Thursday, July 5, 2012

TOTAL RECALL


Recommend: yes

     Why would some stuffy trailer critic who is supposed to not like anything recommend a reboot of some other good movie from 1990?  It might surprise some that this film geek does not mind remakes all that much.  I picked up this idea from someone a while back and I wish I could remember who suggested it, but remakes of films are a little like recasting Hamlet every year or so, or any other Shakespeare play, back in the day. Of course, in those days they could not preserve great performances like we can now, so the material had to live on in the form of new casts and new actors, bringing the material to new audiences.  I really don't see why it should be taboo to remake films, good, bad or mediocre.  Just remember that you better have bowling balls in your boxer-briefs if you plan to re-lens Citizen Kane starring Brad Pitt.  You screw something like that up and you are fucked and far from home, bro.
     Sometimes a retelling can freshen up the idea and put new eyes on it.  It probably works best when someone takes an older film that had a good idea but didn't quite flesh it out.  I think Scorsese's Cape Fear is an example of that.  John Carpenter's The Thing is a more complete version of the older film, and I think Peter Jackson's King Kong is actually better than the original, and not just because of the effects, although Kong is much more compelling with the aid of the new technology, but only in the sense that he is able to convey more emotion, and that's ultimately what film is about.  
     This version of Total Recall looks like it is based on the previous incarnation but they still both draw from the Philip K. Dick short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.  Naturally the effects look great, taking obvious inspiration from another Dick-inspired film, Blade Runner.
     Sadly there are a couple moments where Collin Farrell is punching bad guys in the helmet, and I think he even punches a damned robot in the face.  Should this blog-post survive the decades to a time when robots actually are running around loose, kids, do not punch a robot in the face with your bare hand.  You will have a broken hand.  It's just good science.  So, check this one out, and check out the Paul Verhoeven version with Arnie, and compare and contrast, and see what you come up with.


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