Total Recall (2012)

Total Recall
Director: Len Wiseman
Writer: Kurt Wimmer, Mark Bomback
Based on: Philip K. Dick’s short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale
Remake of: Total Recall
Cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, Bill Nighy, John Cho

Plot:
Douglas Quail (Colin Farrell) would be happily married to Lori (Kate Beckinsale), if it wasn’t for a recurring dream about a mysterious woman. He decides to confront this dream by going to Rekall Inc., a company that provides real-seeming memories of unreal events. But before the Rekall treatment actually occurs, Doug finds himself surrounded by police and discovers that the memories of his life are pretty much all fake: he is not who he thought he was. With several people on his tail, he tries to figure out what the hell is going on.

Total Recall, much like Prometheus, is not a movie that makes particularly much sense, but it is very pretty to look at. Unlike Prometheus, though, I found it really very entertaining.

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Re-Watch: Total Recall (1990)

Total Recall
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Writer: Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, Gary Goldman, Jon Povill
Based on: Philip K. Dick’s short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell

Plot:
Douglas Quail (Arnold Schwarzenegger) would be happily married to Lori (Sharon Stone), if it wasn’t for a recurring dream where he’s on Mars with a mysterious woman. He decides to confront this dream by going to Rekall Inc., a company that provides real-seeming memories of vacations in the most exotic places – like Mars. But the Rekall treatment triggers actual memories and suddenly Doug finds himself in the middle of the revolution on Mars as a spy.

I had completely forgotten how absolutely campy and gory this movie is. That completely makes up for the rather lackluster performances. It’s amazingly fun to watch. Plus, they actually improved the original story.

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We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (Philip K. Dick)

We Can Remember It for You Wholesale is a short story by Philip K. Dick (and the basis for the Total Recall movies).

Plot:
Douglas Quail is stuck in a marriage he pretty much hates and only dreams of going to Mars, which he really can’t afford. So he decides to visit a REKAL center where they implant fake memories into your head that seem entirely real. But before they can actually go through with, they discover that Douglas has actually already been to Mars on a secret mission. And that’s where the trouble only starts.

I never read anything by Dick before, but after this one story I can confidently say that this man couldn’t write for shit. The story reads more like a rough outline, a first jotting down of some ideas than a finished product. Plus the added misogyny doesn’t make things any better.

But at least the ideas are interesting. And if all of his stories are written that way, I can see why they are adapted into movies left and right, since they’re basically just templates anyway.

Summarising: it’s worth reading as it’s short and does have some interesting concepts in it, but great writing this is not.