone mentions this title, people will still recall Schwarzenegger's unhinged performance and the fun from the original. Total Recall could have been a good remake if it cares more to the story's idea than throwing away all the CGI effects on screen.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The first two things that you notice about the remake of Total Recall:
There is no trip to Mars and there are no mutants. The original 1990
Arnold Schwarzenegger film centered its plot within a Martian colony
inhabited by mutated humanoids living in a place both fascinating and
horrifying. Without a cameo by The Red Planet, this new movie stays
earthbound and becomes just a chase picture. Without mutants, how then
do you explain the presence of a three-breasted prostitute? Apparently,
there are some sights we just can't do without.
The 1990 film was, of course, one of Schwarzenegger's best-loved films. It too, was a long chase picture but it had some flair, some goofy comedy, some sense of purpose. This new film is dead serious. It is all chase and very little personality, just as we feel that we are getting close to the characters having a personality, they are interrupted by gunfire, and we're off and running.
Both this film, and the 1990 original are based on a classic 1966 short story "We Can Remember it for You Wholesale" by science fiction legend Philip K. Dick, whose work also inspired Blade Runner. The movie takes place at the other end of this century when the air has become so polluted that most of the earth is uninhabitable. Only two areas of the earth are able to sustain human life, one is Western Europe, now called The United Federation of Britain. The other is the former Australia, now simply called The Colony. People get from one area to the other via a vertical subway train that moves through the earth. How they keep from getting incinerated at the core is never explained.
A soulless government runs the UFB, which has packed so many people into Western Europe that it has become dangerously overdeveloped and overpopulated. There is no longer a sense of architecture, only buildings that seem to be built without a plan. Located within The Colony is a resistance movement bent on overthrowing the oppressive government. The leader of the UFB, a bull-head politician named Cohaagan (Bryan Cranston), is developing a plan to squash the resistance with his robotic invasion force. We see this conflict mostly in brief glimpses on television screens. We hear about it, but never get involved in it.
Within the forbidding landscape of the UFB is Douglas Quaid (Colin Ferrell), a genial good-egg who is married to a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) and works as a construction worker, building Cohaagan's security droids. He is plagued by the fact that his life seems to have no meaning, no purpose, no excitement. That's why an ad for a place called Rekall peaks his interest.
Rekall allows its clients the experience of having memories implanted in their brains that will make their wildest fantasies come true. Against the advice of his best buddy Harry (Bokeem Woodbine), Doug goes to Rekall. Strapped to a chair and about to be put under, it is suddenly revealed that he isn't who he thinks he is. His memory has been replaced by another. His whole life as he knows it is a lie, even his seven year marriage. That's the film's first 20 minutes. The rest of the picture is one long and exhausting chase.
For a picture like this to work, we have to have characters to care about. Ferrell is a good actor but his role consists of so much shooting and running and jumping that we never get to know him. There is none of the fear and panic and confusion that you could imagine going on in his mind, or that Schwarzenegger brought to the original. At Ferrell's side is a resistance agent named Melina (Jessica Biel) whose entire role is to run behind Ferrell and save him when not being saved herself. The deeper mystery of the original story, which toyed around with whether or not this was all a dream, is contained in one effective scene in which Harry tries to convince Doug that he is asleep in a chair at Rekall and that all he needs to do to wake up is shoot Melina. After that, we continue the chase and the whole dream plot is more or less abandoned.
Without characters to care about, our attention focuses on the special effects, which are expertly crafted if not all that memorable. Do you remember the Schwarzenegger film? Remember the X-ray machine? Remember the fingernail polish pen? The "two weeks" lady? The Johnnycab? Those were exciting special effects because they were at the service of creating a future world of ideas and possibilities. Those effects were so remarkable that the Academy decided that year to forgo the Visual Effects category at the Oscars and give the film the award out right.
This new film isn't nearly that special. There are some impressive sights. Most of the technology is made up of digital holograms and implants, the most impressive being a phone that is implanted into the palm of your hand that can be answered by touching a pane of glass. Another is a skyway packed with flying cars which offers up the film's most impressive action scene. But there is so much to the effects and the set decoration and so little to the story that you feel that this was a wasted opportunity. It is a well-made film, but ultimately it is a film that you will - I'll say it - soon forget.
**1/2 (out of four)
This movie is way better than the original Arnie version. It has some
emotional moments which was completely lacking in the original.
Nevertheless to mention, the new Total Recall keeps viewers less
confused unlike the old version where the director had no idea how to
end the movie.
I went through many reviews that say that the original Arnie version has his best acting skills of all time. Forgive me, but Arnie & acting? Nay... Colin Farell is at his best in this movie. The action sequences are a treat for your eyes. I am so glad not to see the two faced martians or any other weird characters in this new version.
This movie may not be the best but obviously an entertaining science fiction.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I do enjoy a good scifi movie and I was willing to give this remake of
the very enjoyable Schwarsengegger-helmed 1990 version a whirl because
of that. Well, it turned out to be one clunkers of the year (to me at
Instead of going to Mars, where a stranglehold on a precious mined mineral makes Cohaagen (the big cheese) create a tyrannical rule over the inhabitants of that planet by rationing air, the deal here never leaves Earth. How boring. We are supposed to believe that some chemical war wiped out pretty much every country on the planet except for Britain and the continent of Australia (though neighboring places like New Zealand or France got whacked and far more distant land masses like Hawaii in the center of the Pacific are unlivable...it's so absurd it's asinine). The Cohaagen in this movie (played by Bryan Cranston) wants to take over what's left of the livable space by doing some major housecleaning of the existing population of "the colony" (Australia) because things have gotten packed pretty tight in Britain. There's a whole lot of gunfire throughout this flick and things getting blown to hell and those bits seem to serve the purpose of covering up the severe lack of interesting plot. Colin Farrell is the Quaid/Hauser character, and while he's a great actor, he just didn't do justice to this role. A tougher dude would've been more believable in the role of a sleeper agent like Hauser. The awesome Bill Nighy is in this movie but his character is sadly underused.
