The Movie: 5.5/10
Let’s get it over with, the original Total Recall is awesome in that not-awesome kind of way that has an excellent concept, strange plot twists, passable special effects for the day it was made, and is very re-watchable for the kitche factor alone. Whew, OK, that’s done. Let’s move on.
Colin Farrell, I like him. He commits most of the time to the moment, and then you have to realize that an actor, performer, can only do the best with what they are given. Total Recall 2012 isn’t full of clever dialog. It’s mostly lots of surprised looks, some anger, some action, mixing in the moments of discovery, figuring things out. The cast has to range from having a crazy fist fight to moments of confronting a best friend who isn’t who he claims to be. Not unlike other movies, of course, but we are looking at this one with more critical eyes…AHHH that’s a mistake. This is an action Sci-Fi flick with a couple of big stars, futuristic theme, crazy amounts of CGI, and a theme of dystopia. Let the critical mind go.
This sounds a bit hypocritical coming from a person who just a week ago hated a movie called Ted because I was constantly criticizing it in my mind. I am trying to talk you out of critical thinking for Total Recall for obvious reasons. Here’s the deal, I like Futuristic Sci-Fi while I am only sort of a fan of crazy comedy stuff that seems idiotic and mean spirited. We give a pass to some movies for reasons that are hard to explain but mostly we lump together the types of things we like and try to find the good in those things. So consider that as I continue to write about my positive movie watching experience this time around.
The story of this Total Recall is interesting to me. We, humans, have destroyed most of the world and have only got to places left to live, the area around England and Australia. This makes living space a high commodity. They have drilled a hole through the Earth (get over it) separating the ritzy England area from the slummy Australian area. The Australian folks are the workers who do all the crap jobs in the posh area and “the fall” (elevator from one side of the planet to the other…get over it) is the cause and symbol of their oppression. Not surprisingly there is a huge corporation and political machine at work to level the Australian side to make more living space for the snooty rich people and futuristic hipsters. There are rebels and resistance and bad guys.
I like this whole thing, that sways me right away to a positive experience. I do not like the female antagonist, she’s obnoxious and way way way too designed. I do like the rebel woman, she’s got more range, not a totally deep character, but better than the she-boss. Farrell, as I said, does an OK job in the circumstances he finds himself. Sadly Bill Nighey is very underused and the ultimate bad guy is too much of a cartoon so he doesn’t fit into the dark grunge we are introduced to as the vibe of this future world.
The action bits are hit and miss for me. I get soooo bored with fights that last longer than about 20 seconds, so I could have trimmed lots of punching out of this movie. There is one cool fight between our leading man and woman, but it is too long and started to make my mind wander. There is a long chase scene which I could have done without, but it did look very cool. A place where everything is layered miles high and hover cars rise above while ‘normal’ cars are actually on the ground. This movie is a treat for your eyes and future speculating mind, that’s for sure.
Overall I enjoyed Total Recall. It kept my interest and I was looking forward to the next scene, to see what happens, even if it starts to be very predictable fairly early in the first few minutes. I still want to go back and watch Total Recall from my young adulthood. I don’t think I’ll want to come back to this Total Recall in 2o years, so there ya go.
- Total Recall With Insight – This is a PIP mode similar to Warner’s Maximum Movie Mode. It also works with your ipad (we are in the future folks). This is only available on the theatrical version and mostly shows concept art and pre viz sequences.
- Science Fiction Vs Science Fact – Michio Kaku Professor Of Theoretical Physics talks about the feasibility of the tech used in the movie. You have to take what he says with a pinch of salt but its all pretty entertaining stuff.
- Designing The Fall – The Fall is a wonderful science fiction idea that is also beautifully realized in the movie. A short talk with the special effects wizards who made it happen.
- Gag Reel – Some funny outakes from the film, I love the one where the Recall chair malfunctions and Colin Farrell decides to move it manually.
- Theatrical & Extended Cut’s – Two versions of the movie. The Extended cut is over 10 minutes longer than the theatrical with a different ending.
- God Of War Ascension PS3 Playable Demo – Almost worth the price of the disc in itself, if you own a PS3 pop the disc in and play the exclusive single player demo of the new God Of War game out later this year.
- Directors Commentary – Director Len Wiseman talks you through the film. This commentary talks a lot about the differences between the theatrical and extended version cut. This is one of those commentaries that makes you appreciate the film more after you have seen it, similar to Daredevil.
- Total Action – A seven part featurette that spans the entire making of the film. Unfortunately it’s pretty short and mostly fluff.
- Stepping Into Recall – A bunch of Pre Viz sequences that cover most of the major action sequences in the film.
- UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 3/10
Another semi-boring cover design. I’m not sure what would be a good alternative, but anything other than the big star slapped in the middle would be an improvement. This is a movie about a future when we can cut through the earth, install other memories into our brains. This alone cries out for something more creative. I wouldn’t have this cover as a poster, it’s just too uninteresting, if something can be gradients of uninteresting.
Audio & Video: 10/10
Total Recall’s 1080P AVC encode is as beautiful as the leading ladies who feature in the movie. From the opening scene of Colin Farrell’s face you know you are in for some impressive detail. The special effects are outstanding and look flawless at all times. The color palette is slightly subdued but that is a visual choice by the DP not a fault with the disc. This is as perfect a transfer as you are going to get and a great showcase for the Blu-Ray format.
The HD Master Audio soundtrack is also top notch. This movie is basically a string of action sequences which all sound fantastic. From robot’s to hover cars and gunfire everything sounds as you would imagine. One of the standout sequences the hovercar chase really puts the rear speakers and LFE channels to the test. Total Recall might not be the perfect movie but the Blu-Ray presentation is indeed perfect.
It’s an action packed futuristic dystopia, what value are you looking for? It’s not genius, it’s just a fun couple of hours at the movies so if that’s worth 20 bucks to you, go for it. If you just want that jolt of Farrell and then get on with your life, rent it online and that might be closer to getting what you pay for as a movie expense in your budget.
Overall Score 6/10