"Open your mind... Open your mind... Open your mind." -Kuato
Unfortunately, Kuato isn't even in this updated reboot of the 1990 sci-fi blockbuster film, "Total Recall." And this saddened me because Kuato may have been the most interesting character of ANY film in the 90's. Yet, he was only in the movie for ten minutes. He was interesting to me because he looked like a melted Chucky doll from the movie "Childs Play," that disgustingly grew out of the stomache of another man. He could read minds and he was the savior to all the aliens on the planet Mars. Yup, he was cool.
You may also remember that a handsome, muscular Arnold Schwarzenegger and a young, fit, pant-suit wearing, blond bombshell named Sharon Stone were the two actors that carried this film to stardom.
This movie had it all. Action, suspense, love, war, spies, double agents, aliens, mutants and three-breasted women. Like I said, this movie had it all. Some people say that "Total Recall" may be Schwarzenegger's best film ever. As a professional movie reviewer, I can say, with authority, that it is.
So, why would anyone want to mess with perfection and try to remake the (almost) perfect movie? Because it's Hollywood, dudes, and Hollywood has a hard time coming up with original ideas, so they take other peoples work (Paul Verhoeven, in this case) and try to duplicate it. And in the process, make some cash. I mean, think about it, look at all the remakes out there. Some good: "3:10 to Yuma," "True Grit" and "Cape Fear." And some, not so good: "Death at a Funeral," "That Darn Cat" and "John Carter." Oh wait, was "John Carter" not a remake of another movie? Well, it still sucked.
Someone out in Hollywood wanted to remake "Total Recall." And guess what? They did. And nobody tried to stop them.
Does this mean I hated the film? Not at all. But let me take you through my process of seeing this movie.
I saw it twice over the weekend. I saw it twice for three reasons: 1) I missed the first three minutes of the film (which I never do - wrong times on the website!); 2) I didn't really like it the first time, so I wanted to figure out why; and 3) I'm a professional and I do my job thoroughly!
Right off the bat, do the opposite of what Kuato said. You've got to "close your mind" and block out the original film, because they are not the same. If you can do that then you'll enjoy this movie. Then, make sure you get in for the beginning of the film. I was kind of lost because I didn't have a clue of what planet they were on for much of the film (until I saw it the second time).
That's when I realized that the entire movie takes place on Earth. Mars is not even involved in this movie. So, there were no aliens.
But the story does follow the original, with some twists. Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a factory worker making synthetic robots for Chancellor Cohaagen. Police robots to be precise. See, late in the 21st century there was a global nuclear war and now the only habitable places to live on earth are the UFB (United Federation of Britian) and the Colony (which is Australia).
The UFB is for the hoity-toity, the rich, the snobs, and the Colony, well, it's for us, the hard working middle to low class. (Actually, I have no class. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!)
Every day, Colony people take a transport called "The Fall" through the earth's core to go to work at UFB, building "synthetics." Quaid starts having dreams that his life is more important that this, so he decides to go to "Rekall," a place that implants memories into your brain so when you wake up, it's like you just went on vacation. But before they implant the memory, he starts having memories of his real life. Little does Quaid know the he was Cohaagen's buddy, sent in to infiltrate the resistance (which live in the Colony) to get key information, so they could wipe out the Colony and build another UFB... basically, it was a form of genocide. Quaid figured this out and want to do good and help the resistance.
The Resistance is led by a man named Matthias, (nice name). He is the 'Kuato' of this film, but he isn't nearly as cool. (He's actually quite boring.) Quaid meets with him and unknowingly leads Cohaagen to him. Let's just say it all hits the fan from here on in.
Cohaagen knows the Resistance's plan and sets his own plan into motion, invasion on the Colony. He sends all his synthetics into "The Fall" to eradicate the people of the Colony. Quaid isn't having that... by the way, "The Fall" is the major problem here, it separates the rich from the poor. It must be stopped.
Does Quaid stop it?
It's an action-packed ending and worth seeing. I don't want to ruin it for you.
Now there was a slew of good actors in this movie. And all performed quite well.
Colin Farrell was very good as Quaid, but he ain't Ahh-nold!
Bokeem Woodbine was Quaid's buddy Harry, and he was great. But I liked the other guy from the original just a tad better.
Bryan Cranston was Cohaagen, and he was splendid. But he wasn't the original Cohaagen, and that was hard for me to look past.
The female characters were played by Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel. Now, Beckinsale is so hot, she makes Biel look ugly... and Biel is the second prettiest girl on the planet (next to Beckinsale, of course).
Beckinsale played Lori Quaid, Quaid's wife. She came the closest to nailing her part. If I had to choose between her and Sharon Stone in their primes for this role, I would go with Kate. Sadly, Sharon Stone has hit the wall and this was an easy decision for me.
And lastly, Jessica Biel. She played Melina, the tough girl from the Resistance who's in love with Quaid. She acted quite well. But Rachel Ticotin was perfect for the role of Melina in the 1990 version. Don't worry though Jessica, I see you having a bigger and better career than she did.
Before I end this review I just have a one little blip that confused me in this movie. Down in the Colony, Doug Quaid walks up to a lady looking for directions, she shows him her three breasts. Now, as much as I loved this scene, (and I did love it) I couldn't figure out why she had three breasts. I mean, no one went to Mars in this film, and there were no aliens. Where did this lady get three breasts? Yeah, it's the little things like this that really tear into my brain.
Also, I noticed myself saying all the lines from the old movie during this film! Great lines like, "Two weeks, two weeks!" and "Consider dis a divorce" and "If I'm not me, den who da hell am I?"
And this is how I know I loved the original more than the remake.
But don't get me wrong, any sci-fi geek should love this film. Just so long as you can suspend your thoughts on the original film for two hours and enjoy the mind-ride.
Matty W. Kelley, Norwood Patch, reporting.
Fun Fact: "Total Recall" was adapted from a short story written by Philip K. Dick called "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale." I've always liked that name for a short story. It is the movie in the title.
Fun Matty Fact: Arnold Schwarzenegger was my favorite actor of the late 80's and 90's. I know he wasn't the best actor out there, but his movies were a sci-fi guy's wonderful dream. I mean, "T2," "Commando," "Predator," "The Running Man," "Raw Deal," "True Lies," and even "Twins" (not sci-fi) were all fantastic films!