Monday, August 06, 2012

I'm Not Going to Talk About the Olympics



Would 10 year old me have been surprised if I had told them that I would like the remake of Total Recall better than I liked the third Christopher Knowland's Dark Knight Rises? Probably not. That little boy would not have even known what you were talking about, because he was not allowed to watch those kinds of movies. I will say that despite my perspective as a child, I am today surprised to find that I feel that way.

More importantly, I'm a little surprised to find that I like the new Total Recall remake at all. You will notice, and this is important, that the last logo that flashes before the title screen is, "Original Film". I got a laugh out of that. The recipe was pretty simple, rework over a solid sci-fi action story, cast it with better actors, and revamp it with modern special effects. The only downside to that formula is applying it to a movie that didn't really need to be re-worked. The original Total Recall still holds up very well. Great writing, and really fun directing produced what is pretty much a classic. It's also from a time period where a large part of translating science fiction into movies was the "fortune telling" aspect of it. You'll find some of that in the new movie, though, which was a nice throwback.

There were some great foreground gags and misdirections. They were pretty obvious and it would spoil it to mention them, but the remake actually makes use of its being based on a previous movie to misdirect the viewer a few times in fun ways. It was clever how once or twice the important action was moved to the background and it kind of left me with a cool feeling even though I knew what was happening.

The action is pretty blah, and the characters are purely unoriginal, but that's sort of the point of the whole story. The over the top action styling works in favor of the gimmick of the plot. It's a great effect, and because of the slightly different slant the movie takes from the path of the original, it works great.

Definitely a good movie to watch for fans of the original, and fans of good thought provoking sci fi in general.
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