Home > Silver Screen > New Total Recall is a nightmare

New Total Recall is a nightmare

I finally saw the remake of Total Recall this weekend and it was a lot scarier than I expected. The original was all about Arnold Schwarzenegger pulling things out of his nose, trying to get his ass to Mars, and having his eyes bug out of his skull. The remake is much more harrowing.

Collin Ferrell plays Douglas Quaid (or does he?), an unskilled worker spending his days working on an assembly line creating Storm Troopers synthetic police officers. The one thing this poor schmuck has going for him is that he is married to the most beautiful woman on the planet, Lori, played by Kate Beckinsale. Then after visiting Rekall, he learns that his life as he knows it is a fake implanted memory. He’s not really Douglas Quaid and, worse yet, he’s not really married to Lori.

Quaid’s fantasy/ every man’s fantasy

This nightmare scenario is brought to us by director Len Wiseman, the real-life husband of Mrs. Beckinsale. With Total Recall, he plays out his deepest, darkest fear: that his marriage to Kate Beckinsale isn’t real. In the movie, when Lori comes clean about the deception, she taunts Quaid by saying “did you really think a loser like you would be married to someone like me?” Again, this is an idea that surely haunts Wiseman, an untalented director who is only allowed to make movies because he is able to easily cast his wife.

The movie’s plot also hits close to home for me. Many nights I dream of living out my biggest fantasies: playing Major League Baseball, being a rock star, being able to fly, or being married to Kate Beckinsale. They’re the type of fantasies that, if Rekall was real, I would like to have implanted. The fantasies seem so real at the time, but eventually I have to wake up and those memories are revealed to be false. I go back to a life that is more suited to me, sitting on the couch with my dog and eating yogurt while searching job websites. Someday Kate Beckinsale will also wake up, realize that she’s been implanted with a false memory, and then finally see what we all see: that the most desirable woman in the world is married to the talentless hack who ruined the Die Hard franchise.

“If I have my memory wiped, will you pretend to be my wife again?”

There is more to the movie’s plot, of course. Quaid learns that he’s not really Quaid but Carl Hauser, a federal agent who infiltrated a resistance movement and then possibly turned to their side against the feds. Hauser turns out to be either a double agent, triple agent or quadruple agent, depending on your math and who you believe. As a consolation prize to losing Kate, he learns that his girlfriend is Jessica Biel, which isn’t too shabby. She’s not as beautiful but one thing going for her is she’s not trying to kill him.

Like any Wiseman movie, things blow up, people fire indiscriminately and occasionally hit their targets, and there’s some good hand-to-hand combat. In a couple scenes, Beckinsale and Biel fight it out, but not in the way I would imagine, hitting each other with pillows. Instead, I cringe and say “no, not the face! Don’t bruise that face!”

Unlike the original, this Total Recall has no aliens or Mars. Instead, it has a political situation that’s a combination of 1984 and every post-apocalyptic movie. Still, in some ways the movie is better than the original, which admittedly is setting the bar rather low. It would be nice if the film took more time to explore the concept of faulty memories and how your memories shape your character. This wasn’t a cerebral movie, though. It was a horror movie. A guy found out his memories of being married to Kate Beckinsale are fake. Beat that, Stephen King!

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  1. August 27, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    WHAT!!! No Mars, no aliens??? Other than Collin, Kate and Jessica, how COULD the movie be any good? Sounds like it was a little disappointing…No EYES bugging out…REALLY??? Oh…Good review thought. 🙂

  2. August 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    So how long did you have the screen shot paused on your tv? 😉

    • August 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      I saw it in the theater so I wasn’t able to pause it. I’ll have to get the Blu-Ray for that.

  3. August 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    “Again, this is an idea that surely haunts Wiseman, an untalented director who is only allowed to make movies because he is able to easily cast his wife.”

    One of the most monumentally stupid things ever said on the internet, and that’s saying something. You seem to have a bigger problem with Wiseman being married to Beckinsale than you have with his films, probably born out of your own jealousy. As for being a loser, that would describe an asshat who runs a third rate blog and fancies himself a film critic than a good looking multi-milllionaire filmmaker and producer in Hollywood that managed to make Kate Beckinsale fall in love with him. Wiseman made a damn good Die Hard film that kicked ass, received very good critical acclaim, and was a huge box office success making more money than any Die Hard film ever, and that film didn’t have his wife in it. He also made a Hawaii Five-O two hour pilot that kicked ass, received great reviews and big TV ratings. It too didn’t have his wife in it.

    As for his credentials as a director, what would you know of it? You’re just a hack idiot on the internet. Wiseman has forgotten more about directing in the last 5 seconds than you’ll ever know in a lifetime. So please spare us your opinions. Opinions are like assholes. Unfortunately everyone has one, and feels the need to spew crap from it.

    • August 27, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      My blog is third rate? Thanks. I thought it would have to be a lot more popular to gain that status. I want to thank you for commenting. I can now say that I have discovered the one person who thinks Len Wiseman is a good director. Wait a sec… Are you Len Wiseman?

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