I finally got around to watching the latest Total Recall movie, and I loved it! I’d heard the moaning and groaning about the movie prior to watching it, and it’s one of the reasons I took my time. I’ve really got to stop letting that stuff get to me! This film was one wild ride!
Now, the original film came out in my teens, so I was at just the right age to be completely hooked on it, along with other Verhoeven films such as RoboCop and Starship Troopers. When I heard they were doing a remake of Total Recall, my first reaction was like when I heard about the upcoming RoboCop remake… why? The first was so awesome and still holds up.
Then I heard the hate over the news that in the remake, Quaid doesn’t go to Mars. This seemed blasphemous to fans but it doesn’t bother me one bit. Consider the source material: in Philip K. Dick’s short story, “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” Quail (his name in the story) does not go to Mars. The character had already been to Mars, hence his longing to go after his memory was wiped, but we never see the character leave Earth.
Normally, when remakes are done, I’m fine with them so long as they’re well-made and they’re not carbon copies of the original. The Psycho remake was pointless, in my opinion, as was The Hitcher clone (though the sequel was a hoot). If you’re going to tell the story again, do your own thing while paying tribute.
The latest Total Recall pulls this off, and it does so beautifully. On most occasions, I prefer the version that can be closest to the source material, like John Carpenter’s The Thing – it was much closer to “Who Goes There?” than the old The Thing from Another World. However, the short story for Total Recall was actually more of a comedy. Outside of the initial visit to the clinic, it’s good that both films do their own thing, and because of the originality we see in both, we have two great, action-packed sci-fi films that stem from the same idea, and the remake does make some great nods to the original which makes it all the more fun.