Total Recall (2012 film)

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Total Recall
TotalRecall2012Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLen Wiseman
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyPaul Cameron
Edited byChristian Wagner
Music byHarry Gregson-Williams
Production
companies
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing[1]
Release date
  • August 3, 2012 (2012-08-03)
Running time
118 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States[1][3]
LanguageEnglish
Budget$125 million[4]
Box office$198.5 million[4]

Total Recall is a 2012 American science fiction action film directed by Len Wiseman and starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel. The screenplay by Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback was based on the 1990 film of the same name, which was inspired by the 1966 short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick. The supporting cast features Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, John Cho, and Bill Nighy. Unlike the first film, the setting is on a dystopian Earth, not Mars.[5] The film blends American and Asian influences, notably in the settings and dominant populations of the two nation-states in the story: the United Federation of Britain (Western Europe) and the Colony (Australia).

The film was first announced in 2009[6] and was released in North America on August 3, 2012, grossing over $198 million worldwide.[4][7] The film received mixed to negative reviews, with the Rotten Tomatoes critical census praising the action sequences but saying that it lacks the elements of the original film that made it a classic.[8]

Plot[edit]

At the end of the 21st century, chemical warfare has devastated the Earth. The only habitable land left consists of two territories: the United Federation of Britain (UFB), located on the British Isles and northwestern Europe; and the Colony, spanning all of Australia. Factory workers from the Colony commute to the UFB each day via "The Fall", a gravity elevator running through the Earth's core. The disparity in living conditions has resulted in a group of people called the Resistance, deemed terrorists by the UFB, who seek to improve living conditions in the Colony.

Colony worker Douglas Quaid has been having unsettling dreams of being a secret agent partnered with an unnamed woman. Tired of his factory job building police robots with his friend Harry, he visits Rekall, a company that implants artificial memories. He decides on the fantasy of being a secret agent. During exploratory preparations by technician McClane, they discover that Quaid already has real memories of being a spy. As McClane starts to question Quaid about the memories, a squad of UFB police arrive, killing the Rekall staff in an attempt to arrest Quaid. Strange instincts kick in as Quaid defends himself, killing the entire squad. Upon returning home, Quaid relays the incident to his wife Lori, who attempts to kill him, revealing that she is a UFB intelligence agent and they have only been married for six weeks, not seven years as he believed. After Quaid escapes, he receives a phone call from Charles Hammond, a former colleague of his who directs him to a safe-deposit box. Inside it, Quaid finds a message from himself with the address of a UFB apartment.

Upon arriving at the UFB, Quaid is pursued by Lori and her team, but is rescued by Melina, the woman from his dreams. Recuperating at the apartment, Quaid finds another hidden recording, revealing his true identity as rogue UFB agent Carl Hauser, who was working for UFB Chancellor Cohaagen to infiltrate the Resistance before Hauser defected. He had discovered a kill code that can disable an army of robots that Cohaagen intends to use to destroy the Colony and give the UFB more living space, but was captured by UFB agents and implanted with false memories to manipulate him. Nonetheless, Matthias, the Resistance leader, should be able to retrieve the memory of the kill code. Subsequently, Melina reveals she was Hauser's lover before he was captured, comparing their matching scars from when they were shot while holding hands in Quaid's "dream". They are soon surrounded by the police and Harry, who claims that Quaid is still in a Rekall-induced dream and killing Melina is the only way out. A confused Quaid is initially uncertain until he sees a tear on Melina's cheek and shoots Harry. Lori pursues the pair, but they manage to escape.

Melina takes Quaid to see Matthias, who searches his memories until Lori and Cohaagen storm the Resistance base. Cohaagen reveals he came up with the idea of the kill code to trick Quaid into leading him to Matthias before killing Matthias, taking Melina prisoner, and ordering a team to restore Quaid's memory to the "old Hauser" before he was corrupted. However, Hammond reveals himself and frees Quaid, dying in the process.

Cohaagen loads the Fall with his robot army as Quaid sneaks on board, setting timed explosives throughout the vessel while searching for Melina. After reaching the Colony and freeing her, they fight Cohaagen and his soldiers until Quaid's explosives detonate. Quaid and Melina jump off before the vessel plummets back into the tunnel and explodes underground, killing Cohaagen and destroying his army along with the Fall itself.

