I'll admit, the first time I heard about the new Total Recall I thought the same thing most of you probably are thinking: "Really? ANOTHER remake? When will Hollywood just leave old movies the Hell alone?!" But the more I think about it, the more I feel like the new movie could be really, really good.
For the zero people who haven't seen the movie, it's about a man, Quaid, living a boring life in the suburbs. He goes to a company called Rekall that can implant false memories of whatever he wants, basically letting him believe he has led an exciting life when he hasn't. Quaid asks to remember being a top secret government agent, but when the Rekall employees begin the procedure they discover that the memories they were about to implant are already there and are real. His secret out, Quaid goes on the run from his former handlers who now want him dead, all while trying to figure out who the Hell he really is.
Total Recall is, believe it or not, based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick, called We Can Remember It For You Wholesale. The Dick story, though including a fair amount of action (and also having the clunkiest title ever), is primarily a psychological thriller. By the end we're left wondering if what we just read is real or if it's all in Quaid's (Quail's in the story) head.
While the movie does mention some of these concepts, in the end it suffers from what I like to call "Arnold Schwarzenegger." Like every movie the Governator has been in it became a big, dumb action movie with a feel-good ending. The question of whether Quaid is still in the chair at Rekall is brought up, but we're still left feeling as though what we've seen is most likely real.
Now don't get me wrong. I really liked the first Total Recall, but I feel as though it failed to live up to what it could have been: an action movie for the intellectual set, a film that combines gunfights and car chases with serious questions about human consciousness and what makes reality real. In short, it could have been The Matrix nine years early and without Keanu "Theodore Logan" Reeves.
If done properly the new Total Recall could finally live up to this potential, and from the looks of things it might be headed in that direction. It's being directed by Leonard Wiseman (Stargate, Underworld, Men In Black) and written by Kurt Wimmer (Sphere, Law Abiding Citizen, also Ultraviolet before editors hacked it to death) and will be starring Colin Farrel (Minority Report, Miami Vice, Horrible Bosses) so there is talent here. Producer Neal H. Moritz has also said he plans on following the source material more closely than the previous film did and that he will not be releasing the film in 3D, calling it "too much."
I know it's still a bit early to get excited for a movie that's still 4 months away (release date is presently August 3, 2012) but...holy shit, this is going to be the greatest movie ever!