Total Recall (2012)
3 out of 5 stars
I find myself drawn to movies inspired from PKD short stories. I was a bit disappointed when the Adjustment Bureau did not win the Nebula Award (Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation) in 2011. And I suppose it’s time I watched Minority Report and Bladerunner, but first I’m going to read the original stories as written by the incomparable Phillip K. Dick. In the case of Total Recall, the short story is entitled ‘We Can Remember It For Your Wholesale.’ Since I have not read the original short story, I will refrain from making comparisons and questioning the adaptation as portrayed in this latest re-imagining.
I will however compare this 2012 version to the other 1990 edition, which I’ve watched many times. Off the top of my head, I didn’t care for the excision of Mars from the plot. The Colony became Britain’s Penal Colony continent (Australia) and the world is toast, chemically speaking, except for the British Isles and Australia, connected by a super-fast (17 minutes one-way) tunnel through the Earth’s core called the Fall. I remain skeptical and would like to see a bit more science and less fiction explaining that setup.
I actually found it hard to watch this remake because I knew, before hand, some of the key plot points that would occur. No, they didn’t coincide completely with what I suspected, but enough doubt remained in my mind that I did not enjoy the film as much as I probably could or should have. For example, I really hoped that the ending would return us to Rekall and leave us wondering if it was ‘real’ or ‘Memorex’ but this adaptation preferred to alter reality and continue with less ambiguity. I think I would have preferred the more thought-provoking ending.
I guess the best thing I can say about this movie is I didn’t fall asleep while watching it. I know, that’s not saying much, but it happens to me quite frequently. But it didn’t knock my socks off as I expect when you’re adapting material from one of the 20th century’s most lauded science fiction authors.