I would consider the original Total Recall as one of my top five favorite films of all time. I gave the movie five stars. You can even read about it, if you have the time. So, you already know the original film is very close to my heart. And, as with most films that are close to my heart, it was of course redone into a super glossy, vapid remake.
Just how super glossy and vapid is it? Well, pretty much as super glossy and as vapid as you could get. Where the original was the thinking man’s sci-fi film (yes, even with Arnold Schwarzenegger), this is science fiction for dummies. It stinks, and worse, it’s a colossal waste of time. The original is just so much better--dated special effects and all.
The biggest problem with this film is that it’s all action and no thought, and the action isn’t even that enjoyable. When this remake came out earlier this year, a lot of people noted that it was like a video game. But you know what? I love video games, and many of the video games of today can be very thoughtful and introspective (just play Journey if you don’t believe me). In reality, this movie is actually an insult to modern-day gaming. If anything, it’s like video games from the early 90s, which feature a lot of bang bang and who gives a shit? Whereas the original film was ambiguous and made audiences really question whether scenes were reality or recall, this movie isn’t smart enough to be ambiguous, making pretty obvious which is which. I’m not going to spoil the film for you, but by the end of the movie, you just might find yourself shaking your head. It’s all so contrived that it makes me sick.
But I digress. For those who haven’t seen the original, the story in this one is about a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) who isn’t pleased with life, even with a smoking hot wife (Kate Beckinsale). So he visits Rekall, a company where your dreams can become reality through implanted memories. But something goes terribly wrong, and Quaid becomes hunted because of something unlocked in his brain during the procedure. Plotwise, it’s very similar to the original.
Despite the similarities, this movie takes place on Earth instead of Mars. But it doesn’t really make any difference, since Earth is such a fantasy world in this film that it might as well take place on Mars. I mean, really, what was the point of keeping the film on Earth? The only reason I could think of that the filmmaker made the decision is because he wanted to separate this film from the original. But there are so many homages to the original that you kind of wonder if director Len Wiseman got confused along the way. It doesn’t make any sense. Is this a remake or a reimagining? Either way it sucks.
The biggest offense, though, is that there’s no charm to this film whatsoever. There are no cheesy (but endearing) one-liners. None of the characters have any personality, not even the wonderful, Bryan Cranston. And the chemistry between Farrell and Jessica Biel's characters is as about as plastic as the box this disc comes in. The whole production is just blah, and I really can't recommend this film to anybody.
Ok, so as you can tell, I hated the film. But I’ll try to be as objective as possible on these special features, since there are quite a bit of them. First, let’s look at the extended director’s cut of the film. It’s weak. All the added stuff is so miniscule that you won’t even notice it unless you’re listening to the audio commentary. It’s useless. And speaking of useless, the commentary is terrible, too. The director, Len Wiseman, seriously doesn’t think much of his audience, as he constantly talks about whether the audience will be confused by the plot. He seriously thinks we’re dumbasses. Hello, most of us saw the original. If we understood that one, we’ll understand this one. Stop belittling us.
“Total Recall with Insight” is your typical, behind-the-scenes look at how key scenes were shot. It features everything from discussions on action scenes and shots of the orchestra playing the score, all while the movie is playing. It’s…just whatever. “Science Fiction vs. Science Fact” features a guy who goes on a tangent about nonsense, and it’s all drawn-out and ridiculous. He sounds like I used to sound when I’d bullshit in my college papers. It’s laughable.
You know what’s not funny, though? The gag reel. It’s boring. “Designing the Fall” features a discussion on the creation of the CG heavy world in this movie, and it’s uninteresting, to say the least. “Total Action” features actors and the production team talking about the lackluster fight scenes. And “Stepping into Recall-Pre-Visualization sequence” shows key action scenes in their early phase when they were still just pre-rendered models. It practically put me to sleep.
In fact, the only moderately good special feature on here is the early demo of the upcoming Playstation 3 game, God of War: Ascension. It’s pretty much just a playable version of the trailer we gamers have already seen. It’s fine and all, but it’s also unimpressive. I mean, it’s God of War, which is getting tired, just like this Blu-Ray itself.