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Total Recall Remake Totally Appals Diehard Fans of the 1990 Adaptation but May Connect with New Fans

Posted on the 07 August 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
Total Recall remake totally appals diehard fans of the 1990 adaptation but may connect with new fans Total Recall

The background

Len Wiseman’s adaptation of Total Recall is a version of Philip K. Dick’s post-apocalyptic short story, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. It’s not the first Total Recall film - Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in the 1990 original. The latest version stars Colin Farrell as Quaid, a blue-collar factory worker who proceeds to inject his mundane life with a glimmer of excitement by having artificial memories inserted into his mind. When the procedure goes wrong, Quaid’s life takes a sudden turn and he finds himself on the run from gunmen, authorities, and even those he thought closest to him, marking the line between fantasy and reality becomes almost indistinguishable. An interesting storyline, to be sure. So why all the negative feedback?

Another lousy remake 

Total Recall is “another remake that didn’t need to be made” sniped Claudia Puig of USA Today. Kyle Smith of the New York Post agreed, adding that  “the original Arnold Schwarzenegger movie was perfection,” therefore clearly hard to follow, let alone top.

The plot remains pretty much the same, with only a few changes, like getting rid of the Mars aspect of the 1990 version. This dismayed those who sought something fresh. Lewis Wallace from Wired compared the watching experience to a trip to Costco: “Every now and then something shiny and new catches your eye, but mostly you’re just eyeballing stuff you’ve seen a hundred times before.”

Cut it some slack, at least it’s action-packed

Most critics concurred that Total Recall was “soulless, bombastic and numbingly repetitive” and thus “easy to forget within the first few hours of watching,” as Claudia Puig from USA Today remarked. But at least it’s got some neat action scenes and high-tech gadgets, critics like Ben Child from The Guardian and Chris Vetter from Leader Telegram argued. However even the set-piece chases didn’t get the all-round thumbs up. Child of The Guardian said that the special effects, though dazzling, were so hectic in the end that it made the movie look like “a big-screen video game.” Morgenstern from the Wall Street Journal also suggested that, though the hover-chase in particular was “spectacular,” it seemed to drag on for a bit too long.

What about the younger audiences?

Frankly put, “for fans of the of the Schwarzenegger version, this movie just doesn’t measure up” said Chris Vetter of the Leader Telegram. But, he continued, there is no reason why the special effects, action scenes, and visuals will not go down well with younger audiences, especially those who are unfamiliar with the first adaptation. They will, most likely, “think this is a blast.”

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