What IS good is the casting of Cranston as Cohaagen (he plays him as such a scumbag that it's hard to connect Bryan with his other roles like the comedic Hal in Malcolm in the Middle, where he was hilarious). A truly talented man. Also good were Kate Beckinsale as cunning viper Lori, and Jessica Biel, who as good gal Melina, is really making a nice niche for herself as a kick ass heroine type.
So, while there are several remakes which are pretty decent (The Italian Job or Ocean's Eleven, for instance), there are crappy ones too, like Escape From Witch Mountain or this silly movie. Wait for it to come to cable if you're curious cause it's just not what it could've been.
This is the best sci-fi movie I have seen in decades. I was blown away by the visuals, new interpretation of the plot and brilliant sound score. An amazing movie experience. My brain could scarcely keep up with what my eyes were seeing, it was that good. The visuals were on a scale and level of realism that I have not seen in any other sci-fi movie. The result: complete transportation into a dark and complex future. Like all great classics, the chemistry between the main characters (Colin, Jessica & Kate) was palpable. I'm pleased to see these three talented actors take their place in cinema history with this classic film.
Total Recall (2012) sets off as factory worker Douglas Quaid (Colin
Farrell) has a vivid dream in which he and a woman are being pursued by
synthetic soldiers. He wakes up to remember that he doesn't live the
thrilling life of a spy and that the woman beside him in bed is not the
one which he fantasizes spending adventures with.
Feeling as though his life is missing something, Quaid eventually decides to visit Rekall, a company that can implant memories as if one actually experienced them. The only caveat is that customers cannot select memories that overlap with their real lives. Quaid chooses the spy package, but things go wrong almost immediately. Throughout the film, we see Farrell disguise himself as an action phenomenon as we see his journey as a wandering confused individual.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I went into this with fairly low expectations, and certainly not
looking to compare every second of the film to the original. However,
it's inevitable that certain comparisons are going to be made, and this
movie does fall short when those comparisons are made. Colin Farrell
may be a better actor than Arnold, but he's definitely not a better
action star. That's the movie's biggest shortcoming. The lead character
is just not that good. He's a modern mopey action hero, with a boring
life, and even more boring personal problems. In an escapist action
movie, I don't want to see me as the lead character. I want to see
someone who I want to be.
Now with that out of the way, I can move on to the more positive aspects of the film. In an action movie, you need good action, and that is where this movie excels. Sure, it's not the blood soaked original, but it has it's own charm. You pretty much get a dose of everything in this, from hand-to-hand fights, on foot chases, gun fights, and one of the better car chases I've seen in recent memory. All handled really well, and taking place within imaginative set-pieces, that are a feast for the eyes. The film's look was clearly inspired by Blade Runner, and as un-imaginative as that might seem, it works well.
The absolute best part of this movie is the two female leads. Seriously, they should've just scrapped Ferrell, tweaked the script, and let Biel take the reigns. Beckinsale and Biel absolutely own this movie, and whenever they are on screen together, the movie is always better for it. Unfortunately, they're basically feuding over Mr. Everyman in every scene, and you can't help but wonder how much better the movie would be without that distraction.
Another problem I had near the end of the film, was Beckinsale's character being pushed to the background, for everyone's favorite meth dealer, Walter White. Look, I like Cranston, but he's not Daniel Day Lewis. He's not fit for every role out there, and this is a shining example of that. He plays the most bland villain, in a movie that didn't need another big baddie. He's basically in the movie because he's Bryan Cranston and he's riding the wave of Breaking Bad. He has no screen presence in this, no charisma, and is just shoehorned in as the supervillain/end boss, so they could put his name on the ads.
As for the story, well it's essentially the original with a few tweaks. Nothing worth going in-depth about. The ending isn't nearly as effective as it was in the original, but that's the only real negative thing I can think of. All in all, it mostly works.
Overall, I think the movie has been a little harshly criticized for not being the original. It has it's flaws for sure, but you could do a lot worse in the genre. Check it out.
"Total Recall" (2012) was a fun, slick update of the 1990 classic; I'd
give it an 8 out of 10. It can't match the magic of the original
(especially with the abandonment of one particular twist near the end),
but it was still fun enough. Plus, any fast-paced, CGI-heavy, sci-fi
action movie with both Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsdale really is just
pure nerd fun.
Beckinsdale grows on me. She's a great actress, especially in roles that require her to be powerful or angry, and she does physical stunt-work superbly. She deserves to carry her own franchise, and I mean something better and more mainstream than the "Underworld" films.
Anyway I'm pretty sure I have a good answer to this movie's central mystery (as well as that of its predecessor). This is the question of whether or not everything Quaid witnesses is real. (Is he a secret agent, or is this all a fantasy generated by "Rekall?")
It is real, and here's why. In both movies, the viewer witnesses events that are outside of Quaid's experience. For example, we see the police plotting to capture him and interviewing witnesses. Quaid is nowhere near these events when they occur, and does not see or hear them; therefore they cannot be part of his virtual reality fantasy. Yet you and I see them up on the screen. So they are real, within the story, and not imagined by Quaid. To me, it all seems pretty straightforward.
All in all, this was a fun ride. I recommend it.
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