Total Recall

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Outing tonight to see the remake of Total Recall.  It’s a remake of the 1990 original: there are many familiar elements but mixed up in new ways while some others (like Mars) haven’t made it.

Colin Farrell brings a different character to the leading role – a bit more nuanced than Arnie’s earlier Douglas Quaid / Hauser – and he brings a different physicality to the role.  The other major variation is a reduction of the number of villains.  It’s an interesting comment on how films have changed in 22 years that not only can we now have action films with female leads but also the main villain is female and not a supporting villain to be bumped off for an early punchline.

As with the original the question of what is reality isn’t really explored playing very much second fiddle to the action.  Which is a shame as it was maybe where this film could have put more water between itself and the original.

The stand out improvement is the setting.  It’s darker, more Blade Runnerish with more consistency tonally.  The two main areas we visit in the story are each given a distinct feel.  It feels more fully developed, less of a Frankenstein setting.

So as with the original a fun action film that doesn’t really play with the central question that could lift it out of the sea of other action films.  Was it necessary?  Like a lot of remakes – probably not.  Does it add anything significant? Again, sadly, probably not.  Is Total Recall worth seeing?  If you want a popcorn science fiction action film – Yes.

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