I’m a huge fan of the original Total Recall movie from 1990, as it successfully combined high-octane over-the-top action violence with a rather complex storyline. Sadly, I have no choice but to compare this 2012 Total Recall to that previous version.
Nonetheless, I was still prepared to view this new interpretation of Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi short-story with a completely open-mind. I’ve enjoyed the previous work of director Len Wiseman on the Underworld franchise, in which his now wife Kate Beckinsale has also proved herself to be quite adept at action roles.
Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel lead a well-crafted cast of actors, joined with cameo roles by John Cho, Billy Nighy, Bokeem Woodbine and Bryan Cranston.
Douglas Quaid is a hard-working factory worker with a yearning for a life beyond his mundane job. Upon visiting Rekall, a business that promises implanting memories of any description, Quaid soon has to decide what is reality or fantasy?
The film certainly has the appearance more akin to Dick’s other work brought to screen, such as Blade Runner and Minority Report, being visually detailed and industrial. However, stylistically the screen uses way too much camera flare, to the point of much distraction and there is overall little beauty to this future world.
Following closely the story of the original text, as well as the previous film, with subtle changes that are actually well executed. However, there is one major difference; the Mars uprising plot of the original is placed with a region-based colony uprising on the other side of Earth. This to me, is a major change, for the Mars location and plot is the major driving force of the original text/movie.
Still, the script is mostly lacklustre and any new twists that came along were either telegraphed ahead of time or totally predictable. I never like to speak badly of any composer’s music, but I will just say that Harry Gregson-Williams soundtrack fails to elevate the movie to any higher level, either. In reality, nothing was ever going to be able to compare to Jerry Goldsmith’s brilliant soaring film score heard in the Arnie version.
The film is not altogether terrible, just somewhat disappointing. I feel that those who have no knowledge of the original will likely get more out of viewing this and I can envision the movie being better received when released to bluray/dvd, perhaps with a longer Director’s Cut?
score: 7 out of 10.