Total Recall (2012)



What to do when scripter’s run out of original ideas? Why, you start to remake blockbusters from the 1990’s, of course. 
 
Dreams are haunting Douglas Quaid (Collin Farrell). In them, he is trying to escape captivity but is trapped in a high-tech facility with others in pursuit. Before he awakes, he remembers saving a woman (Jessica Biel) who he does not recognize from his present life. His wife, Lori (Kate Beckinsale) is always beside him to help him get past those nightmares. Living in a post-apocalyptic world, each day Doug goes about the same routine while his wife works as an EMT. There are the British Federation police and a force known as the “resistance” whom media have made out to be the villains in the war ravaged place called The Colony, one of only two places left suitable for human inhabitants. From the poorer ‘colony’ community, Doug takes the only transportation, known as “The Fall” into the UFB manufacturing police robots but… something is missing from his life. He wants something different. So hoping for something to change his humdrum existence, he goes to a place called Rekall. The place manufactures any reality the costumer wants but there is one catch: You cannot pick your own reality. Before his dream can begin, armed guards break in and attempt to arrest Doug, but not before he manages to disarm all of them and become a wanted fugitive.  

Sci-Fi movies from the 1990’s and even before that make me cringe – just looking at the production stills of this 1990 film of the same name caused me to go, “ew! That looks gross!” Without ever seeing the original film I shouldn’t judge it but in this case, I will go out on a limb and say, it won’t be any sacrifice to say I’ll prefer the intelligence of this movie over the cheese of its predecessor. (Though it was rated R and this only PG13, there is still plenty of “adult” material involved.) For a non-sci-fi geek, this was a surprise and a film that was out of my comfort zone to see, though it didn’t disappoint – with exception to a few bits of “adult” humor that may have paid homage to the original but are actually vulgar – plus I am rather fond of its leading man and Kate Beckinsale once played Austen’s iconic Emma Woodhouse. 

A love of a good mystery or thriller is something that’s been well documented around here… within that, I like my thriller’s to be realistic – or at least “realistic” in that they are set in our world without using any form of “mind control.” That is where it seems scripts can become dicey and raise questions that aren’t always above reproach. For a million different reasons, this is not a movie that everyone would like. Its setting is dark, the depravity in each situation can be depressing and the idea behind it may offend some potential viewers – including the use of wiping one’s memory for reasons that have nothing to do with honor. Not only does the corruption rule what (the things) surrounds each character but their attitudes, one of acceptance and unhappiness. Doug is suddenly unhappy in his reality and it makes us sad that he cannot be happy in the life he’s carved out but to cut him slack, we do quickly realize there is good reason behind his disenchantment. And it’s reason enough for us to wish for him his “freedom.” It’s just not the peaceful journey we may have expected in rooting Doug on.  

The body count is high and the emotional impact is a bit… staggering. There’s some intelligence in the script though most the time the movie is too much of a flashy blockbuster to realize it could have been more. The filming took some adjusting as a white light backlights the character and halos them in a sterile type glow and seems to be distracting the viewer from enjoying the movie. One part of me gets what the production crew were trying to do in creating this world – one in which the world we now know no longer exists and no matter how “fun” the movie may be in the short time we fall into its world, it’s a frightening prospect. What I took away from it was a scenario of The Bourne Identity albeit in a high-tech, post 21st century, war-torn world and sans the whole memory retrieval thing. As most of you already know, that is the trilogy I seem to judge all similar genre titles by, only if you like sci-fi movies, this is a fun (3-star) one to watch on a lazy afternoon. 

(Parental Concerns: In a flashback to its R-rated predecessor, there is one instance of nudity when a bare-chested woman flashes a man. Other minor sexual implications are present between a married couple; she is seen in her undergarments once. Violence is a high count of high-powered weapons and bullets spraying everywhere, and hand-to-hand combat that leaves numerous bodies in its wake. Profanity also racks up high uses of sh*t as well as abuses of God’s name in various forms, and more minor profanities in a**, b*tch, h*ll, etc. The film is rated PG13.)
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Rissi
12 Comments

12 comments:

  1. I want to see this. I love a good action movie with Kate Beckinsale in it.

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    1. Really? I didn't know this was one you were interested in but then, I do know you like Kate. :) Enjoy!

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  2. I wanted to see this, but then changed my mind. I'm a huge thriller/sci-fi fan, which is why it held some appeal. But I read some reviews from Focus on the Family and decided it wasn't worth it this time around. Hehe.

    Good review!

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    1. Sci-fi is a genre I've come to love, Rosie - it's just fun. Whether its a combo of Cowboys and Aliens or the quirkiness of a Wizard of Oz re-make, it has grown on me. This one I watched before Christmas and actually loved it. True it's not a favorite but still, it was good. :)

      As FontheF said; this re-make didn't tone down the content all that much. And it's unfortunate.

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  3. It's a really cool movie, but my college courses have altered my perspective somewhat when watching or reading almost anything. I didn't like the forward-thinking motivation of the rebels, not at all. We have to look at our past to see where we've been, or we'll never learn. Funny, but a few years ago I would have never noticed. Still, it was awesome, and I do enjoy those crazy CGI scenes. it doesn't quite beat "Blade Runner" though. Harrison Ford is just awesome! ;)

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    1. Glad you liked this one okay. Apocalyptic/futuristic movies are usually startling. I don't think I can say they bother me but there is something jarring and unpleasant about the prospect of the world we know now being... different.

      If there is one thing sci-fi flicks can do, it's the crazy filming - and this one delivers!

      Never saw the Blade Runner flick, Carissa. My Harrison Ford films are limited to the most recent "Indiana Jones" and the classic Sabrina. Or those are the only two that come to mind just now. :)

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  4. I haven't seen the original (despite loving sci-fi stuff; I'm sorely behind in the sci-fi movie department, but anyways) but when I heard that they were remaking it, I was just O_o Hollywood is really scaring me with the number of remakes these days and lack of original scripts coming out...but I digress ;)

    Great review! I might consider checking it out one of these days (I was sort of on the fence about it but I just might add it to the list to watch now ;))

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    1. For all my questions about it, it was good! Love the cast which really helped and while it may not be the most clever movie, it kept me entertained which is usually all I ask.

      Just from looking at movie stills, my reaction to the original was: Ew!. There was some sort of weird alien thing going on... and it just turned me off! ;D

      Hope you enjoy if you decide to see this one, Lianne - I'll keep an eye out for any thoughts you may share. :) Thanks so much for reading.

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  5. I've never seen the original but this looks interesting even though I'm not too fond of Collin Farrell for some reason. I LOVE sci-fi though so I'll probably have to check this out.

    xoxo,
    Renee C.

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    1. Always have liked Collin, he's just not usually in "good" movies. His best was American Outlaws. It's still one of my family's fave films. I get not liking an actor and putting off a movie you may have otherwise seen - been there, done that. :)

      Hope you enjoy this one, Renee! It's got the whole sci-fi thing down splendidly. :)

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  6. It’s not the most inventive remake out there, but it’s still a fun one that has you suspend your belief and turn off your brain for about 2 hours, and just enjoy what’s on display. Can’t see too much wrong with that, can you? Good review Rissi.

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    1. I like movies that don't require us to "think," Dan. We do enough of that in life. :) As a sci-fi movie, this one was fun and in many ways, clever. Glad you liked it also.

      Thank you so much for reading!

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