Total Recall (2012), with Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel & Bryan Cranston. Len Wiseman, director. I’ve about had it up to my eyeballs with remakes, re-do’s & reboots; as far as having to actually describe these things as if they’re “new” movies. They’re not new. So, I’ve decided to just point out a few things & give general impressions & then maybe a recommend or a kick in the pants. Maybe not even that. Also, I’m not going to stroll down memory lane by listing comparisons to the original movie(s) as if previous eras or decades were somewhere worse or better than our present day. However; please realize that a remake cannot be spoiled, except in the most extreme instances.
This film was very slick, with a nod here & there for the original film which is a cult classic. Being a re-visualization of the original story, it had to have something to sell itself & that was superb “sets”, a story that almost took the same road but tended to veer off like a railroad’s sidetrack & the expected A-Z was a bit blurry.
I thought Farrell was lame. His performance as a wide-eyed Schwarzenegger replacement seemed almost without life & his normally vibrant & kicking personality was definitely lost within the whole shebang. Gone was the striving Alexander the Great, hoping to make a statement & a mark on the wall. We’ll hope for a better effort with whatever he’s doing next.
Even Beckinsale was a crispy piece of wheat bread that was left out in the rain. Nothing there, but her remembered performance in her signature Underworld (movie franchise) performances. Casting her with Biel was a mistake because Jessica was the ray of light in this interesting but predictable film. It’s not flattering to be out shown by a fellow supporting actor. I say Predictable because one can predict that they must do some thing different.
If there is a film that visually inspired this action mess, I would say it’s Blade Runner. You know, the whole steamy mess with way too much oriental influence & if you see the film you will notice more than one paper lantern & parasol. The reminder is sort of an insult. So many ideas & books, books, books & all they can come up with is a Blade Runner/Transformers combo? It was effective, but lazy in my opinion. A disappointment when thinking about it later. But not enough to give this movie my worst.
As I noted, Biel was excellent. Candid, attractive & talented – she carried the show. The baton twirler marching in front of the band that takes the focus off the boy playing the bazooka, with pimples in the back row.
As this was a big, expected blockbuster (among many) of the Summer & will give my recommendation. See it.
After all, life is filled with repetition & this re-do is Okay. Just don’t expect much from Farrell. At least he shaved his face for some of his scenes. That’s worth a look.
I will blatantly spoil one thing. In the original film one of the special effect highlights was a wall-sized television screen. In this film, evidently mankind hasn’t gotten past wide-screen TV format & the occasional holographic display doesn’t count, thank you.