Monday, 3 September 2012

Film Review: "Total Recall" (2012).




"What is real?"
This notion is explored yet again in Total Recall. This science fiction action film directed by Len Wiseman; adapted by Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback; based on the 1990 film of the same name and the 1966 short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale by Philip K. Dick. For a factory worker Douglas Quaid, even though he's got a beautiful wife who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life - real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man as he finds himself on the run from the police.

In June 2009, Variety reported that Kurt Wimmer would write a script for a remake of the 1990 classic. Mark Bomback was later brought onboard, and James Vanderbilt did an uncredited "polish" on the script. Over a year later Len Wiseman was hired to direct. Although described in the press as a "remake," star Jessica Biel claimed in her August, 2012 appearance on The Daily Show that the film is not a remake of the 1990 film, but an adaptation of the original short story by Philip K. Dick. However, Biel's own character of Melina was not actually present in the original short story by Philip K. Dick and exists only in this film and the original 1990 film. The same goes for the characters of Cohaagen and Harry, along with the leader of the Resistance. This version of the film also uses the names Quaid and Lori for the main character and his wife, like the 1990 film, whereas in the original short story they were Quail and Kirsten. The basic story also follows that of the original 1990 film, albeit with certain changes such as keeping the action on Earth rather than Mars. In October 2010 it was officially reported in The Hollywood Reporter that Colin Farrell was on top of the short list, which included Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender, to play Quaid. In January 2011, it was announced that Farrell had secured the role. Farrell stated in April that the remake would not be the same as Dick's short story. Beckinsale and Biel were both confirmed for roles in May, after actresses Eva Green, Diane Kruger, and Kate Bosworth had previously been considered for Biel's role. Actor Bryan Cranston was cast as the film's villain. Later cast additions included Bill Nighy and John Cho. On a reported budget of $125 million, principal photography began in Toronto in May 2011, and ended in September 2011.

The film stars Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, John Cho, and Bill Nighy. Despite the cast's best efforts, the performances, in the end, brought nothing new to the film and failed to live up to the performances of the original (considering the original cast didn't set the bar very high).

Total Recall exploits Philip K. Dick's story for its action and plot potential and never really develops it. It's a bad film, complete with lackluster acting, brainless writing, and uninspired direction. Woo's stylish touches fall flat in this forgettable project. The movie takes two hours to watch and two minutes to forget. The interpretation of Dick's intriguing concept is a street which mostly just dead-ends into noisy silliness.

Simon says Total Recall receives:


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