Total Recall (2012/Sony 2-Blu-ray Set w/DVD)
B/C+ Sound: B+/C+ Extras: C+ Film – Extended: C+/Theatrical: C
elaborate remake that I was expecting, the highly problematic Director Len
Wiseman has delivered Total Recall
(2012), a remake of the 1990 Paul Verhoeven/Arnold Schwarzenegger action hit
that was violent for its time and his big budget follow-up to Robocop (1987). Both films were about the future as
wastelands, even when the latter did not always seem that way, and were also
cutting edge action and science fiction films.
version replaces Schwarzenegger with Colin Farrell as a man who thinks he is
someone else and does not know it. Turns
out he is some kind of spy whose identity is being blocked on purpose (like a
sleeper agent, save he does not know who he is) but that lock is accidentally
broken when he visits the Rekall store to have new memories that are not his
planted into his brain for fun and amusement.
Instead, the computer finds and breaks the mind lock and the action
is closer than Schwarzenegger to the character in the original novel, who would
be more like Woody Allen than either of the two stars of their respective
versions, but no one would see Allen in a serious action film of any age, plus
Allen already made this film in his own way back in 1973 when he was on the run
in the future in the hilarious Sleeper
(finally coming to Blu-ray) so no studio was going to go that far into comedy
or absurdity at these prices. Like Sleeper, Farrell’s pursued antagonist
actually does not go to Mars, which was a big sticking point for many fans of
the first film and the book.
Kate Beckinsale (from Wiseman’s silly Underworld
franchise) plays his fake wife (Sharon Stone’s character in the original) and the
interesting Jessica Biel is a woman he keeps having nightmares about as if he
knows her. The first half of the film is
not bad with some good acting moments, introduction of the world these
characters inhabit (a new oversimple plotline has been added about people being
oppressed and their need to overthrow their oppressors that even has a
reference to Charlton Heston’s Sci-fi classic Omega Man, though this film is less bloody and gory than the 1990
original) but once we get the first car chase, the film turns into a bad chase
film with no point and nowhere narratively to go.
villains (including Bryan Cranston) are generic (versus the great Ronny Cox in
the first film, who was formidable and interesting) and in the process, the
film wants to imitate every film in the genre since the 1990 film (but not the
forgettable Total Recall 2070
fiasco) including large heapings of I,
Robot, Minority Report and lesser
knowns like Event Horizon plus the usual 2001:
A Space Odyssey references and even on to the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker!
rightly has had a worldwide record year in 2012 with so many great and
interesting hits that not every release was going to be a home run and this
stalled at the box office because it was just too soon to remake the film and
what was made was ultimately just not as good as it could have been. Mars being eliminated notwithstanding, the
cast is still not bad, they were on the correct track in some respects, Farrell
can carry most scenes and there are some moments that truly work, but it simply
was not enough, so with worldwide money and now its home video release
worldwide, the film will at least break even.
However, they picked the wrong director and script with the result that
few will “recall” this version as fondly as the 1990 original.
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is a combination of a RED Epic
5K HD shoot with real 35mm anamorphic Panavision scope shooting and some Super
35mm shooting in Fuji
stocks. The result is interesting, has
its moments, Wiseman does not discolor the image as much as usual and with Fuji
discontinuing all of its motion picture films by the end of 2012, one of the
last films of its kind.
of Photography Paul Cameron, A.S.C., manages to pull it all together with a
film that is less colorful and defined than its 1990 predecessor, but it has
some softer moments in digital video effect overuse. Production design that tries to mimic Scott’s
Blade Runner (1982) is some of the
best work in the film. The
anamorphically enhanced DVD version is softer and passable at best.
TrueHD 7.1 lossless mix is the surprise highlight here with very consistent
dynamic range, ambiance when all the surrounds are not kicking in, good .1 LFE
bass and some good mixing moments, but other times, the mix is too typical of
the genre for its own good. Still, it is
one of the best-sounding films of the year and the score by Harry
Gregson-Williams has some good moments, though no match for the score the late,
great Jerry Goldsmith delivered for the 1990 film. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD is
decent and shows some of the surround’s strengths, but is no match for the
TrueHD on the Blu-ray.
include that bonus DVD, Ultraviolet Copy, the longer version of the film and a bunch
of extras including interactive Insight section where you watch the film with
Director Wiseman, three featurettes (Gag Reel, Science Fiction vs. Science Fact, Designing The Fall) and Blu-ray exclusive feature length audio
commentary track by Wiseman, God Of War: Ascension PlayStation 3
Game Demo and two more featurettes: Total
Action and Step Into Recall.
- Nicholas Sheffo