Thursday, February 26, 2009

Total Recall: Totally Recalled?

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Total Recall is being, well, totally recalled for a reboot.

""Total Recall" is totally coming back. Neal H. Moritz and his Original Films banner are in final negotiations to develop and produce for Columbia a contemporary version of "Total Recall," the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi action movie directed by Paul Verhoeven. The original, based on the Philip K. Dick story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale," follows a man haunted by a recurring dream of journeying to Mars who buys a literal dream vacation from a company called Rekall Inc., which sells implanted memories. The man comes to believe he is a secret agent and ends up on a Martian colony, where he fights to overthrow a despotic ruler controlling the production of air. The movie explores one of Dick's favorite topics, reality vs. delusion, as audiences never knew whether or not the story was a dream. Either way, the movie grossed a very real $261 million worldwide. Carolco was behind the original movie, which was distributed by TriStar. Dimension picked up the rights for a reported $3.15 million with the aim of developing a sequel. Columbia secured the rights from Miramax, which retained them when Harvey and Bob Weinstein left to start their own company. Calling Dick's story "prescient," Moritz said he hoped the advancements in technology and state-of-the-art visual effects can help tell the "Recall" story in a fresh way. Toby Jaffe is overseeing on behalf of Original Film. Matt Tolmach and Sam Dickerman oversee for Columbia."

Excited? Well, can't say I am really. And I'm not surfing a wave of fan bitterness singing "no reboot could match the original" - the original was fun, but you could hardly say there was no room for improvement. Nor am I hollering from my digital soapbox "Oh noes, not another movie reboot!"

For me it's simply that I've seen the film once, enjoyed it, but really have no interest in re-visiting it. Total Recall is a good film - particularly if you start looking for the nuances that really build upon the thin line between illusion and reality. Total Recall is a good concept, based on the works of a great author - so of course there is sense in redoing it no matter what I suspect the majority of the internets will declare. I'd hardly dare put in the same league, but no one moans re-staging of Macbeth, so why have a tirade about a remake of another story?

Sure, few remakes are better than the original, but some are. I'm a big fan of The Thomas Crown Affair with Pierce Brosnan. Was not Flash Gordon a great reboot of the old Crabbe serials? Heck, what about Battlestar Galactica? The Thing? Batman Begins? There are many reboots or remakes with credibility. Sure, there are many ker-naff ones, but the point is, at this stage, a reboot of Total Recall isn't as insane as many net-pundits would suggest. It's a good story that has room for retelling. If we sneered and rejected every proposed remake, the above would never have given us such pleasure.

Will I go and see it? Nah. Personal preference. I might watch it if it was on the old tele-visual jukebox, but beyond that I'm not exactly stimulated by the news. Worth reporting though - just for excuse of plastering one of Arnie's uber-hilarious expressions across my blog.