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Review: Total Recall (RATING: 5/10)

19 March, 2008

First, a little explanation. The little picture at the end of this post, as well as the entire content of the previous post, is a link to StumbleUpon, which is basically a way to get interested traffic to your site. If you click on that, you can review the post, if you want, or otherwise just get it out there, and it helps get people to see my blog. So help me out! Click it, fill out the form (I don’t think there’s any registration or anything), and I should get more people. Which is cool. I’m going to put one at the end of every entry from now on (if I remember), and if there’s something especially cool that I write, click it. Apparently this is something that’s done on real blogs. One more step towards the mainstream. Now to the review:

I had always heard that Total Recall was a really cool movie, and I had seen the first ten or fifteen minutes in a video store quite a long time ago, and thought it seemed interesting. Made in 1990, it’s the story of a man who discovers he’s actually someone else, with his memories replaced. And so he goes to Mars to figure out what happened. The concept is pretty cool, and I wasn’t expecting much from Arnold Schwarzenegger (Douglas Quaid) in terms of acting, but the movie was lacking in many other respects as well. For a movie set in the future, the art design was not very interesting. It seemed very 80’s, which is weird since it was made just out of the 90’s. Some of it was great—a big machine on Mars that’s key to the plot, the JohnnieCab robots on Earth—but most of it just looked like boxy, cliché future.

And there are mutants, which are sort of random and useless to the plot, put in just (I think) for shock value, and to show off special effects. There’s some story about how badly shielded domes on Mars let in cosmic radiation which turned people into mutants (also allowing them to see the future, a skill which is not used at all in the movie). There are some rebels, headed by a little child mutant that comes out of another guy’s stomach (which I saw a SNL skit about a long time ago and never understood until last night), and they further the plot, I guess, but you don’t really care. Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to like looking at sci-fi movies more than I like thinking about what’s actually going on in them. And this doesn’t have enough to look at. There is one cool mutant arm, briefly, but nothing is fantastic enough to be, well, fantastic. It’s also not gritty and down-to-earth enough to be fantastic.

Total Recall really seems to occupy a sort of sci-fi limbo: neither realistic nor fantastical; neither bad nor good; it just is. If you’re looking for sci-fi, see Bladerunner. And if you’re looking for Gubernator action, see The Terminator.

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