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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Total Recall

This week's movie rental was Total Recall ...

a 2012 American science fiction action film directed by Len Wiseman. The screenplay by Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback was based on the 1990 film of the same name, which was inspired by the 1966 short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick. The film stars Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho, and Bill Nighy. It centers upon an ordinary factory worker who accidentally discovers that his current life is a fabrication predicated upon false memories implanted into his brain by the government. Ensuing events leave no room for doubt that his true identity is that of a highly trained secret agent.

I remember the first version of the movie with Arnold. I didn't care much for the cheesy special effects, for which I blame Verhoeven (strange factoid about him ... not only did he make the horrible Showgirls, he was a member of the Jesus Seminar ;) But anyway, the FX are much nicer in this later version and Farrell does a good job in his role. The setting is interesting too ... chemical warfare has left a future Earth with only two habitable continents - the United Federation of Britain (Western Europe) and the Colony (Australia). Those living in the Colony are considered lower forms of life, low paid wage slaves who travel back and forth between the UFB and Australia via an elevator that passes straight through the Earth's core :)

Roger Ebert gave the movie 3 stars out of 4 in his review. Here's the beginning of it ...

The two biggest differences between this new "Total Recall" and the 1990 original are that no scenes are set on Mars, and it stars Colin Farrell instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mars we can do without, I suppose, although I loved the special effects creating the human outpost there. This movie has its own reason you can't go outside and breathe the air.

But Schwarzenegger, now, is another matter. He's replaced as the hero Quaid by Colin Farrell, who in point of fact is probably the better actor. But Schwarzenegger is more of a movie presence and better suited for the role of a wounded bull stumbling around in the china shop of his memories. The story involves a man who is involved without his knowledge (or recollection) in a conflict between a totalitarian regime and a resistance movement. Both films open with him happy and cluelessly married (to Sharon Stone in the first, Kate Beckinsale in this one). In both, he is discontented with his life. In both, he discovers that everything he thinks he knows about himself is fictitious, and all of his memories have been implanted.

The enormity of this discovery is better reflected by Schwarzenegger, who seems more wounded, more baffled, more betrayed — and therefore more desperate. In the Farrell performance, there's more of a sense that the character is being swept along with the events ....


Blogger Susan said...

The special effects that Ebert loved . . . were they the cheesy ones?

7:51 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Susan,

Yes ;) The effects of the visit to Mars ... the people there who were deformed, and especially the ending scene where the bad guy gets exposed to the Mars atmosphere/vacuum and suffers explosive decompression .... ... tee hee!

8:31 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

OMG that was horrible. (This is not a critique of the quality of the special effects.) :-)

5:28 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

I know - we must try to never die of explosive decompression because it's just too gross ;)

12:30 PM  

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