December 31, 2013.

This blog is now closed. After three years and 311 posts, I have decided to end this blog. I have enjoyed watching the films, reviewing them, and interacting with global readers.

If you are interested in contacting me, you can do so by commenting on any of the posts. The blog will remain live on the web.
Thank you to all the readers for your comments, ideas, and thoughts. They were helpful, stimulating, and enriching. This is Alene, signing off.

August 16, 2012

Total Recall (2012)

When it’s over, not as good as the original, but definitely entertaining with lots of wonderful visuals that shouldn’t be missed on the big screen.  It’s been more than a decade since viewers went to Mars with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall (1990), and with this remake, Director Len Wiseman is behind the camera and Colin Farrell takes on the role of Douglas Quaid – aka Hauser.  When Quaid begins to question his memories and his reoccurring dreams, he decides to visit Rekall, a virtual memory implant company.  But, when the procedure becomes compromised, Quaid discovers that he is actually a double agent on a secret mission.  There’s plenty of well choreographed action sequences overlapping fantastic visuals of an alternate future where cars fly and elevators criss-cross, zooming at high speeds.  Wiseman has definitely taken advantage of the full potential of CGI, resulting in bringing to life a believable society that’s seedy, corrupt, and extremely crowded.  Surprisingly, the cast was a good fit.  I think Farrell should have kept his Irish accent, and don’t know why he dropped it to play Quaid, but he still passes for a convincing secret agent and a man who’s struggling to decipher what is real and what is implanted memory.  Kate Beckinsale takes on the role of Lori, Quaid’s wife, and she’s good at playing bad, kicking some serious butt.  Jessica Biel is in top form as the resistance fighter and Hauser’s lover, Melina.  She holds her own with both Farrell and Beckinsale.  Having said all the things I like about the film, I can’t help but compare this film to the original.  This new version’s storyline is weaker, lacking the compelling human story in which Verhoeven’s version had – the idea of releasing oxygenated air into Mars’s atmosphere in order to save the lives of thousands of humans/mutants is far more engaging than a story of stopping an invasion of droid troops.  Plus, where’s Kuato?  I miss Kuato.  And gone are the memorable lines that made the original Recall so memorable, such as “Consider this a divorce,” when Arnie kills Lori (played by Sharon Stone in 1990) and “Baby, you make me wish I had three hands,” referring to the prostitute with three breasts. Even with limited special effects, Verhoeven’s Recall still managed to be creative, innovative, and eye-popping.  Wiseman’s version is certainly exciting, but if you stripped away all the CGI, the story wouldn’t hold, wouldn’t stand on its own. 

My rating: 3.5 out of 5

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