Everyman Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) lives in The Colony and every day he travels via The Fall in order to work at an assembly line. Quaid wants more from his life and believes that visiting Rekall, an alternate reality experience, might give him what he is looking for. After an aborted session at Rekall, Quaid finds out he is/was a secret agent and unlocks his killer instinct. Without fully understanding the consequences of his actions, Quaid has now systematically changed his whole life, but can he tell what reality is and what isn’t?
Before we go any further I want to take the time to mention that this is a remake of the 1990’s sci-fi flick. It’s just that a remake. There were several elements that were identical, but at the end this new remake just didn’t seem to have the same impact as the original. By the time the credits begin to roll, it will impossible not to go and knit pick on the similarities. A comparison is almost a must. I am not a big fan of the original work by Paul Verhoeven, but I enjoyed its mind games something that I can’t fully say about Len Wiseman’s version.
Total Recall setting has changed for the remake and instead of being placed in Mars, it is on Earth where everything takes place this time around. For the most part, I don’t find issues with that, however, there are a few inconsistencies with that, I think that one of the biggest baffling moments is the inclusion of the three breast woman (?). I know it’s an anecdotal moment, but it almost felt forced. I never truly understood why Cohaagen had such hate for those in The Colony other than having the resistance base in an unknown location within. We spend quite a bit of time going from one location to the next that it becomes quite difficult to feel any sort of attachment or feel any sympathy for The Colony’s inhabitants. The Director’s Cut adds 12 more minutes to the film and while most of the extra stuff isn’t necessarily useful, there is one scene that gives a more interesting twist to the film. Besides that the Director’s Cut remains almost identical to the theatrical version.
Among the bad there is some good. Len Wiseman’s remake is packed with action, plenty of action. Len Wiseman has a true ability to effectively use CG and create sweet action sequences for the viewers to enjoy. In that aspect he fully delivered. But as far as the movie goes I found it to be overly packed with action. I don’t mind lots of action in a movie, but it was much more that I was expecting and the story suffered because of it. But boy did I enjoy the fighting sequences, the shoot outs, and all the explosions. There is plenty of action moments that just simply stands out and I think Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, and Kate Beckingsale really outdid themselves in that department. However, I felt the lack of a better story affected their overall performance. If anything Total Recall is nothing more than a popcorn film and not really meant to be anything more than that.
Total Recall arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 2.40:1. For the most part Total Recall looks great and it sports a very nice digital transfer that is very clean. The image is particularly crisp and very vivid. Colors are very balanced and properly reproduced. Flesh tones are very lifelike; however, I did notice a few scenes where I thought they might be a tad overdone. Black colors are deep but never overwhelming. Detailing never suffers, in fact the image looks fantastic and it is very revealing.
My biggest complaint here is the camera flare effect employed throughout the film. I am not sure if I am in the minority, but I dislike the effect, I suppose on certain occasions it might work, but in Total Recall I just thought they were annoying. Other than that, Total Recall has a very solid transfer.
Total Recall arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 Dolby True-HD lossless track. Total Recall sounds fantastic. The dialogue is clean and clear throughout without being overwhelmed by the action on the screen. There’s good directionality in the fronts. The rears are very active with ambience and atmospherics effects. The bass is clean and accurate. There’s a great deal of firefights and the soundstage that is created becomes very immersive. I have no complaints here, Total Recall delivers.
Extended Cut Audio commentary – the track features Director Len Wiseman
Total Recall – Insight Mode – this is a PiP track the plays alongside the film. Viewers will get behind the scenes footage, commentary from filmmakers, storyboards, how special effects were done, and more. The track is filled with facts so if you liked the film and would to see more from behind the scenes then this is for you!
Science Fiction vs. Science Fact – The author of Physics of the Future, Professor Michio Kaku explains the differences between the real scientific facts and the science fiction used in the film.
Designing The Fall – Filmmakers talk about the difficulties in creating “The Fall”. Viewers will get a chance to see some concept artwork and hear from the designers on how they pulled this off.
Total Action – This section features a set of short featurettes that are on average 3 minutes each. All the short featurettes feature behind the scenes footage. The sections are Colin Farrell, The Tripping Den, Destroying Rekall, Kate Beckingsale, Lobby Escape, Jessica Biel, and Quaid vs. Cohaagen.
Steeping Into Recall Pre-Visualization Sequences – This section features various scenes pre-rendered in 3D. The videos are Apartment Waterfront Chase, The Fall Fight, Flight and Tripping Den, Elevator Chase, and Car Chase.
UltraViolet Digital Copy
I wanted to like Total Recall much more and I truly feel like it could have been a better movie. All the elements and themes of a great sci-fi film were there, but it just didn’t come to fruition the way we would have liked. I enjoyed the action and I honestly think it works well for any given day popcorn film, but I just don’t think it has enough to equal the 1990s Total Recall. It’s not a bad flick by any means, but it’s far from great.
The Blu-ray features a great array of supplements, many are actually pretty good. I highly recommend watching the film with the PiP track as it goes behind the scenes with cool footage. From a technical standpoint, Total Recall delivers with a beautiful video transfer and an audio track that accompanies the action quite well. Total Recall is a fine release technically speaking. Action fans should probably give it a chance.