We Can Remember It for You Wholesale – Again

Okay, I’ve been pretty skeptical about this one, dating back to when I first heard they were remaking it. I mean, the Schwarzenegger one wasn’t brilliant, but it managed to keep Philip K. Dick’s paranoia and questioning of reality intact inside an entertaining ’80s trashy action movie. Probably one of the top three PKD book-to-movie adaptations… behind Blade Runner, of course, and I’m growing to like Spielberg’s Minority Report more than the original story.

And Hollywood has a tendency to make… well, really shitty “sci-fi” movies out of hot-shit science fiction properties (anyone else remember Surrogates? Cowboys and Aliens? Predators? Green Lantern? Need I go on?). For every District 9 or Inception, we get a good number of science fiction films that are forgettable, or best left forgotten. Just look at all the failed attempts to turn Dick’s novels into films—don’t get me started on Paycheck or Next. (I’ve realized that the irony of The Adjustment Bureau is that they didn’t develop the concepts far enough; probably why Rango, which went far enough and then some, beat it down at the box office.)

So, yeah, after seeing the trailer, I’ll eat some crow and say the new Total Recall looks pretty damn good. As in, see it opening day damn good. The visuals are astounding, for one, and the plot seems as Dickian as Dick’s original story. Also, the cast is pretty stellar. Colin Farrell stars, with support from Jessica Biel and Bryan Freaking Cranston as antagonists, and Ethan Hawk, Bill Nighy, and Kate Beckinsale in support.

The whole Mars subplot has been dropped, but honestly, what made the story interesting was Dick’s surrealist paranoid mindfuckery. The Mars angle was great flavor, but the meat of the story wasn’t the Martian rebellion, it was Dick’s eternal attempts to define reality and humanity, the sense that you never knew what was the true world and which was the implant. Something the poster hypes up:

Well, you know how to market a Philip K. Dick-based film and stay true to Philip K. Dick’s overarching vision; you have my interest.

So, here’s hoping that screenwriters and directors have figured out the proper way to adapt PKD to film, rather than skimming the surface-value concepts into another formulaic, chase-scene-rific shitty action film. (I really hated Paycheck and Next, okay?)

2 thoughts on “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale – Again

  1. I was pretty skeptical of this one too at first, mostly because I felt the first film sort of stumbled into being good. Wasn’t sure a second attempt would be able to do the same. But like you, the more I hear about it the better I think it’ll be.

  2. The thing about movies and stories is all that comes down to a matter of opinion on how each person feels about them, so, no one is ever right. For example, you listed ‘Surrogates’ as a “shitty” sci-fi movie. Well, I loved it. And so did everyone else I know who seen it, especially women for some reason. But, I didn’t like ‘Distrct 9’. ‘Inception’, to me, was the best movie of 2009. And that phrase (to me) is what critics need to start adopting and using in their critiques. Because everybody is a damn critic and blogger these days and they do not colab. They just spit what they feel as if it is true, but it’s not. It’s simply how one person feels. And I don’t think there are many psychological experts critiquing movies who can speak on behalf of a high percentage of people world wide based on how they think that this movie or that movie is the one for them. It is simply your own opinion.
    With that said, I can’t wait to see ‘Total Recall’ and I love improvements on anything old.

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