Quaid wakes up in an ambulance with Melina, whom he soon realizes is a holographically disguised Lori. Quaid eventually kills her before reuniting with the real Melina as news channels declare the Colony’s independence from the UFB.

Cast[edit]

  • Colin Farrell as Douglas Quaid / Agent Carl Hauser, a factory worker suffering from strange violent dreams. He is revealed to be a former UFB operative assigned by Cohaagen to assassinate Matthias, before his defection to the Resistance and recaptured, by manipulating Quaid to his former life.[9]
  • Kate Beckinsale as Agent Lori, a UFB undercover agent posing as Quaid's wife.[10]
  • Jessica Biel as Melina, a member of the Resistance and love interest of Quaid, who assist on his mission to stop Cohaagen.[10]
  • Bryan Cranston as Chancellor Vilos Cohaagen, the corrupt and ruthless dictator of the United Federation of Britain, who attempts to ignite a full-scale invasion on The Colony.[11]
  • Bokeem Woodbine as Agent Harry, Quaid's workmate and best friend – in fact an agent sent by Cohaagen to monitor him.
  • Bill Nighy as Matthias, the leader of the Resistance. In the Director’s Cut, he is also Melina's father.[12]
  • John Cho as McClane, a rep and tech at Rekall who offers Quaid the chance to experience an imagined adventure.[13]
  • Will Yun Lee as Marek, a factory worker who refers Quaid to McClane at Rekall.
  • Dylan Smith (credited as Dylan Scott Smith) as Agent Hammond, a UFB agent turned rogue, before aiding Quaid to escape.
  • Ethan Hawke makes an uncredited cameo as the original Carl Hauser in the Director's Cut.

Production[edit]

On June 2, 2009, Variety reported that Kurt Wimmer would write the script for the film.[14] Mark Bomback was later brought on board,[7] and James Vanderbilt did an uncredited "polish" on the script.[15] Over a year later Len Wiseman was hired to direct.[16] Paul Cameron is the film's cinematographer,[17] and Christian Wagner is the film's editor.[18] The soundtrack is a collaboration of Harry Gregson-Williams and Welsh electronica group Hybrid.[19]

Although described in the press as a "remake," star Jessica Biel claimed in her August 2, 2012 appearance on The Daily Show that the film is not a remake of the 1990 film, but an adaptation of the original short story by Philip K. Dick.[20] However, Biel's own character of "Melina" was not actually present in the original short story by Philip K. Dick and exists only in this film and the original 1990 film. The same is true for the characters of Cohaagen and Harry, along with the leader of the Resistance. This version of the film also uses the names Quaid and Lori for the main character and his wife, like the 1990 film, whereas in the original short story they were Quail and Kirsten. The basic story also follows that of the original 1990 film, albeit with certain changes such as keeping the action on Earth rather than Mars. Also, this version does not credit Dick as a writer.[21]

In August 2010, Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed an interest in reprising his role as Quaid, but in October 2010 it was officially reported in The Hollywood Reporter that Colin Farrell was on top of the short list, which included Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender, to play Quaid.[22] On January 11, 2011, it was announced that Farrell had secured the role.[9] Farrell stated in April that the remake would not be the same as Dick's short story.[23]

Beckinsale and Biel were both confirmed for roles on May 25,[10] after actresses Eva Green, Diane Kruger, and Kate Bosworth had previously been considered for Biel's role.[24] Actor Bryan Cranston was cast as the film's villain.[11][25] Ethan Hawke was cast in a cameo role, and commented that his character had a monologue about five pages long;[26][27] however, this role was cut from the theatrical version of film, but is part of the extended Director’s Cut.[28] Later cast additions included Bill Nighy[29] and John Cho.[13]

On a reported budget of $125 million, principal photography began in Toronto on May 16, 2011, and ended on September 20, 2011.[30] Scenes were filmed at the Pinewood Toronto Studios,[31] as well as the University of Toronto, Lower Bay Station, CIBC Commerce Court, the University of Toronto Scarborough, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre,[32] and Guelph.[33] The film was shot with Red Epic digital cameras and Panavision anamorphic lenses.[34] After securing the film rights from Miramax, Columbia Pictures distributed the film.[14]

Music[edit]

The film score was composed and produced by Harry Gregson-Williams, with additional music performed by Hybrid.

Release[edit]

Total Recall was released on August 3, 2012.

