Total Recall Reviews
TOTAL RECALL is the only Schwarzenegger movie to not be directed by James Cameron that is comparable by quality to the Terminator movies thanks to the great artistic graphics and Jerry Goldsmith's genius music score.
Big time mind trip movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Excellent work. Unintentionally funny at times. Still don't get the movie but I always enjoy watching this movie-great special effects.
Total Recall is based off a Phillip K. Dick short story, which is why it's no surprise this film tries to tackle a whole lot of interesting science fiction proposals. Even when the films themselves aren't always the best, I've always found Dick's ideas to be fascinating. Total Recall is about a man caught up in a mysterious sequence of events that may just alter his life on earth for good, or should I say his life on Mars. It takes place in 2084 where it's possible to take a "virtual vacation" to wherever you want. Naturally, a lot of people choose other planets, including the habitable planet of Mars. Douglas Quaid, played by Schwarzenegger, decided to take on the mission to gain his life back.
However, it becomes increasingly clear that his life that he thought he had, is no longer in reach. Being that it's an action film, Quaid is pretty much on the run the rest of the movie, and chaos inevitably ensues. Schwarzenegger is great at all the action, and handles enough of the heavy and heady material to get by. I think where this film doesn't always succeed is when it tries to bite off more than it can chew. Whether it be because of the directing, writing, or acting, Total Recall becomes swallowed in twists and turns that don't always work in the context of the film they set up.
I know there are endless amounts of theories about whether Quaid is dreaming or not. And while it's an interesting question that the film proposes, this isn't necessarily what I'm referring to. The third act is about twist after twist that feels more desperate than it does natural. Take Inception for example, that film deals with similar themes, but it does so by revealing things one by one, instead of depending on how shocked the audience can get. There's a big difference between twists and reveals.
Overall, Total Recall is definitely one of the better sci-fi's that attempts to balance a light-hearted tone with heavy themes. It just sometimes gets caught up in being too bold instead of staying bright.
+Phillip K. Dick's ideas
+Fun & thought provoking
-But sometimes those themes collapse on themselves.