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Total Recall (2012) – The Biggest Letdown of the Year

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Rated: PG-13

2 hrs 1 min

By: Staff Writer Nathaniel Brayton

Do not waste your money on this film; go see The Dark Knight Rises for a fifth time instead. If you can’t tell, I was extremely disappointed by this remake of the classic Schwarzenegger science fiction film.

This time around Collin Farrell plays Douglas Quaid, an average robot factory worker who lives in the oppressed Colony (Australia). The Colony is one of the last two remaining territories after a global chemical war, the other being the United Federation of Britain. Workers travel from The Colony to the UFA through the Earth’s core in a subway like device called The Fall. Rebels and all member of The Colony see The Fall as a symbol of oppression, which must be destroyed.

Quaid, who is not pleased with his monotonous everyday routine, visits Rekall, a company who implants exciting memories into their patients. Rekall, which has a shady history with rumors of lobotomizing their patients, convinces Quaid to implant the memory of being a secret agent. From then on, Quaid finds his previous life is a lie and stumbles on the UFA’s great scheme for a complete dictatorship.

Hopefully, I summarized the plot better than the film did. The original movie had a more complex plot but made it simple for the audience to understand, while this new version had a very simple plot that was difficult to decipher through the non-stop action. And that’s all this movie was, non-stop action.

From the trailers, we could see that the special effects were going to be spectacular and that is true. However, the trailers tricked me; I automatically assumed that the story would be as riveting as the original and that’s why the trailers focused on the special effects, when in reality the trailers were only showcasing the film’s only strong aspect.

To me, it all goes back to the classic video game debate; what is more important, graphics or story? And the answer for me is always and forever going to be story. Without a solid foundation, the movie or game will always fall flat. That’s exactly what happened in Total Recall. Even with all of the action, I found myself extremely bored. Time could not go by any faster.

Total Recall also makes two critical mistakes. First, it takes out the space element. In the original film, it was always Quaid’s dream to visit Mars, while the new film takes place all on Earth. To me, the juxtaposition between the two nations works better as a distant and mysterious planet than the slums of Australia. The second mistake is not focusing on if Quaid was living out his Rekall memories or if it’s reality. I felt this film gave a definitive answer for that question, which was supposed to leave the audience with a great discussion topic.

Overall, Total Recall looks nice but we’ve seen environments like this before and it’s all starting to run together anyway. The story is convoluted, complex, and truly not interesting.

I give this non-stop action flick a

5.0 out of 10

However I am revising my score of the original Total Recall because this film showed me everything the original did right. I’m raising it by .5 to an

8.0 out of 10

“If I’m not me, then who the hell am I?”


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