So the lady and I caught a late night last showing of Total Recall, almost had the theater to ourselves, good ‘cus Ange could not stop herself when Kate Beckinsale played bad-ass marshal artist with her hair wild and in the way, begging to be grabbed. :)
“It’s the lack of hair elastic. just the illogical hairstyle that irked me.”
If that’s the kind of thing jumping out at you, we’ve got a problem.
It’s a very strong visual movie, but about as simple and predictable, even more so in some ways than the Schwarzenegger camp version. And there are some, rather large plot holes…. and a bit shallow in it’s exploration of identity.
Without a lot more depth, really, it was a whole lot of homage and trope in an action packed post production wrapper. And one gets the feeling the film makers wanted to let us know they watched some other films…
Did you see the fat lady in the yellow jacket at the check point meant to distract you?
Catch the dead on homages to Blade Runner? The balcony, the piano moment, the talking billboards and expanded dressing of Sidney ala LA? I lost count of the blocking and staging that referenced some other film in the genre.
A lot of it giving away the moment of surprise otherwise they might have availed themselves of. Telegraphing just about every punch. I mean who lives in a space like that strange apart other than a couple about to have a marshal arts smack down?
How about the logic bubble that protects safe London from toxic wasteland London, withing eye sight? The wind does not blow? Common, at least give us something to explain that away.
When i caught out their science flop with gravity that stays constant and disappears at the center of the earth, i could barely muster indignation. If they have anti gravity, why are they restricted to this one mode of travel? If they are saying this is what would happen passing nearly through the earths core, well then, that would be a fail. Vomit comet anyone? Free fall all the way no?
The box office might bring in good winnings, & i’m unquestionably biased by expectations.
But for me, a pretty fail for story. Nice to look at, well produced action stuff, design is top notch, but winked a bit too much and didn’t leave space/time on screen for the inference of much of any of the internal complex head trips in the short story. A lesson i think is present in Blade Runner, if i may pontificate? In the shot here above from Total Recall, we’re learning about the place. Sweet image, sharp, presents a lot of interesting narrative questions, also looks a bit like a game space, and for all that it works.
But in the context of the same one in Blade Runner, we’re learning more i think about Deckard, where and how he lives yes but the pace lets us delve from that into how that might shape and express his identity. I think the shot is longer though i’d have to run them to be sure, but it’s part of a series for a scene that is all about that. But even just the level of gauzy softness to the background, putting the focus on Deckard and the FLW inspired stonework, the boundary of his home, vs the sharp universal depth of field in the lookalike sequence in TRK
There was a lot of that it felt like, made for, to quote ange, a facile story. Common aversions to slower pacing and not explaining everything, every subtext. In place of internal identity conflicts, a by the book two guys at a bar scene, loudly don’t you evering naw man i’m black and going to die in the second act. A parachuted in love story, nemesis, and action thrills. Expectations met, surprise minimal.
You can have all that, and more depth i think.