Scene It All Before: Totally Recalled
Total Recall is a movie that needed to be redone and updated after two decades and seeing that we are no where closer to colonizing Mars. So Colin Farrell took the lead and now stars as Douglas Quaid a man just trying to understand what is real. A remake of the 1990 movie staring Arnold Schwarzenegger the story hasn’t changed much. Director Len Wiseman has just decided to go with a more serious tone and use grittier action sequences, which really takes out all of the fun of the original. Total Recall had one of two options when updating the movie, they could either fix all the mistakes of the first one and improve upon what the original did, or remake it into another typical action movie. They decided to play it safe.
Whether you know this or not the production company that put this movie out is called Original Film, so when the Original Film graphic pops up before the show starts, it is the movie’s first and probably only laughable moment. Does that have anything to do with the movie, no, merely a funny antic dote. Moving on.
For those of you who were unaware this is a remake of the 1990 Sci-Fi thriller of the same name that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. This was a movie that was desperately in need of a remake, not because there is anything particularly wrong with the original. Its just really gimmicky and campy and the computer graphics have come so far since the beginning of the nineties. While they do update the graphics and there is no longer a trip to Mars the movie hasn’t changed all that much. The basic beats to the story remain the same. There is even an extra who has one extra appendage in the movie that I am sure all the prepubescent boys will be ecstatic to see.
Farrell is no Schwarzenegger and that is so much what made the original movie so much fun. All the cheesy one-liners and the over the top acting are replaced by Farrell who plays the role much more straight laced then his predecessor. There is little control Farrell had over how the tone of the movie would play out, so with a grittier narrative came a gritter performance and that was required of every actor. Kate Beckinsale plays Douglas Quaid’s wife, her character is the epitome of what they were going for, a true bad ass, and this is how she should have been played in the first movie. Jessica Biel is fine in the movie as the love interest to Hauser but she is out shined on every level by just how awesome Beckinsale’s character is. Truth be told I think I may have been most excited to see Walter White play the main antithesis but he really didn’t have too many scenes to grab onto. The only thing that really stands out in my mind is how out of place it looked when Cranston was going toe to toe with Farrell who is 20 years his younger.
The action sequences are awesome in this movie and that seems to be what the movie hangs its hat on. There are several chase scenes through out the movie including those on futuristic high ways and elevators. The sequences go on a little long and after a while even get a little tedious but when they are your main source of entertainment you can’t be afraid to go for it and the production crew isn’t.
Truth be told this movie really adds no new spin to the original. Besides upgrading the graphics for modern audiences it really doesn’t differentiate itself from the Academy Award nominated original (that’s right this movie was nominated for two Oscars) or for that matter it doesn’t differentiate itself from any action movie that is made today. The movie doesn’t take any chances on being original, and that is probably what they are going for. Hoping fans of the original will come back for more. D