Total Recall

I saw Total Recall the other day. I had seen the original one with Arnold that was inspired and loosely based on the 1966 Philip K. Dick short story, “I Can Remember It For you Wholesale.” Like a lot of his adaptations, there was considerable irony in the story that wasn’t carried over to screen in either version.

The main character, Douglas Quaid, is first presented in the story as a mousy everyman, a salary worker bee. And that’s the point, isn’t it, that some average Joe who dreams of going to Mars should discover that he’s actually been there and in a very non-average role. However the problem is Hollywood likes to have charismatic, exciting leading men to carry a big-budget picture. So on the first go around, Arnold got cast, much to the chagrin of some of the creative people on the project. But the studio suits were right in terms of box office and the first Total Recall had the biggest opening that year.

That’s not going to be said for the current Total Recall, even though it would be hard to find anyone who would say Colin Farrell is not the superior actor. This Total Recall took in only $25.58 million the first weekend and was down 68 percent on the second weekend, dropping to 6th place. It’s not Farrell’s fault. The problems are with the script and direction, and early word of mouth must have ruled again, as audiences just seemed to know. I could pick it apart, first asking why they thought that a giant underground elevator between the colony (think Australia) and the UK would be a good addition to center the plot around, but I won’t. Let’s just say the film was easily forgettable.


Matthew MacNish said...

So many Dick adaptations are weak ones. One that I did like a bit was A Scanner Darkly.

Lissa Price said...

Ah, I've never seen that one! Thank you for the tip.

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