Review on Total Recall

It is really tough for any filmmaker, especially for an entirely accomplished one; to create any project of ‘his own’ while the real one is very much remembered just as an amazing vehicle for a superstar as large as Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Twenty two long years have passed since Total Recall the Paul Verhoeven/Schwarzenegger sci-fi/action collaboration hit the theaters; still it remains as nice as ever. For Len “Underworld” Wiseman and for his all screenwriters the actual difficulty is recreating the old, magical essence of Total Recall while providing it more than just any facelift. But to keep that same essence they change plenty of details, keeping various and a lot key moments same and intact. The significant failure of them is an unwillingness or inability of rectifying the anticlimax of the last act. The endgame of Total Recall was so causal and it was indeed the largest flaw of this 1990 movie. Though Wiseman does add some pyrotechnics of Michael Bay and also many special effects, the result was very common and similar too. It is also doubly deflating as amongst the biggest advantages to remake a film is being provided the chance of correcting problems; but this was not at all attempted here.

The interpretation about the protagonist by Collin Farrell is certainly very much dissimilar to that of Schwarzenegger’s. It is really a tongue-in-cheek film without any flippant one-liners like “Consider this a divorce”. Douglas Quaid is the same name which is just all they share about. When 1990’s Total Recall got released Schwarzenegger was very close to the peak of his fame and popularity and Verhoeven, understanding this, provided Arnold an amazing quantity of latitude just to please and impress his fans.

The interpretation of Farrell is more introverted as well as low-key. Anyone can sense that, had the director Wiseman taken the script in a separate direction, Farrell might have loved the aspect which is only pointed at. But, since this person Wiseman does stick to the real trajectory, here is hardly much grave consideration that important parts of this film could actually be confined memories. Too depressing Spike Jonze was not at the wheel as that would really have been an extremely wild ride.

In 1990’s Total Recall there is no Mars. Mars is not a part of this setting but Mars is yet present here and it is also mentioned in the passing. Early 22nd century is the time period and the majority of this world has been left uninhabitable by a vast global biological fight. Those locations which are parts of Australia and Great Britain are still able to support life and are hugely overpopulated. Class warfare is rupturing with the “Rebel Alliance” which is led by the divine figure of Matthias (Bill Nighy) and also the “Empire” manipulated by Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston). In disguising connections to the Star Wars very little attempt is put: the soldiers of Cohaagen have so much similarity with the clone troopers just at the end of Attack of the Clones which anybody expects Yoda in showing up and pronouncing: “Begun the Clone war has”.

Quaid is amongst those many grunts that make regular high-speed trip named “The Fall” to the United Kingdom from Australia and through the core of this Earth. It just takes seventeen minutes. The daily routine of Quaid is unchanged; he always takes his seat just beside his best friend Harry (Bokeem Woodbine) for as many minutes as he can actually remember. At the end of the day he returns to his loving, young wife of 7 years Lori (Kate Beckinsale). But he realizes that there is truly something missing in his life and he does discover that when an amazing trip to Rekall, a renowned corporation providing to implant false vacation memories, surprisingly unveils a shocking truth. It gets revealed that Quaid has simply not been fantasizing of being a private agent; he actually is one. But as “Hauser” he does not have any memory of his life and he does not even have any idea who he was working for or what he was like. Was he a turncoat who served himself for the rebels or Cohaagen’s right-hand man? Even who is that dark-haired pretty lady Melina (Jessica Biel) who emerges in his dream?

Most of what is very much interesting about the story of Total Recall is copied from the screenplay of 1990, which is loosely based on the short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick. In terms of innovation related to plot Wiseman and his screenwriting crew does not bring much to the audience. The benefits of carrying the film to Earth from Mars are arguable. But there seems to be no hustling reason for this change. People who are familiar with the movies of Verhoeven will readily recognize this one as a cousin.

Some differences are also present here. The most obvious and the first one is the tone. For the unflinching brutality shown in this movie helped 1990 Total Recall is being rated as R. A dark tinge of humor is also visible here. Len Wiseman has smartly neutered the horrible violence to receive the fanciful teen-friendly PG-13. His universe is hardly gentler or kinder, but he never shows things just as graphically as Verhoeven did. The very black comedy was muted and that resulted in more generic approaches. On the contrary, the interpretation of 2012 is much more oriented to action. Multiple sequences get presented as non-playable, excellent sequences from various computer games, leaving anybody wonder if the art designer really had that in mind while designing a few of those levels. People have engaged themselves in playing this kind of games before but their avatars hardly accomplish stuffs as fluidly as Melina and Quaid.

The characters of Richter (Michael Ironside) and Lori (Sharon Stone) of the 1990 version have actually been amalgamated into one just to provide Len Wiseman more screen duration. Kate Beckinsale performs in this particular role as if she is still present in any of those renowned Underworld movies. The amazing Ice Queen of Stone was a more obliging interpretation. History might never repeat itself with Beckinsale who is somewhat prudent.

Nobody can fault the vision of Wiseman. Granted with the access to the CGI, Total Recall of 1990 would have flaunted an altered look.

Total Recall trailer

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