Last night I finally got around to watching the recent (ish) remake of nineties genre classic Total Recall. It's two hours of my life I really want back. What a piece of crap this was. Joyless, humourless, lacking in invention, wasting good actors, poor script, uninteresting setting. The only good bit was "two weeks" and while the appearance of triple-breasted whore should have been funny it just didn't work. It's not often you get a remake and they seem to have said "you know what, the original was too grand. Let's completely scale it back and make it all rather mundane."So many things wrong with it. Let's talk about design, or lack of it. Production design meeting probably went like this... "So let's have your ideas for production design, what about New Britain?" "Minority Report." "Great, what about the colony?" "Blade Runner." "Fantastic. Okay meeting over."
How about casting two female leads that look a lot like each other. Yes that's really smart. That was our hero is dreaming of someone who from many angles looks just like his wife, great move. In no way would that dilute his yearnings for a different life. Let's waste Bill Nighy's time for a few days.
Can we get some sci-fi guns with the sonic power of a wet fart? What the hell was all that nonsense regarding cube lifts about? Did we step into Attack of the Clones' droid factory? Or Aperture Sciences? After a while I thought they really need to stop recreating bits from the original film because in contrast they looked shit. These moments really did serve to highlight how bad this film was in comparison.
Take removing the bug for example. In Arnie's film it's one of those scenes you remember from the 90s - a "no fucking way" moment. Here? Bet some of you can't remember it being in the film. What about the Cohagen explains it all bit. In the original of course we get video of Arnie saying he wants his body back. It's a brilliant scene as he is shown as Cohagen's friend. Do we get anything like that here? No. Because everything in this film is played flat, it's all flat, one note, lacking in any excitement and humour.
The original had missteps, of course it did. There's plenty of things in it that seem very dated. But there's also so much humour, great action and hugely inventive production design. Meanwhile this remake was unambitious and poor in every way.