Weekend Round Up – Film Club and Total Recall Review
This weekend saw the release of Total Recall in the UK, I was lucky enough to be part of the FTRC film club to discuss it, shame that the film wasn’t as much fun as the chat afterwards
It has been quite a while since I did a film club with FTRC (From The Red Carpet) but this weekend I decided to get involved again.
If you haven’t heard of From The Red Carpet and you are from the UK, you must be constantly late to cinema screenings. These guys have little 60 second interviews that are screened in front of most films at major cinema chains and also hold a great little film club on Sunday nights on facebook. They invite 10 followers to see a film that is chosen by their readers and then discuss it afterwards. It is always great fun to do, this week was Total Recall.
Unfortunately the film didn’t work for me as well as it did for others in the Club, my review follows, but for the thoughts of the other members be sure to check out FTRC!
Here is my review
Let’s face it, we were not exactly crying out for a remake of the 1990 Arnie classic. Total Recall still holds up well today, and while the SFX have moved on a bit it still is a very intelligent story with some brilliant comedic moments and a dash of camp. But that is not a reason for Hollywood not to remake a film. We were promised a grimmer and grittier re telling of the Philip K. Dick story, but instead we are left with a lesser film that uses references from a host of other more involving films with little in the way of character work at all.
To be fair to the actors, they did the best they could with the material they were given. Farrell is the strongest as QUAID who is a robotics engineer living the quiet life with wife Lori, played by Beckinsale. the pair live in one of the two habitable regions of the earth Australia. Quaid dreams constantly of another life though, one where he is running away from something with the beautiful Jessica Biel. He decides to give his memory a jog with a little visit to the REKALL centre, with disastrous consequences. The can of worms is opened and then he is unsure of what is real and what is a dream, who he works for and why – be it the megalomanic chancellor, played by Cranston or the resistance leader played by Nighy.
The design for the film is lifted from some of the great sci-fi films of our generation, similarities to Blade Runner, I Robot, Fifth Element. Minority Report and even Star Wars are all apparent. But with all this inspiration, nothing feels as good as any of those films and often we feel a little hollow and bored. Len Wiseman seems to think the audience is of a lesser IQ and needs to be held by the hand for the duration fo the story, leaving us nothing to work out ourselves. From the ham-fisted Piano scene to the physics-defying and nonsensical ending we are babysitted and helped through, which I found very frustrating.
The original film with all it’s silliness and camp, left us guessing at every corner… Is this real? Is this a dream? But none of this charm was apparent with the remake.
The Visual effects were stunning though, which you would expect with a film made today. A car chase scene was beautifully done and gets you on to the edge of your seat. It is just a shame that I can find no other redeeming features with the film.
Apart from Farrell, the rest of the cast were left very one-dimensional. Beckinsale and Biels characters were just there to look pretty when fighting and Cranston and Nighy were reduced to almost cameo roles.
My advice to anyone thinking of going to see this film, STOP!! rent the blu-ray of the original and get a bottle of wine, you will have a lot more fun!!
About The Author – Scott Lawlor
Chief Editor of FRC. A self confessed geek with an unhealthy thirst for all things Home Cinema. Whether it is the latest Action film or Subwoofer. Check out his home set up HERE
Have you seen this film? Am I being a little harsh? Comment below.