Trailer Trash: Total Recall (2012)

It’s the remake that everyone has been asking for. Who would possibly want to watch a film from 1990? Paul Verhoeven’s violent adaptation of the Phillip K. Dick short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale will remain an impenetrable curio watched only in film schools and art house cinemas.

There can’t be a single element from the original film that Len Wiseman would want to carry over to the new version. Well, except for the title. But Total Recall is a good title so that’s fine. Other than that it’s completely different. The 1990 version was set on Mars, the new and superior version is set on Earth. So it’s all different. Except for the production design. A lot of that’s the same too –  just check out the chair at Rekall. Oh and the plot beats. They all appear to be the same as well. You have the secret agent wife trying to kill our protagonist, a scientist trying top convince Quaid that reality isn’t real. And they also have a triple-breasted prostitute but that was integral to the short story right? It wasn’t? Oh. Flying cars though – flying cars are cool. Well they were in 1989 when Back to the Future Part II came out.

It actually appears to be the case that this trailer is not emphasising the differences but rather what makes it the same. Substitute Farrell for Schwarzenegger and add some more modern but not necessarily better special effects and you have your new movie. Despite what the filmmakers may say this is not a new adaptation of the book but a straight remake of the film. For audiences, familiarity is comforting. Let’s not challenge anyone or they might not turn up. It’s all about more of the same.

Is that really a bad thing? It could turn out to be a really well made and entertaining action film but if it isn’t any more than that then what’s the point?

It would be easy to go on but why bother when someone else has already done the work in visual with the first trailer. They really can remember it for you wholesale.

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