I suggested to Dan that we watch Total Recall for our podcast, Defocused. Of course I was referring to the 1990 hit, by Paul Verhoeven. Before we recorded our podcast, I did decide to go ahead and watch the 2012 reboot by Len Wiseman did for Columbia Pictures.
That remake infuriated me — and not because it was a remake. It was just a shitty remake. Much like Columbia Pictures’ remake of RoboCop — another Paul Verhoeven film. All the quirky comedy was extracted, the goofball, over-the-top violence was gone. Influences of J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek flares and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (a different Philip K. Dick story) are pasted on.
It’s not like the 1990 film has much in common with the short story, but 2012 film didn’t do itself any favors by trying to go a third way with the story.
Reboots and remakes can work, but they do often miss the mark. I’ll pitch you on an example idea.
Let’s go back to what works, the 1990 movie. Same story, no need for a new plot twist. Instead it’s about a casting twist. Gender swap the whole main cast.
- Lori Quaid - The Protagonist
- Douglas Quaid - The husband/agent
- Mel - The boyfriend/freedom fighter
- Vina Cohaagen - The corrupt, ruthless governor
The only element of the 2012 movie I would retain is keeping agent (Lori, in this case Douglas) through the whole film and removing the character of Richter.
We still open on the dream, and waking up. We have the breakfast scene where the husband tells the wife that her dreams are nothing. The wife thinks about Mars, and the husband talks down to her about it. She goes to work in an office job (no rock quarry) and does the same thing as everyone else around her. Everything in her life is bland and boring. A coworker warns her not to go to Recall. She goes.
How much more interesting is this story about male fantasy when it’s reframed from a whole new perspective? Hell, I’d even pitch having Sharon Stone as Vina Cohaagen. Arnold’s head would malfunction and repeat “Two Weeks” — it would be fantastic.