There’s a difference between a re-imagination of a movie or a classic piece of literature. And then there’s a remake. It was OK for Michael Haneke to remake ‘Funny Games’, I suppose, since he made the original that wasn’t even really seen by that many people. Remaking it almost shot-by-shot for an American audience, with stars like Naomi Watts and Tim Roth made sense. Remaking ‘Total Recall’ however, does not.
Philip Dick’s novel ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale’ is rich in concept enough that a film based on it could go any number of ways but I legitimately wonder if Len Wiseman (director: 2012′s ‘Total Recall’) even read the original story that ‘Total Recall’ was based on. It would have been interesting to have seen a new take on that source material, but instead what we got was a (I guess) a new take on the original ‘Total Recall’, which was in itself a take on ‘Electric Sheep’. A re-imagination of a re-imagination. And it feels as empty as you might expect it to.
Colin Farrell is an enigma. He continues his streak of being probably the only A-list leading man in Hollywood who has never been in a good film. He certainly hasn’t starred in one. Think about it. Seriously, when was he last in a good film? ‘Minority Report’ (another Philip Dick adaptation) is the only one I can think of and he played second fiddle to Tom Cruise and psychic people in a swimming pool. I loved ‘The New World’ but not many other people did…
Let’s move on.
Len Wiseman (director) does a pretty good job at pretty much zero things in this film. He does makes the girls look good, I guess. The action is as good as you would expect from your average action film and everything looks okay, I suppose. The world that he demonstrated for the future was cool to look at. Although it was pretty much an amalgamation of ideas ripped from other, better sic-fi films. The scrambler suit from ‘A Scanner Darkly’ (another Philip Dick adaptation), the automobile system from ‘Minority Report’ (yep, Dick again). The floating buildings borne of a society forced to build vertically instead of horizontally we’ve seen before too…
(Ed: Skip next paragraph to avoid spoiler)
The writing also, was shoddy. As far as I can tell, at no point was Cohaagen ousted as a criminal. Nor was Quaid revealed as a hero. The only person that seemed to know that Cohaagen was doing evil things (bombing his own people to justify the invasion) were the resistance and Colin Farrell. Who told no one about it. And the world at large considered the resistance fighters to be villainous rebels. So how when Quaid kills Cohaagen and world’s entire police force, does he get away with it? I don’t understand? And if Cohaagen is never revealed to the world to be a bad guy, then Kate Beckinsale’s character certainly isn’t. So when Farrell unceremoniously murders her in cold blood at the end amid a bunch of doctors and medics, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be greeted with the adulation that he was.
What else? Well, no Mars was a bummer. That was always kind of the most iconic thing about TOTAL RECALL. The whole alien angle was an awesome twist in the original. The MILF guy from ‘American Pie’ playing the Recall technician was weird too. That guy is way too distracting. There was a borderline offensive nod to the originally awesome chick with three breasts.
But Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel looked good. And it’s pretty nice being able to imagine a world where your biggest problem is figuring out which world you want to live in: the one where Beckinsale is your wife, or Biel. Still, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is still showing and Marion Cotillard looks ten times better than either of those girls. So watch that (again) instead!
For more on Colin Farrell, click here.
Send in your views or opinions to email@example.com if you would like to become a contributing writer on Yes World.