MOVIE REVIEW: Total Recall (2012)

Wil Avitt
Wil Avitt's picture

I am dreading writing this review above any review I've written since I started doing this last year. Why? Mostly because I'm having trouble finding the words to fill an entire review. Ok, here is the review I have in my head:

"Stay home, watch the original Schwarzenegger flick on Netflix."

That's it. That's all I can really say. But I can't just leave it at that, now can I? Not if I want to keep this job, and I do. So what else is there to say?

Well, for starters, Total Recall, for those who don't know, is based on a Phillip K. Dick story called "We Can Remember it For You Wholesale". The original movie had about as much in common with the Dick story as Blade Runner had with "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", which is to say, not a whole hell of a lot. Pretty much, in fact, just barely enough to be able to call it an adaptation. Now, if you're going to remake an adaptation that drifted considerably from the source material, it would stand to reason that one would try to shift the new adaptation closer to the source. Unfortunately, this remake went completely the opposite direction. So far opposite, in fact, that they actually REMOVED all of the elements from the original story that the 1990 film had retained. The main character's name is still Quaid, not Quaill, for no reason. There is NO Mars in the movie, none, not at all. There is no tracking device implanted in the brain... This truly is a remake of the original movie and not at all an adaptation of the original story. It really made my head want to explode.

The movie, standing alone, isn't horrible. The special effects, acting, direction, action sequences, those things are all great. It's an exciting movie. The character development sucks. The characters in the original movie were pretty thin, but the remake is worse in that area. The writing was somewhat half-assed, which is disappointing. Unfortunately, this remake suffers from all of the same weaknesses as the original, more in fact, and brings nothing new to the table. It doesn't even stand up to the original film's strengths. So, again, I reiterate: stay home and rent the original on Netflix. Or better yet, find the original Dick story and read that.

Will Conservatives Like This Movie?

Only if they like watered down remakes of movies that were watered down adaptations to begin with.