Thursday, 16 August 2012

Movie Review: Total Recall

Once again it is time to go into review territory on this blog! Dear readers this past weekend I was priviledged to view the new (if you count a remake as new) film, Total Recall! It was something I had been looking forward to seeing and being something of a film critic I was hoping I wouldn't have to tear it apart, or compare it to the original in a great number of ways. So sit back readers and let me thrill you with tales of what could be.

Total Recall was originally a 1990 action film staring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Micheal Ironside and Ronny Cox. It was a wacky action thriller featuring Arnold smacking goons around and dealing with a war between mutants and the corrupt government officials of Mars. There were of course many trippy scenes where they keep the viewer guessing as to whether all of this is real or not, as Mr S just happened to have gone to a little shop called 'Recall' to get away from his dull and boring life but seemingly gets more than what he bargained for...

In our 2012 remake the plot we have the poor, bored, down on his game worker Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrel) who is suffering from a recurring dream where he and a mysterious woman break out of a government facility only to be recaptured in a spectacular fashion! He has this dream everyday much to the concern of his loving wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale). He is convinced by a co-worker to visit a place called Rekall in order to have memories transplanted into his brain of things he would like to do. So he goes on a journey into what his life might look like...or does he?

The film is excellent at keeping viewers guessing up until the last minute (even after then too). And has a well done if simplistic plot that is believable and doesn't quite stretch the boundries of the world established for itself.

The Good:

The film is fast as an action movie should be. Good pacing with the plot and honestly no obvious moments where I was scratching my head going 'what the hell just happened?" which is always a good thing. The action was fast paced and the explosions were terrific. I thought the world was fairly well created and fleshed out.

The fight scenes were in general, awesome, if one can put it bluntly. The action was fast, well choregraphed and intense. It comes at you like a gun totting kung-fu movie with androids. The shoot outs are fun, intersperced with some interesting locales for fist and gun fights as well as a few genius escapes. There is a particularly amazing moment when the main characters are escaping on a magnetic highway which has cars literally hanging off the edge and they escape in a rather...uncoventional way shall we say?

The acting was competant and well what you can expect for an action movie. There was no intense characterization and the viewers were given as much to work with as necessary, nothing more nothing less. A few of the reasons why certain characters like or hated each other were left ambiguous, so there was a little dangling of ideas and reasoning behind characters actions which the audience couldn't really get a feel for making their motivations somewhat cloudy. Kate Beckinsale does a remarkable job portraying Douglas's homocidal wife/keeper. In the meantime we have some well done scenes between Farrel's character and Biel's which establishes the romance subplot without getting in the way of the meaty action.

The plot is very similar to the original Total Recall's and has a few hilarious shout outs to the older film. It also has a great way of screwing with your head. Mind you the ending is much less ambiguous than the original's ending but it still leaves the viewer questioning reality.

The Bad:

Well good the movie is far from perfect. It does lack in the plot department and the ending did leave something to be desired but was still entertaining.

The music, well the music wasn't exactly stellar. It had a decent score but unlike many films I actually barely noticed it, save for the secne where Douglas is playing the Moonlight Sonata. That doesn't really bode well for it in that department. Visually while the film was appealing it still felt rather fake, at least in the panoramic shots. I could easily tell where things were fake and where they were real.

Overall though I have no real nit picky criticisms of the film. It set out to do exactly what it wished to do, make a decent, modern, and action packed remake of Total Recall. It did this very well and I can't fault the acting really and I never had my expectations set to high. It was exactly what I set out to see.

The film recieves 8 out of 10 stars.

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