Monday, April 2, 2012

Total Remake

In the year 2012, Hollywood remakes are like fish to water or CGI to Michael Bay. So it should come as no surprise that most A-list actors appear in several remakes over the course of their careers--then there's Colin Farrell. In fact, let it be said that Colin Farrell shall hence be known as The Prince of Remakes. Colin Farrell's tango with the remake monster started with 2003's S.W.A.T. What followed was Miami ViceFright Night, and now Total Recall.

Farrell is not alone of course. For example, Russell Crowe's remake repertoire includes 3:10 to Yuma, Robin Hood, Man of Steel (Superman remake), and most recently Les Miserables (which I'm convinced will be remade every 15 years for perpetuity). One of my favorite actors, Liam Neeson, has been in his share of remakes as well, such as Les Miserables 1998 (of course), The Haunting (1999), Batman Begins, The A-Team, and lest we forget the "gift" that keeps on giving, 2010's Clash of the Titans. 
Colin Farrell and Bryan Cranston as Vilos Cohaagen
Unlike the other actors, Farrell has only been a household name for about 10 years. That said, Farrell's propensity to appear in remakes is not necessarily a reflection on him, but is perhaps an unfortunate sign of the times. Wikipedia has an extensive list of Hollywood remakes, which seems to get longer every year. 
Kate Beckinsale as Lori Quaid

Despite his A-list status, Farrell still didn't get top billing in the new film. That honor went to the lovely Kate Beckinsale, who can just as easily portray a death dealing vampire in Underworld or Ava Gardner in The Aviator. The new Total Recall film reunites Beckinsale with her husband, Len Wiseman, director of the first two Underworld films.

Total Recall (2012) is based on Paul Verhoeven's classic 1990 film, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone. That film itself was based upon Philip K. Dick's "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale." The new film is set in "Euroamerica" in the year 2084, and like the original film, Farrell stars as simple factory worker, Doug Quaid, who soon realizes that his past memories as a dangerous spy were erased. Beckinsale stars as Quaid's duplicitous wife, Lori. Jessica Biel stars as his former girlfriend/freedom fighter, Melina.

Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel
Needless to say, the new film will feature state of the art CGI, which is ironic considering that the original film was one of the last big budget Hollywood films to be made with large-scale miniatures. The only CGI sequence in the original film was the 42-second subway sequence, showing commuters being X-rayed for concealed weapons. Whatever the outcome, the new film is bound to draw comparisons between the old and the new. Hopefully Total Recall 2012 will live up to it's predecessor.

Total Recall revives in a theater near you on August 3rd.


  1. I can't wait till they remake Harry Potter.

  2. A Harry Potter remake would be fun. I think your post shows how Hollywood has always devoured itself. Though I think the pace of the devouring has got faster.

  3. I have to admit that the trailer made it look interesting. I liked the original quite a bit. One of the great things about it was that I had two opposite takes on it the first two times I watched it (real or not real).

  4. Max- In fact I think they should remake Harry Potter next year. Why wait.

    Paul- Hollywood is definitely an animal that eats its young.

    Chip-- Ha, I am curious what they're going to do with the film. However, I'm a little worried w/ Kate's husband directing. He's ok, but he's not great.

  5. I hope this manages to be at least a little entertaining. Oh please, please, let them NEVER remake Harry Potter!

  6. Colin ruining my childhood.

  7. I loved the original. Time for one that does not seem so dated

  8. Hi! Golly, at the risk of appearing to seem, ahem, a tad trollesque (and I really only re-entered yr blog to check if my AHS post had, in fact been published), I spotted THIS. I mean - really? Total Recall? And there I was, thinking Hollywood only enjoyed raping GOOD films from the recent past. Silly me. I mean, wasn't it bad enough that we had to see Arnie embarrass himself in the original (ok, I admit that's NOT much of a stretch for him - nor even a "clean & jerk", but I degress), but now we have to set Philip K. Dick spinning like a top in his much-pillaged grave AGAIN?!? Goddamn! Yrs, Krusty the Kurmudgeon of Aotearoa, last stop McDonalds b4 you hit Antarctica. :-D

  9. They ARE remaking Harry Potter, my friends. Yup. It's the Lego version, mind, and Harry is voiced by Adam Sandler, whilst wotsisname - Voldemort? Yes, I believe that's the guy, will be voiced by none other than Bill Mumy, tho that's yet to be confirmed. Otherwise, a close friend of Michael Bay (the "Potter Revisited" director) HAS been known to mutter "That shpekky kid'sh nemishis iz gunna be palayed by Tim Curry". But of course, that COULD just as likely to have been "Clear zhe decsh! I'm'a gunna HURL". But drunken ship-sinkers aside, I can't WAIT till 2023, eh! (Plz note: Some of these lies may in fact be TRUE).

  10. Christine-- Ha, let's hope for the best!

    Real Queen- I couldn't agree more!

    Jammer- So true. The original is a cult classic and does not need to be remade. But if they can remake Spider Man after 3 years, then why not?

    John- I agree, no need for another one. The first one was fine.

    Lorenzo-- It's true the remake machine is on overdrive. There are many movies that shouldn't be remade, Total Recall is one of them. Not that Total Recall was "fine cinema." I consider it more if a cult classic or a guilty pleasure. I, like you, don't see the point of a remake, except to line pockets.

  11. I remembered this being the only book based on a movie that I liked. Maybe it was Piers Anthony, or maybe it was just my imagination.

  12. There is no way anybody can remake a Paul Verhoeven movie without suffering remarks of why on earth did they bother to do it. Paul Verhoeven movies are so much a product of a unique creative mind. It can never be replicated or matched.


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