Total Recall

Stylish and dynamic reimagining of one of the coolest sci-fi stories.

Director: Len Wiseman | Stars: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale

Budget: 125 million | Box office: 75 million (2 weeks)

IMDb: 6.3 | Metacritic: 44

Total Recall, Colin Farrell

Philip K. Dick is really an exceptional author – his most famous novels and stories were adapted to the big screen and quite successfully (sadly, only after his death). With 44 novels and around 120 short stories it seems film creators could find something new to adapt instead of repeating his story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, but this idea and the promise of continued popularity of the original movie probably was too good to pass. Thankfully, the result was much better than I first feared.

The thought of rebooting one of my favorite childhood movies, kind of different sci-fi symbol from Star Wars, was horrible. Casting Colin Farrell in Arnold‘s role seemed also wrong. But the first trailer was really cool and motivating. It‘s nice that the new team, lead by Underworld director (which explains Kate Beckinsale as the fierce lead enemy), didn‘t retell the previous plot step by step, just used some of the main original story elements and arranged them in a different universe. The name to highlight in this aspect is Kurt Wimmer – he worked with screenplay and sometimes the movie a bit reminded his famous work Equilibrium. And he really knows how to create an intensive fast plot (Salt, Law Abiding Citizen)

This time there is no Mars, maybe sad for some people, but for me it was interesting to see the vision of our Earth, inhabited just in Australia and Europe, and connected via tunnel. The scenes of travelling through the globe, gravity shifting, fighting in zero grav were really impressive. In general I loved that there is a lot of movement by the characters and environment objects, it sometimes even reminded more a game than a movie. The settings are beautiful too, I really believe that overcrowded rich and poor cities will look just like that in a foreseeable future. The Asian quarters reminded Blade Runner quite a lot (maybe it‘s a hint for future reboot?). And the police robots are slick and cool.

The action sequences are fast, dynamic, but predictable even if you don‘t know the story or haven‘t seen the earlier movie. It‘s kind of built according to familiar structure: intensive intro scene, calm story explanation, few chases and fights, some more story twists, grand finale. But some elements and episodes were really surprising – I haven‘t seen so much new stuff for quite a long time.

I don‘t think the new movie will attract as many and loyal fans as Paul Verhoven‘s vision, but it was fun to watch and it‘s a very good reason to remember or discover an exceptional works of Philip K. Dick. He created amazing universes which provide background for various movies from high profile Minority Report to experimental Scanner Darkly. I just hope screenwriters and producers will dig deeper into his collection and find something more interesting to adapt.

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