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'Recall' sparks recollection of original

By Shawn O'Neill

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Aug. 3 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Reality is so overrated. Wouldn’t it be great if you could choose who to be and just have it inserted into your brain? It could be great, until something goes wrong and you don’t know who you are. This is the basic story behind the remake of “Total Recall.”

Back in 1990, Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in the original “Total Recall,” which took him to Mars to save a planet and its people from a corrupt politician. Return the clock to modern day and replace Arnold with Collin Farrell and you have a pretty good film. Also, nobody goes to Mars in this film.

Douglas Quaid is having a strange recurring dream in which he is trying to escape from some sort of facility. He wakes up just when the bad guys catch him and wonders if he is going crazy. His wife wants to talk about the dreams, but she is called away to work. They live in a part of the world known as the colony. It is the slums of the Earth.

The Earth has been devastated by chemical warfare and has only two inhabitable areas, the British Federation and the Colony. There is a transport that goes through the Earth’s core to take people back and forth.

Quaid decides to go to REKALL, a place that will install memories so he can get some help for his dreams. Instead the government storms the place and Quaid kills about 10 well-trained men. He has so many questions but his mind will not help him out with any of the answers, and he gets the runaround from those close to him.

This is a better version of “Total Recall." This version also tightens up the cast a bit, and the story really flows well. The origin material for “Recall” comes from the same author who wrote “Minority Report” (Philip K. Dick). There is a similar feel to the two films, both set in a futuristic world but still a believable one.

The new version does pay tribute to the old film by using some of the same lines and the same gags. One of those gags comes when a woman stops Quaid and flashes him her upper torso. If you saw the 1990 version, you know what he saw. That is one big reason the film is rated PG-13. One other reason is the profanity. There is a lot of swearing. It may not be excessive for some folks, but it is prevalent, including use of the F-word.

There is a little twist during the film that makes you wonder if you have the story straight. This is a better film than the original. Of course this one has better film technology to help it out. The effects and the sets really help the story. The sets and props are futuristic looking but still familiar, which helps the viewer relate well to the story.

Who knows if we’ll ever get to the point that we’ll be inserting memories into our brains. Of course that’s all science fiction. Reality does have some benefits; at least no one will be invading your brain cells.

Shawn O'Neill is the Family Man Movie Reviewer on BYU Radio. His reviews can be heard on BYURadio.org and on SiriusXM Channel 143.

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