08 August, 2012

Total Recall (2012)

I started a cyberpunk themed game a few weeks ago and so I've been keen on things cyberpunk - bought Lockout on Blu-ray and loved it. Rewatching Outland and Ghost in the Shell. So I was looking forward to Len Wiseman's remake of Total Recall, which came out last Friday.  Life and flaky friends kept me away from it until Sunday, when I saw it at an early matinee.

Most of the reviews I've seen of the movie have been negative - but then again most reviewers write the review before they see the movie. Seriously. I've been to many press preview showings - if the movie is a big one, the press seats might be full. If it was something like Your Highness, there were two critics - both left before the halfway point.  Terminator: Salvation got nailed by critics (I loved it) including Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquirer, whose 7 sentence review included the line: "Message to Hollywood: Stop with the time-travel stuff."  Yep. He disliked all of the time travel in a franchise premised on time travel - despite the fact that there wasn't any time travel in Salvation. Rea also was a fan of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - though he thought it wasn't quite as good at MI:III; So we know all of his taste is in his mouth.

Total Recall has given me a greater understanding of being a movie critic in the age of digital publishing.  Use Wikipedia and the trailer to write your review, edit it later as needed.  The Wikipedia article on Total Recall listed the power blocks as New Shanghai and EuroAmerica, when in fact the blocs were the United Federation of Britain and The Colony.  Yet, I've found over 16 reviews of the film that site New Shanghai and EuroAmerica.  NPR, Empire, DNA, Game Zone, Movieline, Cinema Source, i4u, Florida Times Union, Deseret News, Kansas City Star, Detroit Free Press - the list goes on.


Some of these reviews were then edited to remove the above terms which still showed up in Google search extracts.  DNA tried to cover up the mistake by inserting the claim that New Shanghai and EuroAmerica were the names of the nations in Philp K. Dick's short story/inspiration We Can Remember it For You Wholesale. They aren't mentioned in that story at all.  NPR did something similar, the article now reads that the names come from an earlier version of the script. Maybe NPR critics don't use Wikipedia to write movie reviews, but they do seem to base them on scripts rather than watching the released film.

I've also noticed that Verhoeven's Total Recall is now a highly thought of classic.  That's interesting because I remember how badly it was received in 1990. Of course it did very well and is now a beloved cult classic. It wasn't in 1990. It is now. Weird huh?

I like both versions. The 1990 film is a fun 80's action cheese-fest. The 2012 version is a sci-fi flick for a more savvy audience.  Living Daylights versus Casino Royale. Beckinsale is freaking awesome - hands down enough to carry the entire film. She is hotter than Stone and more dangerous than Ironside; She kicks more ass in Recall than any film I've seen recently (yeah I'm looking at you Dark Knight Rises - Batman/Bane fight was a preschool slapfight in comparison). Visuals kicked ass, and I found the film entirely enjoyable and a must-buy on Blu-ray.

So much so I went and saw it again Sunday evening.

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