The Director's Cut includes an extra 12 minutes of footage and there are several key differences compared to the theatrical version. In this version, both Hauser's memory and physical appearance were heavily altered by the UFB to turn him into Quaid, and an uncredited Ethan Hawke portrays Hauser's original appearance in a pre-recorded hologram video.[28] Additionally, Hauser is still working for Cohaagen and plans to get close to Matthias by seducing Melina, who is the Resistance leader's daughter in this version. The Director's Cut ends with Quaid, on finding the real Melina, noticing that his forearm is missing the Rekall symbol he received earlier. Recalling Matthias' words, during their short meeting, that the past blinds us to the present our heart wants, Quaid decides to accept his current world with Melina as real.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film opened in 3,601 theaters in the United States, grossing $9,092,341 on its opening day and $25,577,758 on its opening weekend, ranking #2 with a per theater average of $7,220. The film performed poorly domestically with only $58,877,969, and $139,589,199 outside of the United States for a total of $198,467,168[35][36] against a $125 million budget.

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 31% based on 235 reviews and an average rating of 5/10. The website's critical consensus states: "While it boasts some impressive action sequences, Total Recall lacks the intricate plotting, dry humor and fleshed out characters that made the original a sci-fi classic."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 43 out of 100 based on 41 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[37] The film earned a Razzie Award nomination for Biel as Worst Supporting Actress.[38]

Joe Williams of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote, "The richly constructed first hour is so superior to any feat of sci-fi speculation since Minority Report that the bland aftertaste of the chase finale is quickly forgotten."[39] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars out of four; praising its details, he stated: "Total Recall is well-crafted, high energy sci-fi. Like all stories inspired by Philip K. Dick, it deals with intriguing ideas. It never touched me emotionally, though, the way the 1990 film did, and strictly speaking, isn't necessary."[40] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune stating that "the movie marches in predictable formations as well. But when Biel's rebel pulls over in her hover car and asks Farrell if he'd like a ride, your heart may sing as mine did."[41]

Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that "the outcome is engaging enough, although not entirely satisfying from either a genre or narrative standpoint, lacking both substance and a degree of imagination."[42] Amy Biancolli of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "For all of its dazzlingly rendered cityscapes and nonstop action, this revamped Total Recall is a bland thing—bloodless, airless, humorless, featureless. With or without the triple-bosomed prostitute."[43] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C", stating that "this one is somberly kinetic and joyless."[44] Justin Chang of Variety wrote, "Crazy new gadgets, vigorous action sequences and a thorough production-design makeover aren't enough to keep Total Recall from feeling like a near-total redundancy."[45] Kyle Smith of the New York Post wrote, "As for a villain, you could do worse than Bryan Cranston as the evil political overlord who is trying to stamp out the resistance... But... When he goes mano a mano with Farrell, it's not spine-tingling. It's embarrassing, like watching a dude beat up his dad."[46] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called it "totally witless" and said audiences should not expect comedic elements, originality, or coherence.[47]

Other media[edit]

