Sunday, January 22, 2017

Total Recall: The End of an Era


I just watched the original Total Recall a couple days ago and wanted to write about it.

Back in 1990, I was sitting at home, a Freshman in High School.  My best friend called me up.  His mom was taking him to see Total Recall and he invited me along.  I had never heard of the movie and so wasn't expecting much.  This was 1990 and for the last 12 months or so, most of the movies I had seen in the theater were crappy.  The 80's were over and even though I didn't know it, my mind was preparing itself for a long, cold winter of awesome films.

Well, I was pleasantly surprised, and saw it in the theater at least once more before it left and then watched it again on VHS before buying the DVD years later.

Total Recall was great on all of the following: story, dialog, acting... Arnold may seem cheesy, but I'll always be a fan of his - plus Sharon Stone as a femme fatal.  And I love perpetual B-movie villain Michael Ironside.  As for special effects, how about Kuato?  Wow!  It's no wonder that Rob Bottin of John Carpenter's The Thing fame was in charge of that department.  And violence.  Yes, violence.  Total Recall was directed by Paul Verhoeven, who had knocked it out of the park just a couple years ago before that with RoboCop.  Lots of blood squibs, visible gunshot holes, and action sequences that you could really feel.

After Total Recall, films started going CGI.  Being filmed in 1989, it still had that 80's awesomeness that would be virtually lost throughout the 90's.  Obviously, there are notable exceptions, such as the films of Quentin Tarantino.

A couple years ago, I wrote a blog post about guilty pleasure films.  Not sure why Total Recall didn't make the cut, because I don't think the vast majority of movie goers or reviewers take it seriously.  I mean, put Total Recall up against Blade Runner and the latter will most likely beat out the former 9 times out of 10.

And yet, mind-fuck-wise, Total Recall beats Blade Runner hands down.  Plenty of people want to believe that Deckard is probably a replicant, but there's no real evidence to support such a theory.  And even if there were, him being one doesn't truly mess with the audience's sense of reality.

On the other hand, we still have no way of knowing if Quaid's experiences were part of a man-made virtual reality or authentic.  Furthermore, if it wasn't real - we also don't know if his matrix-reality went according to plan or if he suffered a schizoid embolism, as was mentioned a couple times throughout the film.  Plenty of evidence suggests any of the three possibilities could be true.

Lastly, let me mention Venusville, the movie's Martian red-light district.  It shouldn't be any wonder that Total Recall was an influence on Alpha Blue.  From the three-breasted hooker to sleazy sci-fi partners in crime.  In fact, the next adventure I come up with for Alpha Blue, will undoubtedly have memory implants, schizoid embolisms, alien artifacts, a shadowy government agency, even more three-boobed prostitutes, and a little ugly-baby mutant hiding out in someone's abdomen.

I still haven't seen the remake, by the way.  I've heard it's not good.  Eventually, I'll have to see for myself.

Thanks for reading.  Here is some FREE bonus stuff for Alpha Blue to give you a taste of what's to come.  Enjoy!

VS

p.s.  Just a word on the phrase "guilty pleasure movies."  There's nothing wrong with them, and it's not like they're actually bad.  In fact, these movies are usually super fun - way more fun than Academy Award winning films.  It's just that they're not going to make anyone's top ten list and no one's going to put them in the Presidential Cultural Preservation Vault (I just made that up) so that centuries from now post-apocalyptic scavengers can go through all the work of reverse engineering DVD players just so their mo-hawk and leather ass-less chaps wearing tribe can watch Total Recall, Big Trouble in Little China, or Fight Club.  Although, now that I think about it... they probably should.