Sunday, August 19, 2012
Total Recall (2012)
I caught this movie yesterday--yes, a little late, but I've been busy vacationing it up the past few weeks. I had to travel an extra 10 miles to the mall to find a theater showing it at the cheap 4:05 time slot. And when I walked into the theater at 4:00, I was the only one in the room. At first I was excited that I would be the only one watching a movie (never had that happen before), but in the last minute, a noisy family with kids came in, and then about two couples and one single. Dang!
Plus, it was in the theater down at the end where the speakers make a loud buzz every time the air conditioner comes on. And this movie is only at the beginning of its third week!
So, where are the fans? It turns out that they practically reject this remake. Since it's different, but not different enough, they hate it. But the movie itself (if you never saw the original) was still pretty good. It was, in my opinion, as good or better than I, Robot which has a similar feel and type of action. It's much like several of the book-adaptations I saw with my kids. With the exception of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, my kids rejected several of the recent adaptation movies, while my wife and I, who hadn't read the books, actually enjoyed them. The most drastic example was The Last Airbender, an adaption of the TV cartoon Avatar, which we parents enjoyed until we actually watched the cartoon and came to hate the movie.
Funny how that works.
Well, I thoroughly enjoyed Total Recall (2012). It captures well the mood of cyberpunk, though not as well as Blade Runner. The movie's pace was excellent and left no room for any boring scenes. It was nice to see Colin Farrell play a likeable character for a change.
Was this movie better than the original? It's difficult to judge. You can see my review of the first movie here.
The first movie was an adaptation of Philip K. Dick's short story, "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale," which I have yet to read. The second movie was an an adaptation of the first movie, which in and of itself gives the first movie a big advantage.
The second movie removes what I call the R-rated distractions, which I consider to be a good thing. These are the trademark of Verhoeven. Think Robocop and Starship Troopers. Verhoeven has this knack of introducing funny lines and scenes, usually of a Rated R nature. They usually are successful in going for the laugh, but it's also usually distracting and comes across as looking very cheezy.
Funny thing is, the lack of these Verhoeven touches in the 2012 version is most likely why the fans are rejecting it. We are treated to one "tri-boobie" scene, which is an unfortunate bow to these touches. It's unfortunate because it's the only bow, and it really sticks out in the flow of the movie. In the original, we at least know she's a mutant. In the new movie, we're scratching our head--"What just happened here?"
But other than that one scene, this remake is a more non-cheezy "mature" movie free of those distractions. It has much more action. Also, there is more interplay between the characters. Plus, I think the movie does a slightly better job at creating the possibility of two different realities. The first movie shows too many scenes away from Quaid, thus locking down the "Mars is real" reality. The remake shows most everything from Quaid's point of view, so either reality could be true.
In the area of bad science, both movies have their fair share. In the remake, the whole "Fall" business is practically impossible. The shift in gravity would be gradual throughout the whole trip. And if it's in free fall, as one imdb user comments, the riders would experience weightlessness the whole trip. That same user comments that Great Britain and Australia aren't polar opposites. But it's only off by a few degrees. Eesh! Some of these nitpickers need to get a life. :)
If you're a Philip K. Dick fan, I recommend seeing this movie in the theater as soon as possible, because it doesn't look like it'll last much longer. It's a shame, but this movie deserves more than the rap it's getting.