A 3D first-person shooter video game of the same name for iPhone, iPad and Android was released as a tie-in to the film.[48][49]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Total Recall (2012)". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  2. ^ "TOTAL RECALL (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. July 16, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  3. ^ "Total Recall (2012)". BFI. Archived from the original on May 15, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Total Recall (2012) Total Lifetime Grosses". Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  5. ^ Warner, Kara (April 20, 2012). "Total Recall remake heads in 'a different direction' from original". MTV. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
  6. ^ "A Total Recall Remake is Very Real". ComingSoon. February 26, 2009. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Fischer, Russ (February 25, 2011). "Sony Schedules 'Total Recall' For August 2012, Also Dates 'I Hate You, Dad' And Kevin James' MMA Film". /Film. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Total Recall (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Colin Farrell cast in 'Total Recall' remake". The Independent. January 12, 2011. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  10. ^ a b c Weintraub, Steve (May 25, 2011). "Exclusive: Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel Officially Cast in TOTAL RECALL; Filming Starts Monday in Toronto [UPDATED]". Collider.com. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  11. ^ a b "Kate Beckinsale Offered TOTAL RECALL". Collider.com. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  12. ^ "Open your mind to Bill Nighy as the new Kuato in the remake of Total Recall". Jablo.com. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  13. ^ a b Schaefer, Sandy (May 27, 2011). "Zach Braff Joins 'Oz'; John Cho Has 'Total Recall'". ScreenRant. Archived from the original on June 1, 2011. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  14. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (June 2, 2009). "Wimmer to write 'Total Recall' remake". Variety. Archived from the original on January 28, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  15. ^ Fernandez, Jay A. (March 24, 2011). "James Vanderbilt Returning to Pen 'Spider-Man' Sequel (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  16. ^ Sciretta, Peter (July 29, 2010). "Len Wiseman to Direct Total Recall". /Film. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  17. ^ Caranicas, Peter (February 15, 2011). "Revisionist History for 'Kennedys' crew". Variety. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  18. ^ "Total Recall (Remake) (2012)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2012. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  19. ^ "Music for Total Recall « Hybrid". HybridSoundSystem.com. April 3, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  20. ^ "Episode #17.134". The Daily Show. Season 17. Episode 134. August 2, 2012. Comedy Central.
  21. ^ "Total Recall (2012) Full Cast & Crew". IMDb.com. Retrieved December 4, 2018.[unreliable source?]
  22. ^ Fernandez, Jay A. (October 21, 2010). "EXCLUSIVE: Colin Farrell Is Frontrunner for 'Total Recall' Lead". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  23. ^ Eisenberg, Eric (April 26, 2011). "Colin-Farrell Says Total Recall Remake Won't Re-Adapt Philip K. Dick". Cinema Blend. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  24. ^ Fleming, Mike (March 22, 2011). "Who's Reading For 'Total Recall' Gals?". Deadline. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  25. ^ "Bryan Cranston Defends Total Recall Remake". ContactMusic.com. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  26. ^ Chitwood, Adam (May 20, 2011). "Ethan Hawke Reveals His TOTAL RECALL Cameo Involves 5-Page Monologue". Collider.com. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  27. ^ Kit, Borys (May 10, 2011). "Ethan Hawke Joins 'Total Recall' Remake (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on June 13, 2011. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  28. ^ a b "How Ethan Hawke's role in the new Total Recall changes everything". io9. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  29. ^ Johnson, James (May 25, 2011). "Bill Nighy Cast In 'Total Recall' Remake". The Inquisitr. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  30. ^ "In Production". Ontario Media Development Corporation. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  31. ^ Vlessing, Etan (December 23, 2010). "Report: Columbia Pictures' 'Total Recall' Headed to Toronto". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 27, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  32. ^ Woods, Michael (July 25, 2011). "Frustrated with Lake Shore closure? Blame Colin Farrell". The Toronto Star. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  33. ^ Tracey, Scott (August 22, 2011). "Total Recall major film shoot shakes up downtown Guelph". The Guelph Mercury. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  34. ^ Lezotte, Suzanne (January 27, 2012). "Paul Cameron Shoots from a "Ledge"". Panavision.com. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  35. ^ "Daily Box Office Results for Friday, August 3, 2012". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  36. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for August 3-5, 2012". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  37. ^ "Total Recall Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  38. ^ "The 33rd Annual RAZZIE® Award Nominees for 2012 Worst Supporting Actress". The Razzies. Archived from the original on January 12, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  39. ^ Williams, Joe (August 3, 2012). "Remake of 'Total Recall' creates its own identity". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  40. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 1, 2012). "Total Recall (PG-13)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved August 7, 2012 – via RogerEbert.com.
  41. ^ Phillips, Michael (August 2, 2012). "'Total Recall': Remember this? ★★ 1/2". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  42. ^ Lowe, Justin (August 2, 2012). "Total Recall: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  43. ^ Biancolli, Amy (August 2, 2012). "'Total Recall' review: Memory lapse". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  44. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (August 6, 2012). "Total Recall". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  45. ^ Chang, Justin (August 1, 2012). "Film Review: Total Recall". Variety. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  46. ^ Smith, Kyle (August 2, 2012). "WATCH: Total recoil!". New York Post. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  47. ^ Travers, Peter (August 2, 2012). "Total Recall". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  48. ^ Haslam, Oliver (July 29, 2012). "Official Total Recall Game For iPhone And iPad Blasts Its Way Into The App Store – Download Now!". Redmond Pie.
  49. ^ (July 28, 2012). Total Recall for Android Now Available for Download. softpedia.

External links[edit]