Comic-Con 2012: 'Total Recall' preview
So I’ll get this out of the way first: I LOVE the original Total Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a guy that goes to Mars (OR DOES HE??). It’s campy, fun, over-the-top violent, and remarkably enjoyable. It’s got a hooker with three boobs, Arnold’s eyes bugging out of his head, and a guy whose arm unfolds into, like, a creepy alien arm. There’s nothing I don’t love about it.
Which is why, when I heard that they were making a remake, I was skeptical. Then, when I heard that in said remake the main character doesn’t ever even go to Mars (which means that the classic line from the original, ‘Get your ass to Mars,’ does not appear) I pretty much wrote off the movie right away, which in turn why I was curious to see if there would be anything presented during the Total Recall panel at the con today that would change my mind.
I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of director Len Wiseman, and he didn’t really do anything to win me over at the panel, which I’m not just saying because he’s married to Kate Beckinsale, that lucky son-of-a-bitch. I find the Underworld movies to be lifeless and joyless, and the more he talked about the ‘tonal differences’ between his film and Verhoeven’s, the less I felt like giving him a chance.
Based on the 6 or so minutes of footage that we saw, the film is going to be fast, pretty, and full of slick and glossy set-pieces, but totally devoid of any originality or imagination. They kept talking about how it’s a ‘love story’ first and foremost, but I didn’t see anything from Jessica Biel’s character to suggest that I should care about her. Kate Beckinsale looked like a lot of fun as one of the villains, and Colin Farrell has been growing on me in recent years, but all in all it looked pretty much like your standard big-budget action movie.
Although it did have one secret weapon: Bryan Cranston. Not only was the dude totally hilarious and charming during the panel, but he actually seemed to have a point of view on his character, and to have spent some time developing him. Watching Cranston chew scenery as a bad guy sounds like a lot of fun, and if I see the film, it will be mostly for him. I mean, don’t get me wrong, a lot of the set-pieces looked like a lot of fun, but there didn’t really seem to be anything that I haven’t seen before.
Although they DID keep the hooker with three boobs (although a toned down PG-13 version), so I guess that’s something.