Saturday, 4 August 2012

Total Recall (2012) Commentary

The one thing this movie needed was for Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel to tussle.  They did so See it.  But here's a commentary too:

There's really not much to say.  It's a pretty basic remake of what was already a good movie.  As with any remake, the basis of the movie is not going to be original at all.  So they rely on some story tweaking, updated effects, use of newer technology, and elaborate sets and locations.  In that, they did a pretty goods job with Total Recall.  If you haven't seen the first one, this will be entertaining.  Even if you have seen the first one, this should be entertaining.  There's enough story tweaking to make it different.  Also, the choice of lead characters was enough to make them very different in tone.  It's sort of like the difference in James Bond from Pierce Brosnan to Daniel Craig.  Arnold Schwarzenegger is a lot of flash (and at his best when he plays a soulless robot) whereas Colin Farrel often plays more real and gritty characters (notice I said often.  Not always.).  Whether or not you like either or both actors is irrelevant.  The way they play this character is different enough to give the movies very different feels.

There's very little in the way of comic relief in this film.  There's a couple of references to the first film's more memorable moments that made me chuckle but that's it.  As a result, the film is very dark, tense and kind of depressing in many spots.  There's also a lot of symbolism with oppression and such but it didn't really take away from the film.  Finally, it was lacking a bit in action.  It took a while to get going and, when it did, I thought the choreography and action effects were a bit blah (I mean, come on.  Did he really think punching a robot in the face was going to have any effect?)

They did do a good job with making it not confusing.  A movie where you're not supposed to know what is real and what is in the mind can be very confusing and, without using obvious visual clues like in Inception or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Total Recall was able to stay away from falling into a state of confusion for the viewers.  So that is a real plus.

The bottom line is that this film isn't great but it isn't bad either.  After watching it, I'm not sorry to have seen it.  I didn't roll my eyes at anything cheesy.  But I also didn't come out with any "wow" in me either.  Girls tussling aside, I still say see it for the effects and sets but it won't blow you away.

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