“Total Recall” has a few great lines in it, but mostly I remember the less articulate things that come out of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mouth. All those grunts and arrrrrrrrghs. Could anyone else do as good a job playing that nightmare scene in which Douglas Quaid/Hauser ends up without oxygen on Mars and his eyes bulge out of his skull like a Simpson as he screams in agony? I guess we’ll see when Sony releases the long-threatened remake of Paul Verhoeven’s 1991 sci-fi hit. The studio has tapped “Salt” screenwriter Kurt Wimmer, who hopefully will finally bring back some of that “Gun Kata” stuff he wrote into “Equilibrium,” and director Len Wiseman (“Live Free or Die Hard”; “Underworld”) to bring a new “contemporized” adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s original story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” Apparently the Mars setting will be out, though, so whoever is doing the arrrrrghing, it won’t be over the loss of breathable air.
I’m on a “remakes aren’t so bad” kick this week having enjoyed “Dinner for Schmucks,” and I am certain that no matter how good or bad this reimagining is that it will not hurt my enjoyment of the Schwarzenegger version. But let’s see what the others are saying around the film blog water cooler after the jump.
Peter Hall and Erik Davis at Cinematical:
Wimmer’s recent scripts include the thrillers Law Abiding Citizen and Salt, but the more pertinent credits are the ones he earned as writer / director of Equilibrium and Ultraviolet, which provided action thrills in science-fictional settings. If you harbor any hopes for this project, you can only dream that Wimmer can come up with something more closely resembling Equilibrium, a trashy yet entirely entertaining little surprise, rather than the flat, anemic, entirely incoherent Ultraviolet.
The great thing about Paul Verhoeven’s films is that they still hold up today. I really don’t think Total Recall needs to be updated or modernized in any way, and yet they are promising a “contemporary feel…while taking care with everything we love about (the) original story.” Is it a coincidence that this announcement comes just a week after Christopher Nolan’s Inception, a movie that has somewhat similar themes? Probably.
I’ve seen many people grousing about the remake of a film they enjoy. But are we sure we can even call this a remake? If they go back to the source material, they could make a film so completely different that it might be totally unrecognizable. It sounds to me more like they’re using a title people know, but making something different.
Wiseman declares his fascination with the original story, and loosely promises to dive deeper into its world and themes–while maintaining the name Total Recall, of course, because no one’s going to see some shit called “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” Give me a name I can remember from a couple decades ago!
Remember how clunky and old-fashioned the original Total Recall was, with all those special effects that relied on pulleys-and-levers and forced perspectives, and the interstitials full of Victorian-era ribald double-entendres and caricatures of various counts and archdukes? Well, fortunately this will be nothing like that.
Adam Rosenberg at MTV Movies Blog:
How much will they be looking to the Schwarzenegger film, if they do at all. If we’re going to get another treatment of this Dick tale, it is my sincere hope that they completely ignore the Paul Verhoeven film and strike out in a different direction. Of course they’ll stick with what the original author laid out. But Dick is known for his smart sci-fi; if this new “Recall” is less ’90s-era action and more “I need to scratch my head and ponder what I just saw,” I’m okay with it.
Ethan Anderton at First Showing:
Wiseman has an uphill battle to convince people (including me) this is something they need to see. Schwarzenegger and Paul Verhoeven made a damn good sci-fi film back in the day, and that will be hard to live up to.
I think Wiseman is the wrong guy for a remake of Total Recall. I don’t have a problem with Dick’s story getting re-adapted, but it’s a trippy mindfuck and I haven’t seen anything in Wiseman’s brief body of work that shows he has the imagination necessary for the gig.
This might sound like sacrilege, but it’s possible Wiseman has some skills with sci-fi he hasn’t shown us yet. And give the apparent trend, if this movie collapses we’ll inevitably get something even more awful– Blade Runner remade by Adam Shankman? Come on, you know it can get worse than this.
I think the question that’s on everyone’s mind is: Will there be a three-breasted alien prostitute? If not, count me out – just kidding. As I wrote before, this remake is meant to be more realistic and won’t take place on Mars – therefore, fans hoping for three-breasted aliens are probably out of luck.
Wookie Johnson at Screen Junkies:
Just tell us when Kate Beckinsale will put on a third breast and Gerard Butler gets his ass to Mars.
Christopher Rosen at Movieline, from a list of “3 Moments From the Original Total Recall That The Remake Must Include”:
· The hooker with three boobs
Part of the allure of Total Recall is that its “cheap” effects work never takes you out of the film. It’s tangible — you can wrap your head around what you’re seeing because Verhoeven uses make-up, models and miniatures to tell his story. Wiseman — he of the CGI werewolves in Underworld and the CGI Bruce Willis in Live Free or Die Hard — would do best to attempt a similar path, especially when it comes to the infamous three-boob hooker. Scintillating and altogether ridiculous-looking, a Total Recall without a rubbery extra boob would be like a Terminator remake with a Terminator. It can’t happen.
So… the plan is to “contemporize” a movie from 1990 that takes place in the future? I’m not sure what the hell that means, but I can tell you there’s at least a 50-50 shot Quade will be Channing Tatum. Incidentally, Cam Gigandet would make a good Quato.
Anne Thompson at Thompson on Hollywood:
Sony is back in the Len Wiseman business. And a major studio is greenlighting yet another remake of an Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle; they have to hope this one will do better than the recent Predators.
Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.